NASA Langley Research Center has developed a wireless, connection-free, open-circuit technology that can be used for developing electrical devices such as sensors that need no physical contact with the properties being measured. At the core of the technology is the SansEC (Sans Electrical Connections) circuit, which is damage-resilient and environmentally friendly to manufacture and use. The technology uses a NASA award-winning magnetic field response measurement acquisition device to provide power to the device and, in the case of a sensor application, to acquire physical property measurements from them. This fundamental new approach using open circuits enables applications such as sensors for axial load force, linear displacement, rotation, strain, pressure, torque, and motion sensing, as well as unique designs such as for a wireless keypad or wireless rotational dial, or for energy storage.
The technology presents a fundamental change in the way electrical devices are designed, using an open circuit in conjunction with a floating electrode, or an electrically conductive object not connected to anything by wires and powered through a wireless device. This system uses inductor-capacitor thin-film open-circuit technology. It consists of a uniquely designed, electrically conductive geometric pattern that stores energy in both electric and magnetic fields, along with a floating electrode in proximity to the open circuit. When wire-lessly pulsed from the handheld data acquisition system, the system becomes electrically active and develops a capacitance between the two circuit surfaces. The result is a device that acts as a parallel plate capacitor without electrical connections.
Out-of-plane measurements have sensitivity levels an order of magnitude better than other measurement methods, and one sensor can be used for multiple measurements. This technology has potential applications in automation control for linear position sensors, security systems for wireless keypads and motion detectors, and aerospace for testing and monitoring.