Inside This Issue:
Spotlight on Sallie Kay Janes, Ph.D.
RTA #3939— Mesh enclosure for aerial work
platforms provides the necessary ‘ounce of prevention’
RTA #3949 — SATOP works to help solve technical
challenges of an LED-lighted unisex handbag
What is SATOP?
SATOP Alliance Partners
How to Submit a Request
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Space Alliance Technology Outreach
Program (SATOP), which provides free technical assistance to small Texas business
owners. SATOP, administered by the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, offers a
special thanks the 86th Texas Legislature for funding this highly successful program
during the 2020-2021 biennium.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs had struggled to complete the development of their new, innovative products until SATOP matched them with one of its Alliance Partners to provide the needed technical solutions, allowing them to continue on
a path to success.
More than 800 small businesses across the State of Texas have been helped by
SATOP since its inception, creating new jobs, capital investment, and facility expansion.
Two recent success stories are highlighted in this newsletter, illustrating the variety of new products and
how SATOP was able to assist the entrepreneurs. SATOP Alliance Partner Design By Analysis helped Titus Solutions LLC ready its aerial platform “dropped tool prevention enclosure” for wind tunnel testing to verify that the
product meets government safety standards. SATOP provided guidance and helped Patricia Slind, founder of
VNSS LLC, develop a successful proposal for technical assistance with her innovative unisex handbag from the
Technology Collaboration Center and SATOP Alliance Partner San Jacinto College.
SATOP’s success would not be possible without its Alliance Partners that allow their engineers and faculty
members to volunteer their time to help small business owners overcome technical challenges. So, another special thanks to our Alliance Partners listed on the back page of this newsletter.
Spotlight on Sallie Kay Janes, Ph.D.
Over 15 years ago, I was asked to oversee the SATOP program as it would relate to possible projects at San Jacinto College. The concept of bringing actual problem
solving for industry into the classroom was intriguing to me. It could be a way to engage students in actual experiences that might benefit the economy. This would also
give the students the opportunity to earn funds the department could use to benefit
the program in which they were studying.
The first project dealt with helping to determine the best metal to use in
building a deer stand. The students conducted various tests on various metals in a
short period of time. The next project was in the field of electricity. The problem was
resolved by one of the electrical classes and had an international effect as far away as Australia. One of the most
recent projects involved students helping an entrepreneur build a special part for his prototype with a 3D printer.
The class was able to provide him with plans so that he could continue to print the parts himself.
Engaging creative college instructors so that they can provide phenomenal experiences for their students
is a true benefit of San Jacinto College’s partnership with SATOP
Mesh enclosure for aerial work platforms provides
necessary ‘ounce of prevention’
An object falling from an aerial work platform has the potential
to cause serious injury or even death
to anyone unfortunate enough to be
standing at the wrong place at the
Forrest C. Hester, founder
and chief development officer of Tutus Solutions, LLC, developed an innovative mesh basket enclosure that
will contain dropped tools within
the aerial platform.
Hester is working to certify
the product to conform to standards
set by the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institutes (ANSI). The University of
Hartford conducted wind tunnel studies of the mesh
enclosure, which indicated that the mesh had to be
modified in order to meet safety standards.
The San Jacinto College Small
Business Development Center advised Hester to contact SATOP Director Bob Payne with a Request for
Technical Assistance to determine
what modifications needed to be
made. SATOP Alliance Partner Design By Analysis accepted the request, and DBA President Len Discenza performed a series of analyses.
DBA’s analyses identified the
correct mesh opening diameter
needed to meet the 28 mph load requirement. This allowed Hester to
design a new mesh and send samples
to the University of Hartford for a scale model wind
tunnel test. Hester is confident that this will result in
his product conforming to the OSHA and ANSI requirements, allowing him to move forward with the
marketing of this innovative product.
SATOP works to help solve technical challenges
of an LED-lighted unisex handbag
developed the VINSS
bag, a unisex handbag
designed exclusively to
help anyone who struggles to view the contents
of a bag at a low light
level. She has a provisional patent for the
handbag and has developed a prototype. Slind
needed assistance in efficiently integrating the
LED lights, light-level
detecting sensors, on/off switch, and USB driver into
the bag. The USB driver serves to charge the bag and
other electronic devices such as a mobile phone.
SATOP Director Bob Payne recommended that
Slind apply for assistance from the 2019 Wearable
Technologies Challenge Program hosted by the Technology Collaboration Center (TCC), since the scope of
the project would exceed SATOP’s 40-hour limit for
Payne assisted Slind in developing her proposal for the program. Her challenge was accepted by
TCC Board of Directors, and San Jacinto College, a TCC
partner, volunteered to work with Slind to develop a
working prototype. Nathanial Wiggins, Distinguished
Professor of Mathematics and Engineering, San Jacinto College – North Campus, is leading the project with
his engineering students to develop a fully functional
prototype. Slind is thrilled with the progress made by
Wiggins and his students and anticipates manufacturing and marketing the novel product in mid-2020.
Payne said, “San Jacinto College is a SATOP
Alliance Partner, and Professor Wiggins and his students have successfully solved technical challenges for
several SATOP clients. I’m certain that Slind will be
completely satisfied with the outcome.”
What is SATOP?
The Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP) is a State of Texas-funded program that
helps small businesses faced with technical challenges by providing up to 40 hours of FREE technical
assistance for qualified requests. This is accomplished by utilizing the vast engineering expertise of
participating Alliance Partners (NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA contractors, subcontractors, and
colleges/universities). SATOP is designed to speed the transfer of the U.S. Space Program’s
knowledge and technology to the private sector, to provide economic benefits to the community,
and to raise public awareness of the Space Program.