Biomedical/Biochemical Applications

A Micromechanical Articulation Device Actuated by Electroactive Polymers for Ocular Surgery

The concept for this minimally invasive operating device uses “artificial muscles” to perform a full range of complex movements. Measuring only 100 micrometers in width and unlimited in length, the fiber would give surgeons precise control in areas not easily accessible to current instruments.

Communications and Distributed Systems


Optical Wireless Multi-Level Security Zones

A new approach to providing different levels of wireless security in specific zones of a facility or in rooms of a building using special wall coatings that select and block various wavelengths.

Electronics Technology


Wireless Power for Wireless Devices

The personal wireless communication and computing industry continues to grow but the “tether” of power replenishment still remains. This concept enables devices to recharge without being plugged into a power supply—continually, safely and efficiently.


Method for Quantum Information Processing Using Single Photons and the Zeno Effect

Quantum computing is a new method to perform extremely large numbers of calculations almost instantaneously using photons as logic devices instead of 1’s and 0’s. An example of a large calculation would be the use of factorials to encrypt messages for credit card purchases over the Internet. (A factorial is all the numbers multiplied together up to the factorial number. Example: 5! = 5 × 4 × 3 × 2 × 1 = 120.) Most encryption methods use 128! code to “hide” messages, and it has been estimated that a conventional computer would take longer than the life span of our Sun to break this code. However, as a result of quantum physics, future computers could break this code almost immediately. Until now, progress of quantum computing has been hampered by large numbers of calculation errors. However, this method allows APL researchers to greatly reduce errors and bring quantum computing closer to reality.

Sensor and Sensor Systems

Design of a System to Inexpensively Monitor the Integrity of a Superstructure Under Heat Loads

When exposed to excessive heat, structural elements lose their ability to support intended loads. Detection of imminent structural failure during emergency high heat load conditions is critical to saving the structure and the lives of firefighters or occupants. APL researchers have invented a system to monitor several different temperature levels of structural members. This system is continuous, monitors the entire structure and can give early warnings of the development of hot spots. The system is practical, cost effective and easy to install and has a lifetime greater than 100 years.


Battery Health Monitor

Batteries are used in numerous applications from medical equipment to computer servers as uninterruptible power supplies. The implications of non-functioning batteries can range from merely inconvenient to extremely critical. This novel device is embedded in the case of any type of battery, uses very little power, is inexpensive and is able to transmit individual battery state of charge and health continuously. This is superior to conventional devices that rely on periodic testing and are more likely to miss a failure.

Materials and Structures

A Modular Design for a Cylindrically/Prismatically Configured and Individually Fed Methanol-Air Fuel Cell System

The invention is a modular, methanol-air fuel cell system containing a large number of single fuel cells that generate variable power from 1 to 100 watts. This approach eliminates the conventional manufacturing of monolithic individual power supplies and the need for pumps and compressors.

Modeling and Simulation

Air Speed Wind Tunnel Data Analysis Suite

Well-structured wind tunnel tests are the lowest risk method of determining the highest fidelity aerodynamic properties and data of objects; however, these tests are expensive. This software develops precise wind tunnel test programs by using estimated run times, model change times and tunnel cost factors, resulting in more efficient, economical tunnel use.

Vehicle Technology
Dielectric Motor Configurations and Variable Speed Transmission Element Using Electroactive Polymers

A robust, plastic electric motor with benefits such as low weight, low current and low cost.


Method and Apparatus for Autonomous Solar Navigation; Yanping Guo (23 Sep 03)

This patent describes a method and device for independent navigation of a craft during deep space missions. The Sun is used as the reference body, and onboard instruments determine the spacecraft’s orbit based on observations of the Sun. Two types of observation data, the direction of the spacecraft relative to the Sun as a function of time and the optical Doppler shift caused by the motion of the spacecraft relative to the Sun, can be used to determine the orbit of the spacecraft.

2004 The Johns Hopkins University