Since coming to work at NASA Langley in 1987, Stanley Woodard has earned many NASA awards, including three Outstanding Performance Awards and a Patent Award. In 1996, Stanley Woodard won the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions. In 2006, he was one of four researchers at NASA Langley recognized by the 44th Annual R&D 100 Awards in the electronic equipment category. He was a 2008 NASA Honor Award Winner for exceptional service in the research and development of advanced dynamics technologies for NASA missions.
Magnetic Field Response Measurement Acquisition SystemImagine a wireless system that's truly wireless. It doesn't need a battery or a receiver, unlike most "wireless" sensors that must be electrically connected to a power source, so it can safely be put almost anywhere.
"The cool thing about this system is that we can make sensors that don't need any connections to anything," said Dr. Stanley E. Woodard, senior scientist at NASA Langley. "And we can completely encapsulate them in any electrically nonconductive material, so they can be put in lots of different locations and protected from the environment around them. Plus we can measure different properties using the same sensor."
NASA Langley scientists initially came up with the idea of the measurement acquisition system to improve aviation safety. They say airplanes could use this technology in a number of locations. One would be fuel tanks where a wireless sensor would virtually eliminate the possibility of fires and explosions from faulty wires arcing or sparking.
Another would be landing gear. That was where the system was tested in partnership with landing gear manufacturer, Messier-Dowty, Ontario, Canada. A prototype was installed in a landing gear shock strut to measure hydraulic fluid levels. The technology allowed the company to easily measure levels while the gear was moving for the first time ever and cut the time to check the fluid level from five hours to one second.
Traditional sensors use electrical signals to measure characteristics, such as weight, temperature, and others. NASA's new technology is a small hand-held unit that uses magnetic fields to power sensors and gather measurements from them. That eliminates wires and the need for direct contact between the sensor and the data acquisition system.
"Measurements that were difficult to do before because of implementation logistics and environment are now easy with our technology," said Woodard. He is one of four researchers at NASA Langley recognized by the 44th Annual R&D 100 Awards in the electronic equipment category for this invention.