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.
A Smart Roof Coating
An all-season smart roof coating, developed by researchers at Berkeley lab’s Materials Science Division, can keep homes warm during the winter and cool during the summer without consuming natural gas or electricity. Today’s cool roof systems emit some of the absorbed solar heat as thermal-infrared radiation; in this natural process known as radiative cooling, thermal-infrared light is radiated away from the surface. The new material can enable energy savings by automatically turning off the radiative cooling in the winter, overcoming the problem of overcooling.
Contact: Abby Abazorius
Wearable RFID Sensor Tags
A method developed at NASA Johnson Space Center uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) interrogators for use with wearable active RFID sensor tags that can operate on ultra-low power. The technique uses a store-and-forward approach to manage the collection of data from RFID active tags even when they are not in range of an individual interrogator. Using this technique, an RFID active tag battery operational lifetime can be extended. This technology introduces new applications for wearable sensors where battery charging or replacement is not practical.
Contact: NASA’s Licensing Concierge
3D-Printed OLED Display
An engineering research team at University of Minnesota Twin Cities has used a customized printer to fully 3D print a flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display. The team combined two different modes of printing to print the six device layers that resulted in a fully 3D-printed OLED. The discovery could result in low-cost OLED displays in the future that could be widely produced using 3D printers by anyone at home, instead of by technicians in expensive microfabrication facilities.