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(Phone: 703/557-5609) Cheryll Madison Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. (Phone: 301/286-8956) RELEASE: 91-10
January 24, 1991
SUPERBOWL JUMBOTRON SCREEN EMPLOYS NASA TECHNOLOGY SPINOFF The huge television Jumbotron screen, that will track what may be a hotly-contested Superbowl XXV game in Florida at Tampa Stadium on Jan.27, will keep its cool, thanks to a NASA technology spinoff. Sensors, originally designed as ingestible capsules to monitor core body temperatures of human patients, will be used to monitor potentially damaging heat build-up in electronic circuits of the Jumbotron. The sensor and receiver within the jumbo screen were the result of a collaborative development effort between the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md. The sensor originally was developed as a research tool under NASA's Technology Utilization's Applications Engineering program. The sensor has been used for research in the areas of hypo- and hyperthermia, sleep disorders, weight loss and sports medicine. "The industrial temperature sensor is a good example of the diversity of applications that can result from NASA's Technology Utilization program," said Donald Friedman, Chief, Office of Commercial Programs at Goddard. "We are very gratified about the interest manufacturers have shown in this simple device and are excited about the potential new uses. One area in which the sensor already has been used is honey production through the monitoring of beehive temperature." - more -
- 2 The huge television Jumbotrons used at National Football League sports stadiums and also at Times Square in New York City, N.Y., and at Sea World in Orlando, Fla., are built by the Sony Corporation and range from 8 by 10 feet to 33 by 110 feet. In the Jumbotron, one or two quartz crystal sensors are
nestled among the electronic modules. The natural vibration frequency of these crystals increases as temperature increases. The crystal's vibration is automatically amplified and telemetered to a receiver outside the screen, which is connected by cable to a remote control panel within the stadium where the temperature is displayed. Appropriate measures then can be taken to provide the necessary cooling and prevent the Jubotron from shutting down. The industrial temperature sensor is manufactured by HTI, Inc., in St. Petersburg, Fla., the developer of the sensor's telemetry system and control panel. The sensor's extreme accuracy, up to temperatures of 260 degrees Fahrenheit, and its flexibility in download and recording of data has interested food processors, the pharmaceutical industry and manufacturing processors. Because the system uses an inductive magnetic telemetry link, it allows sensors to be used in new situations in which hard wiring is not possible or appropriate, such as in the Jumbotrons. Sony has 11 Jumbotrons operating within the United States and is recommending that all units be equipped with the temperature sensors. Already the device has been credited with enhancing reliability of the big screens by documenting the large temperature increases that occur when the Jumbotrons are turned off. The discovery of these temperature surges, which can damage or destroy electronic circuit boards within the screen, has led Sony to make a simple but important change in the cooling fan operation in the screens. By leaving the fans on for approximately 1 hour after turning off the screen, Sony eliminated damaging temperature excursions after the power has been turned off. This research is supported by Goddard's Office of Commercial Programs. - end -