Volume 6, Number 2 March/April 1998
Technology Opportunity Showcase highlights some unique technologies that NASA has developed and which we believe have strong potential for commercial application. While the descriptions provided here are brief, they should provide enough information to communicate the potential applications of the technology. For more detailed information, contact the person listed. Please mention that you read about it in Innovation.
Technology Opportunity Showcase
Ames Spatial Auditory Display
ASA's Ames Research Center is currently seeking partnerships with industry to further develop the Ames Spatial Auditory Display (ASAD), which was designed especially for multiple communications channels. ASAD places up to five different communication channels at fixed virtual auditory positions about the listener, giving the listener a spatial sense of each channel originating from a unique position outside the head. This audio-communications breakthrough provides a substantial increase of intelligibility and safety in virtually all simultaneous, multichannel applications. The system can be effectively combined with other technologies, can be integrated into existing systems and has the potential for further miniaturization. Potential commercial uses include teleconferencing, emergency communication, inexpensive method of sound separation for video games, virtual reality and interactive multimedia. It also can be used in the broadcasting industry by directors, camera operators and editing personnel covering live events, as well as various other industrial applications.
For information contact Phil
Herlth, Commercial Technology Office, at Ames Research Center.
Optical Robotic Path Planning System
Ames Research Center's Information Sciences Division is currently seeking companies to license the manufacture of an Optical Robotic Path Planning System to serve existing and expanding applications. An Ames research scientist developed the optical system, which is capable of rapidly producing a potential field map of a bounded two-dimensional region containing a goal location and an arbitrary number of obstacles. The potential field map description of the region can be used by an autonomous mobile robot to guide itself from any location to a goal location while avoiding any obstacles present. Potential commercial applications include incorporating it into mobile robots that must navigate their work environments and into specialized wheelchairs. The system could be useful in hazardous materials handling applications as a complement to remotely controlled robots and could eventually be used in specialized robotic escorts for the blind, helping guide them through unfamiliar physical environments. The planning system offers a fully parallel optical system, real-time updating potential, adaptability to various applications and several other benefits.
information contact Phil Herlth, Commercial Technology Office, at Ames
Optimized Image Compression (DCTune)
Ames currently seeks to license the DCTune technology to U.S. companies interested in developing commercial applications. Ames has developed DCTune, a computer technology that significantly improves efficiencies in storage and transmission of documents, pictures and videos. This technology is compatible with industry compression standards known as JPEG and MPEG. DCTune can be used as add-on modules of software to existing imaging workstation software or imaging devices or as add-on functions to existing microchip designs. Potential commercial uses include medical applications, such as storage and transmission of x-rays. Other uses include Internet multimedia, still or motion picture editing, digital copiers and scanners, digital facsimile machines and personal communications services. DCTune offers the benefit of control over desired picture quality, desired compression efficiency and optimum compression at given picture quality.
information contact Denice Helwig, Commercial Technology Office, at Ames
Rigid Insulating Support for Cryogenic Components
Ames also seeks commercial and research partners to develop, test and commercialize a Rigid Insulating Support device that provides rigid support in all directions for typical cryogenic components but transmits minimal heat. The support allows the accurate location of cryogenic components in the presence of large accelerations without needing massive structures that conduct unacceptable amounts of heat to the component. The Rigid Insulating Support is extremely strong and stiff; at the same time, it allows only a tiny amount of heat to flow to the low-temperature component. Potential commercial uses include mounting of coolers and infrared detectors for night-vision systems and support for cryogen tanks for space exploration missions. The temperature can easily be adapted to other temperature ranges, including extremely high temperatures.
For information contact Jeanne
Stevens at Ames Research Center.