The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.
This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. If you are interested in licensing the technologies described here, use the contact information provided. To learn about more available technologies, visit the NASA Technology Transfer Portal at http://technology.nasa.gov .
Contaminated Water Treatment
Ames Research Center developed a method and system of processing and recycling liquids to remove contaminants. It provides an emergency supply of drinking water when other sources are exhausted or contaminated. The two-step process includes a contaminant treatment pouch (referred to as a urine cell or contaminant cell) that converts urine or another liquid containing contaminants into a fortified drink, engineered to meet human hydration, electrolyte, and caloric requirements. It can be used as a water source for developing areas, or in extreme environments like hiking and mountaineering.
Contact: Ames Technology Transfer Office
Improved Ground Collision Avoidance System
Armstrong Flight Research Center’s ground collision avoidance system leverages leading-edge fighter safety technology, adapting it to civil aviation use as an advanced warning system. It offers high-fidelity terrain mapping, enhanced vehicle performance modeling, multidirectional avoidance techniques, efficient data-handling methods, and user-friendly warning systems. The algorithms have been incorporated into an app for tablet/handheld mobile devices that can be used by pilots in the cockpit, regardless of what type of aircraft they are flying. The system also can be incorporated into electronic flight bags (EFBs) and/or aircraft avionics systems.
Contact: Armstrong Technology Transfer Office
Damage Detection System for Flat Surfaces
Kennedy Space Center developed a Multidimensional Damage Detection System for Flat Surfaces that can detect damage to composite surfaces. The system consists of layered composite material made up of two-dimensional thin film damage detection layers separated by thicker, non-detection layers, coupled with a detection system. When damage occurs to any detection layer, a change in the electrical properties of that layer is detected and reported. The ability to detect damage to composite surfaces can be crucial, especially when those surfaces are enclosing a sealed environment that sustains human life and/or critical equipment or materials.