Spin-Off Tech | J@N | 5.4.11

Spin-Off Tech | J@N | 5.4.11

What has Space travel done for us here on Earth? Technology that has been commercialized through NASA funding, research, licensing, assistance or research is commonly refereed to in the industry as a NASA spin-off.

Some spin-offs you know about, some you may never have realized, and a few commonly thought to be invented for Space simply got good publicity from Space travel.

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Show Notes:

What is a Spinoff ?
A NASA spin-off is a spin-off of technology that has been commercialized through NASA funding, research, licensing, facilities, or assistance.

Flash – NASA@Home and City

NASA OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award Video – OPTIMUS PRIME began in space and transformed itself in order to come to Earth; OPTIMUS PRIME goes undetected and helps people while protecting them. Similarly, NASA technologies, though designed for space applications, are often modified and transformed to go into everyday products used on Earth; they often go undetected and often help people.

Tang, Teflon, and Velcro

Tang – General Foods developed Tang in 1957, and it has been on supermarket shelves since 1959. In 1962, when astronaut John Glenn performed eating experiments in orbit, Tang was selected for the menu, launching the powdered drink’s heightened public awareness

Teflon – Invented for DuPont in 1938, when the Agency applied it to heat shields, space suits, and cargo hold liners.

Velcro – Was used during the Apollo missions to anchor equipment for astronauts’ convenience in zero gravity situations. Although it is a Swiss invention from the 1940s, it has since been associated with the Space Program.

Android APP – NASA Spinoff’s [free]

NASA’s latest technology news, a searchable database of NASA-derived innovations, a map of spinoff locations, a historical timeline, and a database of NASA’s available licensing opportunities to inspire the spinoffs of the future.

Health and Medicine

Extended Wear Contacts – Gas permeable contacts were derived from unique technological advancements derived from the company’s experiments with NASA.
Ear Thermometer – This technology was originally developed to detect the birth of stars.
Invisible Braces – This material is a spinoff of NASA’s advanced ceramic research to develop new, tough materials for spacecraft and aircraft.
Edible Toothpaste – developed for the astronauts to use in space
Vision Screening – From telescope Technology
Ventricular assist device PIC – ventricular assist device that functions as a “bridge to heart transplant” by pumping blood throughout the body to keep critically ill patients alive until a donor heart is available.


Computer Technology

Force Feedback Joystick – evolved from research to develop a controller for the Apollo Lunar Rover

Consumer / Home / Recreation

TV Satellite Dish – NASA developed ways to correct errors in the signals coming from the spacecraft. This technology is used to reduce noise in TV signals coming from satellites.
Cordless Tools – originally developed to help Apollo astronauts drill for moon samples.
Memory Foam – origins date back to 1966 when it was developed to absorb shock and, thus, offer improved protection and comfort in NASA’s airplane seats
Enriched baby food – Commercially available infant formulas now contain a nutritional enrichment ingredient that traces its existence to NASA-sponsored research on algae as a recycling agent for long-duration space travel
Sun Tiger Glasses – From research done on materials to protect the eyes of welders working on spacecraft
Scratch-resistant Lenses – Prevent scratches oh helmets
Space Blanket
Public Safety

Fire Fighter Equipment – NASA and the National Bureau of Standards created a lightweight breathing system including face mask, frame, harness, and air bottle, using an aluminum composite material developed by NASA for use on rocket casings

Fire-resistant reinforcement – the Apollo heat shield was coated with a material whose purpose was to burn and thus dissipate energy during reentry while charring, to form a protective coating to block heat penetration. NASA subsequently funded development of other applications of the heat shield, such as fire-retardant paints and foams for aircraft, which led to intumescent epoxy material, which expands in volume when exposed to heat or flames, acting as an insulating barrier and dissipating heat through burn-off.

Aircraft anti-icing systems – SBIR : Thermawing allows pilots to safely fly through ice encounters and provides pilots of single-engine aircraft the heated wing

Improved radial tires – [tread life expected to be 10,000 miles (16,000 km) greater than conventional radials] – 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 Vikings on the Martian surface

Environmental / Agricultural resources

High Performance single crystal Solar energy – Originated with the efforts of a NASA-sponsored coalition who’s goal was to develop remotely piloted aircraft, intended to fly unmanned at high altitudes for days at a time and requiring advanced solar power sources that did not add weight.

Water purification – NASA engineers are collaborating with qualified companies to develop systems intended to sustain the astronauts living on the International Space Station and future Moon and space missions.

Pollution remediation – Work done at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to demonstrate the feasibility of encapsulating live cells with microencapsulation technology
Additional Info :

NASA – Office of Chief Technologist
NASA – Spinoff 2010
NASA : Kids – Inventions From Space
Discovery – 10 NASA Inventions You Might Use Every Day
Spinoff’s from NASA


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