The University of Central Florida, NASA’sKennedy Space Center and HySense Technology, an early stage startup company, will be recognized by R&D Magazine later this year for developing and producing one of the top 100 innovations of the year.
This award, known as the R&D 100, is widely regarded as the “Oscars of Invention,” whose past winners include the fax machine (1975) and HDTV (1998).
According to a release from the university, UCF researchers at the Florida Solar Energy Center began work on the breakthrough technology, a color-changing tape to visually detect hydrogen leaks, under a grant from NASA’s Glenn Research Center.
Use of hydrogen as fuel for space exploration carries the risk of an accident if a hydrogen leak isn’t pinpointed and fixed quickly.
Adding to the difficulties in dealing with hydrogen: Potentially dangerous leaks in environments like a shuttle launch pad are hard to detect because hydrogen is odorless and colorless. However, by wrapping leak-susceptible areas with the new tape, leaks can be “seen” with a color change in the presence of hydrogen.
The color-changing concept for a visual cue was conceived by UCF’s Ali Raissi, with a team of scientists including Nahid Mohajeri, who would later bring the invention to market as UCF searched for a partner to commercialize the technology.
Mohajeri, who founded HySense Technology, introduced the award-winning hydrogen detection tape to the market.
On Nov. 7, UCF, NASA Kennedy and HySense will be recognized internationally at the R&D 100 banquet and award presentation held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.