originally posted by: samkent
a reply to: luthier
Are you aware of all the things that came from the space race that you use every year?
Most of those are PR output to justify NASA.
Give me the list of 'things' from the space shuttle program.
Give me the list of 'things' from the ISS program.
Even the list from the Apollo program is bogus.
Most of those things were in development anyway.
Infrared ear thermometers
Diatek Corporation and NASA developed an aural thermometer that measures the thermal radiation emitted by the eardrum, similar to the way the
temperature of stars and planets is measured. This method avoids contact with mucous membranes, and permits rapid temperature measurement of newborn
or incapacitated patients. NASA supported the Diatek Corporation through the Technology Affiliates Program.
Ventricular assist device
Collaboration between NASA, Dr. Michael DeBakey, Dr. George Noon, and MicroMed Technology Inc. resulted in a heart pump for patients awaiting heart
transplants. The MicroMed DeBakey ventricular assist device (VAD) functions as a "bridge to heart transplant" by pumping blood until a donor heart is
available. The pump is approximately one-tenth the size of other currently marketed pulsatile VADs. Because of the pump’s small size, fewer patients
developed device-related infections. It can operate up to 8 hours on batteries, giving patients the mobility to do normal, everyday activities.
NASA’s continued funding, coupled with its collective innovations in robotics and shock-absorption/comfort materials are inspiring and enabling the
private sector to create new and better solutions for animal and human prostheses. Advancements such as Environmental Robots Inc.’s development of
artificial muscle systems with robotic sensing and actuation capabilities for use in NASA space robotic and extravehicular activities are being
adapted to create more functionally dynamic artificial limbs (Spinoff 2004). Additionally, other private-sector adaptations of NASA’s temper foam
technology have brought about custom-moldable materials offering the natural look and feel of flesh, as well as preventing friction between the skin
and the prosthesis, and heat/moisture buildup.
Light-emitting diodes in medical therapies
After initial experiments using light-emitting diodes in NASA space shuttle plant growth experiments, NASA issued a small business innovation grant
that led to the development of a hand-held, high-intensity, LED unit developed by Quantum Devices Inc. that can be used to treat tumors after other
treatment options are exhausted. This therapy was approved by the FDA and inducted into the Space Foundation's Space Technology Hall of Fame in
Invisible braces are a type of transparent ceramics called translucent polycrystalline alumina (TPA). A company known as Ceradyne developed TPA in
conjunction with NASA Advanced Ceramics Research as protection for infrared antennae on heat-seeking missile trackers.
A sunglasses manufacturer called Foster Grant first licensed a NASA technology for scratch-resistant lenses, developed for protecting space equipment
from scratching in space, especially helmet visors.
So-called space blankets, developed in 1964, are lightweight and reflect infrared radiation. They are often included in first aid kits.
Aircraft anti-icing systems
This ice-free airplane wing uses Thermawing's Aircraft Anti-Icing System, a NASA spin-off.
NASA funding under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and work with NASA scientists advanced the development of a thermoelectric
deicing system called Thermawing, a DC-powered air conditioner for single-engine aircraft called Thermacool, and high-output alternators to run them
both. Thermawing allows pilots to safely fly through ice encounters and provides pilots of single-engine aircraft the heated wing technology usually
reserved for larger, jet-powered craft. Thermacool, an electric air conditioning system, uses a new compressor whose rotary pump design runs off an
energy-efficient, brushless DC motor and allows pilots to use the air conditioner before the engine starts.
Safety grooving, the cutting of grooves in concrete to increase traction and prevent injury, was first developed to reduce aircraft accidents on wet
runways. Represented by the International Grooving and Grinding Association, the industry expanded into highway and pedestrian applications. Safety
grooving originated at Langley Research Center, which assisted in testing the grooving at airports and on highways. Skidding was reduced, stopping
distance decreased, and a vehicle’s cornering ability on curves was increased. The process has been extended to animal holding pens, parking lots,
and other potentially slippery surfaces.
Improved radial tires
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company developed a fibrous material, five times stronger than steel, for NASA to use in parachute shrouds to soft-land the
Viking Lander spacecraft on the Martian surface. Recognizing the durability of the material, Goodyear expanded the technology and went on to produce a
new radial tire with a tread life expected to be 10,000 miles (16,000 km) greater than conventional radials.
NASA contracted with Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) to develop moisture- and pH-sensitive sensors to warn of corrosive conditions in aircraft
before damage occurs. This sensor changes color in response to contact with its target. After completing the work with NASA, IOS was tasked by the
U.S. Department of Defense to further develop the sensors for detecting chemical warfare agents and potential threats, such as toxic industrial
compounds and nerve agents. IOS has sold the chemically sensitive fiber optic cables to major automotive and aerospace companies, who are finding a
variety of uses for the devices such as aiding experimentation with nontraditional power sources, and as an economical "alarm system" for detecting
chemical release in large facilities.
Video enhancing and analysis systems
Intergraph Government Solutions developed its Video Analyst System (VAS) by building on Video Image Stabilization and Registration (VISAR) technology
created by NASA to help FBI agents analyze video footage. Originally used for enhancing video images from nighttime videotapes made with hand-held
camcorders, VAS is a tool for video enhancement and analysis offering support of full-resolution digital video, stabilization, frame-by-frame
analysis, conversion of analog video to digital storage formats, and increased visibility of filmed subjects without altering underlying footage.
Aside from law enforcement and security applications, VAS has also been adapted to serve the military for reconnaissance, weapons deployment, damage
assessment, training, and mission debriefing.