Researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) have patented a network system architecture that includes intelligent universal controllers (IUCs) capable of plug-and-play operation in several systems or subsystems. The innovation can configure and reconfigure system-level, interoperable spare components comprised of one or more electronic controllers such that a single architectural design can perform multiple tasks. The configuration is automatic -- when a component is attached to the system or network, the addition is automatically identified, and the specific task instructions are downloaded to the component via the network. The ability to reconfigure identical control units to perform different functions lowers costs and increases reliability by reducing the variety and number of spare parts required to be available and facilitating restoration of full control functionality in the event of failure of one of the units. JSC has received patent number 7,577,482 for this technology.
- Efficient: Reduces the number of spare components required for an entire system
- Reliable: Improves overall system reliability, as any spare board is available for redundancy
- Economical: Lowers costs by allowing purchases of single boards in higher quantities versus multiple boards in smaller quantities
- Compact: Reduces inventory, space, and weight needed for equipment
- Commercial firms looking to reduce costs by stocking single-style control boards
- Military systems such as naval ships and aircraft stationed in remote regions
- Aerospace control systems where reliability is essential and weight is a consideration
- Commercial and scientific systems located in remote or hostile regions (oil rigs and Antarctic exploration)
Johnson Space Center has received patent protection (U.S. 7,577,482→) for this technology.
This technology is being made available through JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.
If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:
Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center