2019 NASA iTech Cycle

Intelligent Machines

Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Autonomy, IoT, Data Mining, Machine Learning, are buzzwords that are synonymous with the ever-increasing ability for machines make smarter decisions without the need for human interaction. With the unprecedented challenges of future space exploration, the need to equip machines to make smarter decisions when there aren’t millions of examples to learn from – and tech support is literally millions of miles away, advancements in Intelligent Machines is essential. If your company has technology that makes machines, faster, smarter, lighter, more fault tolerant, or better at decision making without human intervention, we want you to apply!

Force and Tactile Sensors

Force and tactile sensing provides feedback to help spacecraft and other robotic platforms interact more effectively with each other and with their environment. These types of sensors are increasingly common for terrestrial robotics applications, and space-qualified versions will have significant value for NASA’s missions. These sensors will help to improve general object grabbing tasks in space. The ability to reduce the size and cost of these sensors will help to increase their availability and possible applications.

Augmented and Virtual Reality Advancements

Deep space exploration creates challenges that augmented reality tools may be able to address. Examples include assisting with medical procedures; addressing psychological issues when time is limited and distance from physicians and families is great; and/or providing computer-generated physical training capabilities. Solutions should help minimize risk for future missions.

Flexible Materials

Various types of flexible materials are being explored to provide benefits and improved capabilities for missions. Flexible materials can help with storage and deployment of systems and may offer advantages over ridged metal or composite structures. Structural textiles and lightweight flexible materials must provide reliability and integrity for long-duration missions.

X-Factor: Innovations so compelling NASA should know

You have something–you know you do–something so cool something so revolutionary that we didn't even know to ask for it, "but NASA has got to know!” If that’s your response, and your innovation doesn't fit in another Cycle category, this one is for you!

2019 NASA iTech Cycle II

Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Robotic Capabilities

There are many challenges for future space exploration and having robots with artificial intelligence and autonomous capabilities will be essential for future success when operating in an unfamiliar environment, with few examples to have learned from, and tech support literally millions of miles away. Some of these needs for exploration include (but are not limited to) extraction of materials, hauling, autonomous construction and assembly, or robots that can operate from fault to recovery autonomously due to distances from Earth, or robots with the ability to make decisions like a scientist even when they are in an unknown world. All of these use cases and more, will require advancements in artificial intelligence and autonomy that have yet to be developed for robots. But if this is something you are working on we would love to hear from you.

Improve Energy Storage Density

NASA iTech seeks to identify emerging technologies that can improve energy storage density. We are interested in hearing about any technology that improves energy storage, energy availability/reliability and energy generation.

Below are examples of a few of NASA’s critical technologies that have the potential to improve future space power systems but proposed solutions are NOT limited to these examples:

  • Regenerative Fuel Cells

  • High energy density batteries

  • Fission Power systems

Radiation – Protection, Mitigation and Hardware

This challenge focus area seeks to complement and support NASA’s current investments in radiation detection technologies by leveraging external resources to identify and develop precision radiation detectors. This challenge topic also includes a call for research results and pharmaceutical agents which support the control or mitigation of space radiation health risks

Power Efficient Technologies

Spacecraft power systems must provide sufficient power for radio frequency communications. Power-efficient technologies that reduce the power required for radio frequency communication can help benefit other spacecraft systems and the overall missions design. Efficiency improvements for traveling wave tube amplifiers and solid-state power amplifiers will help reduce power demand. Data compression, coding, and modulation are other ways this enhancing technology can help achieve requirements for lower power demand.

Medical Breakthroughs

Are you working on new approaches that will revolutionize human health and healthcare? Examples include, but are not limited to, lab analysis technologies, flexible ultrasound technologies, in-situ production capabilities for medicine or food, and technologies that can extend the life of medicine and/or food, hit us with your best shot!

X-Factor: Innovations so compelling NASA should know

You have something–you know you do–something so cool something so revolutionary that we didn't even know to ask for it, "but NASA has got to know!” If that’s your response, and your innovation doesn't fit in another Cycle category, this one is for you!