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Inventions of NASA
Inventions of NASA

[Image: nasa-astronaut-rover-flag-on-moon-spaceshots.jpg]

In 1958, President Eise*n*hower signed the Space Act, officially creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. From the beginning, the purpose for the ne*w branch extended beyond space ships and moon boots. The law stipulated that its research and advancements should benefit all people, and in its 50-year history, NASA has certainly fulfilled that role.

Although most people today will never set foot on the moon, everyone likely comes in contact with a NASA by-product every day. Partnering with various research teams and companies, NASA continues to spawn a vast array of new technologies and products that have improved our daily lives. Basic steps in health, safety, communications and even casual entertainment find their ro*ots in the government branch commonly associated with rocket ships and floating people. In fact, NASA has filed more than 6,300 patents with the U.S. government [source: NASA Scientific and Technical Information].

Each year since 1976, NASA has published a list of every commercialized technology and product linked to its research. The NASA journal "Spinoff" highlights these products, which have included things like improved pacemakers, state of the art exercise machines and satellite radio. Each product was made possible thanks to a NASA idea or innovation.

But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to use many of these so-called spinoffs. Read on to learn about ten of these familiar products.
2. Cordless tools:

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The first cordless tools were developed by NASA to allow astronauts to drill for moon samples because they could not use corded power tools very well in the conditions of space and on the moon. Don’t forget that when you’re ****ing up bits of dirt or crumbs around the house with a handheld cordless vacuum, you are actually using the same technology that astronauts used on the moon.
3. Water filter:

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We drink tap water, enjoying the convenience and cost-effectiveness of this practice, yet, we fail to recognize the serious threat this water may pose to our health. Along with killing bacteria in the water, the filters also prevent further bacterial growth. Companies have borrowed from this same technology to bring us the water filter systems millions of people use at home every day.
4. Joystick:

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Now, let’s have some fun. NASA is just not only for space scientists or astronauts but also to make your life more enjoyable. You can now play computer games with all the care needed for a safe and soft Space Shuttle landing. A joystick for computer games was modeled after controls used in Space Shuttle simulators. Astronauts used the joystick to practice landing and steering the Space Shuttle.
5. Smoke detector:

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One of the most important safety equipment for premises, smoke detector was invented by NASA for use in space. The first edition of this device was introduced to the Skylab in 1973. This was necessary to to the requirement of adjustable sensitivity for the space station. Many independent tests indicate that optical smoke detectors typically detect particulates (smoke) from hot, flaming fires approximately 30 seconds later than ionization smoke alarms.
6. Long distance communications:

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Logistically challenging, the Langley project of NASA was committed to carry on long distance telephone conversations. It took decades to built satellites that could communicate with people on the ground about what outer space was like. Around 200 communication satellites orbit the globe each day. NASA monitors the locations and health of many of these satellites to ensure that we can continue to talk to people around the corner or overseas.
7. Safety grooving:

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Carving a groove into concrete may not sound like much of an innovation, but it certainly keeps us safe on the roads. Also called safety grooving, this simple, yet lifesaving, process inserts long, shallow channels into pavement on runways and roads. These indention in the concrete divert excess water from the surface to reduce the amount of water between tires and the runway or road. This increases the friction between wheels and concrete, improving vehicle safety. Safety grooving was first experimented with at NASA’s Langely Research Center in the 1960s as a way to improve safety for aircraft taking off on wet runways.
8. Satellite television:

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The reason behind this invention was to focus on the earth’s weather which started in 1962 as TIROS (Television Infrared Observation satellite) program. Later, research was concentrated on testing the experimental television techniques and infrared equipment to develop a worldwide meteorological satellite information system.
9. Dialysis machine:

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Another exploration of NASA. The invention of dialysis machine in 1940 was something far superior to the healthy life of people across the world. Kidney dialysis machines were developed as a result of a NASA developed chemical process that could remove toxic waste from used dialysis fluid.
10. Freeze dried food:

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However, the credit of inventing freeze dried food goes to Nestle in late 1938 but it was NASA that implemented the drying method to feed military members as well as astronauts when they are on missions. After eliminating the moisture, the food is packed in a special moisture-proof packet so that it can remain fresh until it is opened.
Computer microchip:

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And here comes the technology which rules the world. This electronic breakthrough was achieved while conceptualizing a computer that could be used on the Lunar Excursion Module for calculating orbital trajectories. A programmable computer, with a few kilobits of memory, which did not require a lot of battery power was required. As a result, the first microprocessor was created, which is a computer on a chip. That means that all of the components needed for the computer to operate where on a single wafer of silicon.
Invisible Braces

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Even celebs have teeth problems. See actor Tom Cruise's invisible ceramic braces.

