From a solid golf club to a high-quality selfie, some everyday innovations owe their existence to NASA technologies.
NASA published its 2017 edition of “Spinoff” — a profile of 50 commercial technologies originally designed for NASA missions and research.
Since 1976, NASA has published an annual document introducing run-of-the-mill items inspired by NASA innovations.
This year, the objects span everything from public safety to health, NASA laid out a full list of spinoffs.
Here are 7 of the most objects.
1. Crash-Test Cameras
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NASA needed high-speed, rugged cameras to record parachute-testing for its landing systems.
The agency reached out to California-based company Integrated Design Tools (IDT), which built a camera that could record 1,000 frames per second and immediately store the data.
That same technology is used in cameras that record crash tests.
2. Laser Imaging: From Space To Underneath Soil
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NASA uses laser-imaging technology, or LIDAR on missions in outer space. In simple terms, LIDAR measures distances using laser light. It can be used to develop high-resolution maps, among many other things.
NASA helped design smaller versions that are used here on Earth. Archaeologists use them to help unearth artifacts. LIDAR is also used in autonomous-driving technology.
3. From A Screw Threading To Golf Clubs
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It turns out spacecraft design and golf-club engineering have some similarities.
An innovation called the “Spiralock” is an advanced screw-threading designed by the Holmes Tool Company. NASA sought them out because it needed an advanced screw that could withstand the rigors of space launch.
It’s being used in golf clubs, too.
4. Brain Surgery Tools
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Neurosurgeons employ bipolar forceps which use electricity to cut and cauterize tissue. But electricity in the forceps generates extra heat, so you need to safely dissipate that heat and avoid damaging healthy brain tissue.
A company called Thermacore has a solution that NASA had been using since the early days of space flight. Heat pipes. A downsized version was created for bipolar forceps, ensuring the safety and effectiveness of neurosurgery.