non-destructive testing
Extreme Diagnostics evolves to deal with post-9/11 realities. Our Autonomous Health Sensor (AHS) will be a portable, non-invasive testing system that remotely scans and monitors at-risk aerospace transports, dams, bridges, roadways and buildings.

running tests
in zero gravity

NASA asked us to design and build a way to measure how fluids behave in space. Then we climbed aboard their zero-G simulation aircraft to test it.

robot subs

We outfitted robotic submarines to collect coastal dynamics data off Florida's Gulf Coast, and set up a way to control them from our lab in Boulder, Colorado.

R&D lab
in a suitcase

NASA needed a way to monitor protein crystals growing on board the International Space Station. We developed a custom lab—and fit it all into a ruggedized, portable unit.


The need for non-destructive testing.

12/7/99 — The Erika breaks up in the North Atlantic after passing every inspection—a victim of severe corrosion. Double-hull tankers are prone to super-rust, undetectable by current methods.
11/12/01 — NYC Airbus A300 crash kills 265. Over 70 US pilots request grounding of Airbus jets, claiming no way exists to adequately inspect the composite tail section. Falsely certified Airbus parts seized in Rome.
3/26/02 — The 6-inch steel reactor lid at the Davis Besse Ohio plant almost burns through. The assumption that the steel reactor vessel enclosing the core will not be breached is severely challenged. Current inspection fails.
6/18/02 — Videotape horrifically captures both wings snapping off a disintegrating C-135 fire-fighting tanker just north of Yosemite; the following month a wing breaks off a PB4Y-2 Privateer slurry bomber working the Colorado Big Elk fire.
2/1/03 — The Space Shuttle Columbia breaks up during re-entry. Engineers determine the thermal protection system was structurally damaged by launch debris and failed catastrophically.

AHS coordinates a sensor swarm of hundreds of self-powered piezoelectric sensor/actuators, minute temperature sensors and data transmitters, chip-sized mechanical impedance analyzers, and statistically sound data processing algorhythms. AHS is an intergrated and self-contained structural health-monitoring package for wireless inspection of aero-space weapons systems. AHS "slap-on" sensors support and improve structural reliability for a wide range of existing aerospace systems. AHS provides knowledge of current and future system health. Commercial applications are starkly clear. Structural health monitoring is an emerging industry driven by an aging infrastructure, malicious humans, and the introduction of advanced materials. Applications include smart structures and structural monitoring of aircraft, dams, bridges, and oil and gas facilities. Customers include government agencies, oil and gas companies, owner/operators of fire-fighting slurry bombers, dam and bridge owners, and other crucial-structure custodians.

Development status: AHS is funded by a NSF Phase I STTR contract as well as by NASA. AHS is a joint venture between Extreme Diagnostics and Virginia Tech's Center for Intelligent Material Systems and Structures.