Kennedy News

Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center
(321) 867-2468

Oct. 27, 2003
RELEASE : 88-03
NASA-KSC Grants Four New Technology Patent Licenses
NASA-Kennedy Space Center's Technology Transfer Office recently granted patent licenses on four of NASA's technologies, developed at KSC, for application in several commercial/industrial markets. Two of the license agreements are coupled with Space Act Agreements that allow the licensees to enhance the technologies for use in their commercial markets and for use by NASA. This "spin-in" mechanism is one way KSC partners with industry to leverage NASA's technology assets.

According to Jim Aliberti, chief of the NASA-KSC technology transfer office, the KSC technology transfer team developed a marketing and licensing process to transfer NASA-Kennedy Space Center's most innovative technologies in an efficient and beneficial manner.

"As a result of our efforts," said Aliberti, "consumers, industries, and NASA, will all benefit from services and products provided by our licensees in areas such as environmental cleanup, computer technology and monitoring systems."

NASA signed a patent license with Toxicological and Environmental Associates, Inc., Baton Rouge, La., for the use and sale of Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron (EZVI). NASA developed the innovative solution with the University of Central Florida, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, and GeoSyntec, Inc. The new technology directly treats contaminant sources in ground water, reduces treatment time and costs, and produces less toxic and more easily degradable by-products. Toxicological and Environmental Associate’s first deployment of the solution will be at Port Canaveral, Fla.

Pacific Instruments, Inc., Concord, Calif., obtained a patent license for the commercialization of the Signal Conditioning Amplifier Recorder (SCAmpR). SCAmpR provides signal conditioning, amplifying and recording capabilities in a single circuit board, and can significantly improve reliability, reduce cost and provide more flexibility than pre-existing Ground Measurement Systems (GMS) used during Space Shuttle launches. SCAmpR exceeds the performance requirements established by the Space Shuttle GMS. A Space Act Agreement for co-development of SCAmpR and KSC’s use of a Pacific Instruments developed Windows-based, client-server software for SCAmpR will support the agreement.

TABER Industries of North Tonawanda, N.Y., received a patent license for the development and commercialization of the Multi-Sensor Array pressure transducer. This technology is composed of an algorithm to determine the health of a transducer. It lends itself directly to application on a microprocessor with the sensor cluster composed of Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) elements fabricated together on a single chip.

The Multi-Sensor Array works with sensor units placed around Space Shuttle launch pads to record physical phenomena. The technology enables the sensor clusters to uniquely monitor their own health and estimate their own remaining lifetime.

Supporting the agreement is a Space Act Agreement for joint development between NASA-KSC and TABER Industries that will result in a new innovative transducer design. The technology will be part of ground support instrumentation systems in government and commercial aerospace programs, reducing operating and maintenance costs while increasing instrumentation reliability.

The Technology Transfer Office successfully completed the negotiation and signing of a patent license with Armor Holdings Forensics, Jacksonville, Fla., for the manufacture and sale of the KSC-developed scaling device and accompanying software.

Engineers at KSC developed the scaling device to help technicians assess the damage to the Space Shuttle external tank following a hailstorm several years ago. The device uses a laser that projects a known pattern into a camera's field of view. When a photograph is taken, this pattern appears with the image of the object under investigation, allowing the viewer to quantify the size of the object. Accompanying software calibrates the pattern in the photo image and computes the distance scale for the entire image, saving valuable time in establishing and documenting measurements.

Armor Holdings Forensics intends to use the technology in the law enforcement field. Jim Seidel, general manager of Forensics at Armor Holdings said, "We believe crime scene investigators and traffic accident investigators will find this device particularly useful in their work." The device has potential utility wherever remote scaling of a photographic image is required.

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