NASA’s strategic needs include technological breakthroughs to advance safety in intelligent avionics systems within the Glenn Research Center (GRC). To support GRC’s efforts, we are proposing the “Adaptive RuGgedized Ubiquitous Sensor Network for Aircraft Health Monitoring (ARGUS-4AHM) System” to provide a framework for non-intrusive wireless powering, communications, and sensing to enable: (a) efficient instrumentation integration; (b) system-state recognition by distributed health monitoring; and (c) machine sensing, perception, and low-level cognition. By achieving these goals, tools will be provided to discover unforeseen events in complex environments. This system provides: (i) distributed health monitoring and (ii) a sensor network with wireless power and data links for flight instrumentation and measurement (I&M) capable of connecting devices through boundaries without penetrations based on ultrasonic transmissions by Ultrasonic Transceiver Modules (UTMs). Distinctive UTM characteristics are the design for operation on composite walls and ruggedization. Ruggedization involves analyzing and compensating for the effects of temperature and vibrations of the UTMs in the communication and energy transfer processes. ARGUS-4AHM will improve NASA flight technology by enabling ultrasonic data and power transfer through aerospace materials (composites and aluminum) without physical feed-thrus using UTMs that can be permanently or temporarily placed on surfaces, creating a channel robust to flight conditions (temperature and vibrations). This system will expand sensing and monitoring capabilities in hard to reach or inaccessible spaces while keeping the structure integrity (eliminate penetrations) and reduce complex wirings in test equipment.
The ARGUS-4AHM’s innovative technology directly supports Glenn Research Center (GRC) missions by providing tools to advance safety in intelligent avionic systems. In the larger scope, the ARGUS-4AHM directly impacts the “Next Generation Air Transportation Systems (NextGen)” research. Flight research facilities will be also benefited such as the Research Aircraft Integration Facility. The technology is flexible to be applied to other systems, such as space structures where nodes can be deployed for gathering, processing, and disseminating data.
The ARGUS-4AHM system enables deploying: (i) safer in-flight sensing without making modifications to host structures and (ii) distributed health monitoring. Examples include: (a) communication bridge in a wireless data link from the inside of a turbine engine’s wall to the outside; (b) a network switch to expand the aircraft network to isolated spaces; and (c) condition-based maintenance (CBM).