Innovation Drives Nano-enabled Sensor in More Ways than One


Imagine a vacation is quickly approaching just weeks away. What if wearing a small patch on your arm enabled the detection of an oncoming cold, allowing for treatment to deter the onset of symptoms? The result? An enjoyable cold-free vacation.

This type of innovative nanotechnology-enabled patch would allow people to make predictive decisions about their day, week or even month. The benefits are far-reaching, across applications and multiple sectors. Nano-enabled sensors could monitor the health of patients in their own homes or a coach could use the information to remove athletes from a game or practice based on warning signs of overexertion or injury.

In an environment where situational awareness is essential to survival, think about how predictive decision-making could impact servicemen and women in the field or critical intelligence data analysts.

“Today, we measure signals and design feedback systems to enhance all aspects of our platforms and systems. Imagine what we can do if we could extend our systems’ capability to include the physiological monitoring of humans,” said Scott Fouse, director, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories. “Not only could we monitor their health to aid in medical treatment, such as the case with warfighters, but we could also design our systems to optimize individual performance readiness, essentially closing the loop with the user.”

In partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and General Electric (GE), Lockheed Martin is engineering a nano-enabled sensor that is small, light-weight and inexpensively produced. AFRL and Lockheed Martin will lead the application in the military arena while GE seeks to leverage the technology in the consumer and health industries.

Innovation is not exclusive to the invention of a technology. Employing new ways to engage partners gives GE, AFRL and Lockheed Martin the opportunity to develop new technology based on each organization’s expertise and objectives from inception of the idea through engineering, design and future production. Indeed, collaboration allows each organization’s capabilities to contribute to the success of the team.

“Collaboration across technology, strategy and business development, driven by the voice of the customer, is the innovative key to the next generation of long range planning and success,” said Craig Silber, senior manager, Lockheed Martin Business Development.

This early engagement creates value for the partnership, which gives the collaboration purpose… innovation with purpose. And in the end, the partnership can unlock the secrets to ensuring vacations are enjoyed, athletes stay fit, patients have early warning indicators and servicemen and women come home safe.

September 9, 2013


Nanotechnology holds great promise. With nano-knowhow, we can improve the size, weight, power and performance of systems, while at the same time, reduce costs. These small materials will have a big impact on our future – and it’s where we start our Innovation with Purpose technology series. Join us as we explore Innovation with Purpose and other emerging technologies that will help address some of our world’s most pressing challenges today and well into the future.  

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