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NASA sensor technology in fabric to revolutionize textile industry

When an ambitious businesswoman, Susan Bernard, attended the NASA Technology Days in Cleveland, Ohio, and got herself into the know about the latest NASA sensors, the idea of creating textile Instruments struck her mind. The project was about integrating a novel sensor technology into a fabric that would be able to monitor the condition of living beings.

The technology called SansEC, is a sensor that functions using electromagnetic vibrations in the air and does not need to be plugged in or use batteries. Originally developed by NASA Langley researcher Stanley Woodard, SansEC can simultaneously measure different physical phenomena, like temperature and fluid level, and functions even when badly damaged. A remote antenna interrogates the sensor and collects the measurements.

In the beginning, Woodard imagined using the sensor on space systems such as inflatable habitats or the Mars airplane. However, Textile Instruments is now a NASA licensee for the promising technology. With various embroidery techniques and a multitude of fabrics, the sensors can be virtually added to existing materials, uniforms or weaved directly, creating a highly resonant sensor at a low cost with no additional weight, NASA said in a statement. Textile Instruments has already made a prototype blanket of the same.