Many t*eenagers cringe at the prospect of braces. Getting one's teeth in order used to mean enduring a mouth full of metal, but not so anymore. Invisible braces hit the market in 1987, and now there are multiple brands.

Invisible braces are made of translucent polycrystalline alumina (TPA). A company called Ceradyne developed TPA in conjunction with NASA Advanced Ceramics Research to protect the infrared antennae of heat-seeking missile trackers.

In the meantime, another company, Unitek, was working on a new design for dental braces -- a design that would be more aesthetically pleasing and would not have the shiny metallic factor. It discovered that TPA would be strong enough to withstand use and is translucent, making it a prime material for invisible braces. Because of their instant popularity, invisible braces are one of the most successful products in the orthodontic industry
Scratch-resistant Lenses

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A process NASA developed while refining helmet visors for astronauts led to scratch-resistant lenses for eyeglasses and sunglasses.

If you* drop a pair of eyeglasses on the ground, the lenses probably won't break. That's because in 1972, the Food and Drug Administration began requiring manufacturers to use plastic rather than glass to make lenses. Plastics are cheaper to use, better at absorbing ultraviolet radiation, lighter and not prone to shattering . Nevertheless, they also had an Achilles heel. Uncoated plastics tend to scratch easily, and scuffed lenses could impair someone's sight.

Because of dirt and particles found in space environments, NASA needed a special coating to protect space equipment, particularly astronaut helmet visors. Recognizing an opportunity, the Foster-Grant sunglasses manufacturer licensed the NASA technology for its products. The special plastics coating made its sunglasses ten times more scratch-resistant than uncoated plastics
Memory Foam

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Memory foam is an open cell foam that compresses fully and reverts to its original form.

NASA *helps some people sleep better at night. Temper foam found in Tempurpedic brand mattresses and similar brands was originally developed for space flight and later repackaged for the home.

The open cell polyurethane-silicon plastic was created for use in NASA aircraft seats to lessen impact during landings. The plastic has a unique property that allows it to evenly distribute the weight and pressure on top of it, which provides shock absorbency. Even after being compressed to 10 percent of its size, the memory foam will return to its original shape. Some private and commercial planes now feature the foam in seats as well.

But the uses of the plastic foam extend beyond the skies. Its weight distribution and temperature sensitivity play important roles for severely disabled or bedridden people. Doctors can customize the foam to support patients while reducing the pressure on certain parts of the body to ward off bedsores, for instance. Some companies also have integrated temper foam into prosthetic limbs because it has the same look and feel of skin and decreases the friction between the prosthetic and joints.

Other commercial uses include padding for motorcycle seats, custom body molds for dressmaking and protection for racecar drivers.
Ear Thermometer

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Aural thermometers use an infrared sensor to measure the temperature of energy radiating from your ear drum.

Taking y*our temperature when sick can be tricky business. A standard mercury thermometer can prove difficult to read, and a rectal one is just plain uncomfortable. In 1991, infrared thermometers that you place into your ears took the work out of it, simplifying and speeding up the process.

Diatek, which developed the first of these kinds of thermometers, saw a need to reduce the amount of time nurses spend taking temperatures. With around one billion temperature readings taken in hospitals in the United States each year and a shortage of nurses, the company set out to shave off the precious minutes otherwise required to watch mercury rise . Instead, Diatek took advantage of NASA's previous advancements in measuring the temperature of stars with infrared technology.

Together with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, the company invented an infrared sensor that serves as the thermometer. Aural thermometers with these infrared sensors take your temperature by measuring the amount of energy your eardrum gives off into the ear canal . Since the eardrum is inside our bodies, it acts as an accurate sensor for the energy, or heat, inside of our bodies that increases when we get sick. Hospital models can perform a temperature reading in less than two seconds

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