We don’t always realise it, but space exploration considerably influences the manufacturing process of items we use in our everyday lives as well as our lifestyle. To show this, NASA has recently created a website listing several examples of this, and here is just some of them.
Sunglasses and ski masks
In the 1980s, scientists at NASA were studying the dangers of light in space as well as the potential risks associated with artificial radiation from welding and working with lasers. Inspired by the vision of some birds, they developed filters that are today being used in sunglasses and ski masks to better protect human eyes.
Sensors in our digital camera and video devices
Technology in CMOS sensors is the result of a collaboration between a team of engineers at JPL (Jet Propulsor Laboratory) at NASA and a team from the University of Caltech in Pasadena at the end of the 60s. This type of high performing sensor that doesn’t drain the battery as quick and isn’t particularly expensive was revolutionary and the CMOS sensor is now being used everywhere and in all our everyday digital devices (GoPros, mobile phones, cameras, webcams, video cameras etc…)
Did you know that wireless vacuums were created from prototypes that would be used to gather up dust on the moon? Wireless headphones were created in the same way using this technology that was used by astronauts like Armstrong to deliver his famous line when he set foot on the moon. This technology was improved over the 70s for pilots to use and was then perfected and opened up to the general public.
Some studies into nanoparticle research carried out at NASA contributed to creating hair styling products and appliances such as some models of hair straighteners. They all rely on a technology that involves reducing the quality of negative ions in your hair in order to style it better and easier.
What started out as research into algae to recycle organic substances during their long space missions turned into NASA discovering a procedure using these same algae that would allow them to develop the famous food powder for babies which is rich in nutrients to help them grow.
Infrared thermometers for your ears
They are used less and less but you may have actually used one before. Developed from some of NASA’s technology, infrared thermometers are now very widely used in paediatrics to take the temperature of infants by placing the thermometer discretely in their eardrum in a quick, non-intrusive way.
From the frame and wires used in tennis rackets to the alloy used in baseball bats and even the alloy in watches, smartphone cases and all sorts of other electronic appliances, there is a lot of metal alloy used in our everyday objects thanks to research carried out at NASA. They designed several materials to meet all sorts of needs linked to taking man to space such as protecting equipment from extreme temperatures, making them lighter or more versatile for example.
More technology to come
The list is still quite long and to understand more about the items on there, NASA has recently created an official website where you can find this spatial technology that makes up our everyday objects. You can also find lots of future technologies that are becoming an increasingly large part of our daily lives recently such as autonomous vehicles like some models of tractors already being used in the United States for example, or even 3D Printing which could be the technology that will be used to build our homes in the very near future.