The Pressure Sensor Mechanism is designed to measure or monitor tactile pressure. It is based on passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) sensor tags and is applicable to a variety of systems. As RFID sensors transmit information wirelessly, they eliminate many challenges associated with traditional wired systems such as bridging joints, reliability, volume, and mass. Innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center are using this technology in robotic systems for pressure sensor monitoring. The RFID Pressure Sensor Mechanism has the potential to be easily integrated in mechanical systems to wirelessly and autonomously communicate pressure changes back to a monitoring system without an external power supply.

In operation, this RFID-enabled patented technology reacts to a pressure change, causing the passive tag to generate an electromagnetic field. The RFID pressure sensor/passive tag reacts to the electromagnetic field and responds by sending a signal to an interrogator. The interrogator receives the reflected signal, measures the returned signal strength indications (RSSI) of the reflected signal, and sends the RSSI measurements and identification of the responding RFID sensors to the processor to determine the pressure.

Potential applications for

this technology include remote patient mobility monitoring, robotic control systems, and pressure-sensing gloves. Older devices may also be outfitted with these sensors to add pressure-monitoring functionality while avoiding the cost of a total system replacement.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact the JSC Licensing Manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link here  for more information.


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This article first appeared in the April, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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