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15 of NASA's coolest inventions that make our lives easier

15 of NASA's coolest inventions that make our lives easier

15 of NASA's coolest inventions that make our lives easier
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By Anand Singha  Oct 1, 2022 8:56:11 AM IST (Updated)

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration does more than build grandiose telescopes capable of witnessing the dawn of time and launching humans to the moon and back. It's also responsible for Michael Phelps' swimsuit, LASIK surgery, and the selfie. 15 of the daily things mentioned below are considered "spinoff technologies" from NASA's space programme. Let's have a look.

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Memory foam | You can thank NASA for the memory foam in your mattress, pillow, couch, work chair, or bike seat. Charles Yost, a NASA-funded aeronautical engineer, designed the material, which was employed to produce better shock-absorbing airplane seats for test pilots. (Image: Unsplash)

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The classic computer mouse | Doug Englebart pioneered the computer mouse at Stanford in the early 1960s, with NASA funding his research into interactive computer inputs. NASA's Bob Taylor championed the study, and later went on to lead Xerox and further develop the computer mouse. (Image: Unsplash)

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Infrared thermometers | You wouldn't be able to monitor your temperature using an infrared thermometer without NASA. The space agency invented infrared thermometers to measure the temperature of remote celestial objects, and the innovation finally made its way to household thermometers used by hypochondriacs everywhere. (Image: Unsplash)

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Efficient swimsuits | NASA is responsible for high-performance swimsuits worn by athletes such as Michael Phelps. Speedo's LZR Racer swimsuit, the go-to piece of equipment for professional swimmers, launched in 2008 and attributes its unique water-dynamic qualities to wind tunnel testing at NASA's Langley Research Center. (Image: Reuters)

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Cell Phone cameras | NASA is directly responsible for the image sensors in nearly every current digital camera. Eric Fossum, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory employee, was the first to utilize CMOS technology in lenses. The purpose was to develop better, cheaper, and more effective cameras for spaceships, but the technology was immediately licenced and distributed over the world by camera firms. (Image: Unsplash)

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Self-driving cars | This technology represents the future of our age, and this is all owed to the Quantum Sciences and Technologies division at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which began in the 1980s. Among its inventions is the evocatively named “whispering gallery mode optical resonator,” a spherical resonator for light waves. The technique had limited practical application until recently, when it was incorporated into GM's LiDAR systems for self-driving cars. (Image: Unsplash)

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Lunar Lander video game | Although Atari's late 1970s arcade game did not use a NASA-developed computer chip, the game's main concept, which is to successfully land a small lander on the rocky surface of the Moon, is based on NASA's Apollo missions. (Image: Youtube)

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LASIK surgery | NASA conducted a series of tests aboard the International Space Station in the mid-2000s to discover how a lack of gravity affects eye movements. The findings aren't applicable to individuals who live on Earth but the eye-tracking equipment created for the trials allows for LASIK vision correction surgery. (Image: Unsplash)

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Better scratch resistant lenses | Ray-Ban obtained a patent for NASA-developed technology for their Survivor sunglass line. NASA pioneered the use of diamond-like carbon to cover sensitive instrument displays, making them 10 times more scratch resistant than earlier approaches. It's a little much for sunglasses, but it's still really awesome. (Image: Unsplash)

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Air traffic control systems | NASA, in collaboration with The Federal Aviation Administration, recently finished development on an enhanced method for controlling ground flights. The Integrated Arrival, Departure, and Surface (IADS) system was implemented this year at 27 of America's busiest airports. (Image: Unsplash)

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Grooved pavement | NASA has made the entire earth a little less slick. According to the space agency,  “accidents on slippery highways are down as much as 85 percent,” and sliding injuries on pool decks, playgrounds, and industrial sites have decreased as well. It is due to NASA's efforts to etch grooves into runways to improve aeroplane traction. (Image: shutterstock)

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Emergency foil blankets | NASA invented the foil blankets included in first-aid kits and distributed at marathon finish lines in 1964. It is manufactured by depositing vaporised aluminium onto thin plastic and is used in campers, sun shields, satellite telescopes, and other applications. It acts as a blanket, reflecting heat back to whoever is covered in it. (Image: Shutterstock)

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Nike Airs | These shoes are the result of two NASA breakthroughs. The tougher rubber moulding of sporting shoes is accomplished by “blow rubber molding,” a technology developed at NASA to manufacture helmets. NASA engineer Frank Rudy developed the shock-absorbing substance utilised in Nike Airs. (Image: Unsplash)

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Better baby formula | NASA scientists identified a natural supply of an omega-3 fatty acid previously exclusively found in breast milk while exploring nutrition plans for a possible journey to Mars. Almost all infant formulae on the market today contain the component. (Image: Unsplash)

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Cordless vacuums | In the 1960s, Black & Decker collaborated with NASA to develop cordless drills, hammers, and other equipment that could be used in low-gravity (or no-gravity) situations. As a consequence, the Dustbuster cordless vacuum was created. (Image: Unsplash)

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