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News 2012

November 2012

Inventors of the year

In winter 2011, Intellectual Property Management and Technology Transfer (IPMTT) implemented Component I of its Intellectual Property Awards Program aimed at recognizing inventors of the year at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

From left to right: Benoît Marcotte, Director General, Corporate Services; Xin Xiang Jiang, inventor and Research Scientist, Space Environment; Nancy Gardner, Head, Intellectual Property Management and Technology Transfer; and Darius Nikanpour, inventor and Manager, Materials and Thermal Group. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

The Selection Committee, composed of CSA directors general, presented the award to Xin Xiang Jiang and Darius Nikanpour, in recognition of their commitment to promoting and transferring the technology they themselves developed.

Component I of the IPMTT Awards Program not only pays tribute to a technology that has had a significant impact on the CSA and the Canadian government as a whole, but also underscores the inventors' participation in the intellectual property management process.

Usefulness of the invention

The invention developed by Xin Xiang Jiang and Darius Nikanpour, entitled "Method for Regulating Strain Output of Shape Memory Alloy Actuators" helps to achieve cost and space savings and reduce weight.

It also eliminates the need for position sensors for fine control of Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuators. A simple and effective topology for both actuation and control of SMA actuators has been developed and prototyped, enabling low cost control of one or many actuators using a minimum of hardware.

This technology can be integrated with a wide range of applications (opposite), particularly where SMA based actuation is desirable and where fine position control is a necessity.

For a detailed description of the invention, go to

Award for inventors of the year

"This invention offers significant advantages over existing technologies"

Benoit Marcotte, Director General, Corporate Services at the CSA

Potential applications

  • Aircraft wing and engine structures
  • Helicopter rotor blade angle control
  • Artificial muscle in next generation space and robotic systems
  • Actuator for tensioning control of membrane synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antennas

Feedback Control for Shape Memory Alloy Actuators (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)