This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.
Fibers for Breath-Regulating Garments
OmniFibers, developed at MIT, can be made into clothing that senses how much it is being stretched or compressed, and then provide immediate tactile feedback in the form of pressure, lateral stretch, or vibration.
Such fabrics could be used in garments that help train singers or athletes to better control their breathing, or that help patients recovering from disease or surgery to recover their breathing patterns.
The multilayered fibers contain a fluid channel in the center that can be activated by a fluidic system, such as compressed air or water, allowing the fiber to act as an artificial muscle.
Contact: Abby Abazorius
Solid-State Humidity Sensor
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a humidity sensor that offers high sensitivity and extremely fast response and recovery across a range of humidity levels.
The sensor is based on a novel ceramic dielectric material that exhibits rapid and large changes in capacitance and resistance with very small changes in water vapor concentration.
It is small and robust and can be used for rapid measurements of very small changes in humidity across a range of humidity levels, temperatures, and chemical environments in the automotive, aerospace, industrial, healthcare, consumer, and defense industries.
Contact: NASA’s Licensing Concierge
Thin-Film Antenna for Wireless Communications
Princeton University created a new type of phased array antenna, based on large-area electronics technology, that could enable many uses of emerging 5G and 6G wireless networks.
The antenna is a flexible surface that could be installed almost anywhere it could coat an airplane’s wings, function as a skin patch transmitting signals to medical implants, or cover a room as wallpaper that communicates with Internet of Things devices, such as temperature or motion sensors.