5 important inventions you didn’t know were NASA spinoffs | Technology News – DollarJob

5 important inventions you didn’t know were NASA spinoffs | Technology News


If “To Infinity and Beyond” is the motto of the fictional character Buzz Lightyear, what do you think NASA’s motto is? Well, it is “for the benefit of all.” You probably know how the space agency lives up to the former, but here is how it lives up to the latter.

Many of the technologies have their roots in the advanced science applications developed by NASA for space applications. Here are some of the inventions you have to thank the American space agency for.

The camera on your phone

In the 1990s, a team at the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory worked to create digital cameras that were both small enough to fit in tight spaces on a spacecraft while also being high-quality enough for collecting data. That is when they developed Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor technology.

Those rudimentary sensor arrays were easier to mass produce than the standards of the time and also used much less power. Today, more than a third of all digital cameras, including those on the GoPro and many mobile phones, use CMOS technology.

Water purifier

Mike Pedersen, the founder of Western Water International was looking to find a more effective method of filtering drinking water that was highly contaminated. That is when he learned that the space agency was conducting extensive research into techniques that could be used to purify water on spacecraft.

Festive offer

The space agency developed Aerospace Compound, which blends together many types of glandular activated charcoal and other ingredients. This filter is used to remove substances like Chlorine using atomic adsorption. These Aquaspace filters are now widely used in many industrial, commercial, residential and recreational applications across the globe.

Memory foam matress (Image credit: Pixabay)

Memory foam

Memory foam is perhaps the most recognised and widely-used NASA spinoffs. Originally called temper foam, the space agency developed it in 1966 to absorb shock, offering comfort and protection on NASA’s airplane seats. From helping bedridden patiens get rid of bedsores to helping people walk more comfortable with insoles, temper foam is one of those spinoffs that a lot of people are “in touch with.”

Image credit: Pixabay Image credit: Pixabay

Smoke detector

Okay, NASA did not invent fire detectors, but it did come up with a more modern version of the technology. The sensor developed by NASA works by sampling air to determine the presence of combustion particles. It was originally designed for use on space shuttle orbiters and unlike previous equipment, it can differentiate between particles from combustion and other particles like dust, making it less susceptible to false alarms.

Wireless headphones Image credit: Pexels

Wireless headsets

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

This iconic message was delivered from Neil Armstrong’s wireless headset to the headsets of mission controllers at NASA, and then to the world. Today’s wireless headsets can be considered an updated version of the technology developed for astronauts by the space agency. Before then, the headsets used by airplane pilots were bulky and uncomfortable. That is why NASA commissioned a headset that could fit inside an astronaut’s helmet while not being too heavy.


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