NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 O2.02-9942
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Space Transportation Propulsion System and Test Facility Requirements and Instrumentation
PROPOSAL TITLE: Intelligent Flamefinder Detection and Alert System (IFDAS)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
International Electronic Machines Corporation (IEM)
60 Fourth Avenue
Albany, NY 12202 - 1924
(518) 449-5504

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ryk E. Spoor
60 Fourth Avenue
Albany, NY 12202 - 1924
(518) 449-5504

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA test and launch facilities, such as those at Stennis, Marshall, and other locations, require large amounts of hydrogen as a primary rocket fuel; hydrogen is also of growing interest in the private sector. Unfortunately, hydrogen burns with an essentially invisible flame, making detection of hydrogen fires difficult. Current methods of detecting hydrogen leaks and fires are limited in a number of ways; video-based methods (IR and otherwise) are promising, but can be seriously misled by reflections and currently require human operators (increasing expense and leading to problems of attentiveness).

To address these and other challenges, IEM proposes to create the Intelligent FlamefinderTM Detection and Alert System (IFDAS). Drawing on smart video analysis and other smart sensor work for NASA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Navy, and others, and building on an exclusive license of patented NASA technology, IEM will create a smart hydrogen fire detection system which will reliably detect even small (less than 3") flames, ignore false signals from reflections of flames, the sun, or other heat/light sources, accurately determine the location of the flames, and automatically alert the appropriate individuals or systems of the existence, extent, and location of the fire, without the need for human operators or intervention prior to the alert. IFDAS will also be able to interface with current sensing systems and integrate their data to provide a comprehensive overview of the situation using all available data. The individual units will be compact, low-power, and rugged, for use indoors or outdoors, and be applicable for uses in NASA, the military, and commercial enterprises involving hydrogen or other flammable materials which have difficult-to-detect flames.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The obvious major NASA application is for safety monitoring at the test/launch facilities such as Stennis, Marshall, Kennedy, and so on. IFDAS will provide full, reliable coverage of all potential trouble spots and give immediate accurate, localized alerts if action is needed. As the system will be integrated with current systems and be based on smart video technologies, IFDAS could also provide an additional layer of security monitoring and be expanded to monitor other safety-related events and actions as well. Any installation which uses other flammables which burn with colorless, difficult-to-detect flames (such as many alcohols, and natural gas in daylight) could also make use of IFDAS.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Interest in hydrogen as an energy carrier/fuel is increasing and expected to create a growing hydrogen infrastructure in the private/military sector. IFDAS would also be of considerable value to virtually any industrial or commercial concern that involves itself with large quantities of flammable materials, especially alcohols or natural gas which – like hydrogen – can burn with nearly invisible flames. Accordingly, IEM sees a considerable market for IFDAS in the industrial and commercial sector, which means many hundreds to thousands of sites with multiple unit installations, for tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in potential sales.

Spinoffs or derivatives from IFDAS – handheld systems or miniature systems integrated into helmets – would be extremely valuable to first responders, especially firefighters, who are required by their jobs to approach areas where fires are highly probable; in daylight conditions, this means that natural gas or alcohol fires may pose an invisible and lethal threat; standard infrared cameras can detect such flames, but are far too expensive for many department's budgets. These are large niche markets; in 2000, there were approximately 258,000 paid career firefighters in the USA, meaning that even a very small penetration in this market would be worth several million dollars.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Airport Infrastructure and Safety
Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Autonomous Reasoning/Artificial Intelligence
Computer System Architectures
Expert Systems
Spaceport Infrastructure and Safety
Testing Facilities

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50