MicroStrain Awarded U.S. Army Contract

November 5, 2009

The sensor manufacturer will develop an RFID embedded usage-tracking system for helicopter rotating components.

Williston, VT -- The U.S. Army recently awarded MicroStrain Inc. a Phase I SBIR contract to develop an active radio frequency identification (RFID) embedded usage-tracking system for helicopter rotating components.

The objective of the SBIR is to develop a comprehensive and networked health-management capability that can be embedded directly into rotorcraft components. The project will support the development and demonstration of tiny, wireless, energy-harvesting RFID (EH-RFID) nodes that provide part identification, performance monitoring, onboard storage of component usage history, and remaining-useful-life data.

Energy harvesting combined with advanced wireless sensors represents a breakthrough technology that enables truly autonomous monitoring, reporting, and alerting. The new EH-RFID nodes to be developed under this Army SBIR will be compatible with MicroStrain's new wireless sensor data aggregators (WSDA), which synch wireless sensor networks and provide a remote portal to a secure server. WSDA devices feature an open architecture interface for integration with existing health-and-usage monitoring systems (HUMS), and stand-alone operation modes for data collection on aircraft without HUMS. WSDAs can also be programmed to send email and SMS text alerts if a potentially damaging event is detected.

"One of the unique aspects of this Phase I SBIR is that the EH-RFID sensor nodes consume very little energy, facilitating continuous operation using highly miniaturized energy harvesters. Our wireless, battery-free RFIDs will break down the barriers to deploying widely distributed wireless sensor networks. Once embedded, these tiny sensors will reduce maintenance costs, increase mission readiness, and enhance safety," said Steve Arms, President of MicroStrain.

About MicroStrain
MicroStrain Inc. is a leading manufacturer of inertial measurement systems, micro-displacement transducers, and wireless sensing networks. MicroStrain's sensing systems are used in a wide variety of applications, including testing new designs, controlling critical processes, navigating unmanned vehicles, and monitoring the health of structures and machines. Recognized as an innovator in the sensors industry, MicroStrain has received ten Best of Sensors Expo Gold awards for its new products. For further information, call 802-862-6629.

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