HUNTSVILLE, Ala --It was in the late 1980s that one Huntsville company got its start. CFD Research Corporation helped NASA return to flight after the Challenger disaster. That wasn't the last project that involved the shuttle program, and it certainly wasn't the only kind of work for this company of more than 125 employees.
"So, here at CFDRC we really take pride in developing new and innovative technologies, really cool things," said Sameer Singhal, President and CEO of CFDRC.
The Bio-Battery is one example of the cool things on which CFDRC engineers, technicians and scientists are working. It's designed to take something with sugar in it, like a soft drink, and use it as fuel in a battery. It would be just the thing for a soldier in the field to use to charge a smartphone.
At CFDRC, there are plenty of interesting projects underway and you get the feeling that the people working on them are having fun.
"That's actually one of our core values that we have. The traditional values of integrity and respect for other people, but one of our core values is actually fun," said Singhal.
Having fun certainly makes work on things that will protect soldiers even more rewarding. The development of an earpiece that blocks out the ear-damaging sound of a rifle, or even a cannon appears to be a major breakthrough. The earpiece, which is small and made of soft material would block out the loudest sounds, but let in the sounds of one soldier talking to another.
"Conversational, situational awareness, so you know what's going on around you," said Principal Engineer, Keith Sedberry.
Hunters and others exposed to loud noises might also use the earplugs. That would create a commercial market. Many of CFDRC's projects could have a civilian application. Even the work to support NASA's Space Launch System may be used in other ways. Bottom line, there is a lot of work in many different fields underway at CFDRC.
"I think what sets us apart is the excitement and passion of our employees, our engineers and scientists and again, we give them a lot of freedom to work on things," said Singhal.