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05 March 2010

10 Inventions Of NASA Used Every Day

1. Invisible Braces. Many t eenagers cringe at the prospect of braces. Getting one's teeth in order used to mean enduring a mouth full of metal, but not so anymore. Invisible braces hit the market in 1987, and now there are multiple brands.

2. Scratch-resistant Lenses. If you drop a pair of eyeglasses on the ground, the lenses probably won't break. That's because in 1972, the Food and Drug Administration began requiring manufacturers to use plastic rather than glass to make lenses.

3. Memory Foam. NASA helps some people sleep better at night. Temper foam found in Tempurpedic brand mattresses and similar brands was originally developed for space flight and later repackaged for the home.

4. Ear Thermometer. Taking y our temperature when sick can be tricky business. A standard mercury thermometer can prove difficult to read, and a rectal one is just plain uncomfortable. In 1991, infrared thermometers that you place into your ears took the work out of it, simplifying and speeding up the process.

5. Shoe Insoles. Wh en Neil Armstrong famously spoke of "one giant leap for mankind," he probably didn't foresee the literal connotation it would come to have. Today's athletic shoes have borrowed the technology of the moon boots that first took that leap.

6. Long-distance Telecommunications. The ability to carry on long - distance telephone conversations did not happen overnight. It doesn't link back to one specific NASA invention - improved telecommunication took place over decades of work.

7. Adjustable Smoke Detector. Where there's smoke, there's fire. NASA engineers knew that simple fact when they were designing Skylab in the 1970s. Skylab was the first U.S. space station, and the astronauts would need to know if a fire had started or if noxious gases were loose in the vehicle.

8. Safety Grooving. Carving a gro ove into concrete may not sound like much of an innovation, but it certainly keeps us safe on the roads.

9. Cordless Tools. When you're sucking up bits of dirt or crumbs around the house with a handheld cordless vacuum, you are actually using the same technology that astronauts used on the moon. Although Black & Decker had already invented the first battery-powered tools in 1961 [source: NASA], the NASA-related research helped refine the technology that led to lightweight, cordless medical instruments, hand-held vacuum cleaners and other tools.

10. Water Filters. Astronauts needed a way to cleanse water they take up into space, since bacteria and sickness would be highly problematic. Water filter technology had existed since the early 1950s, but NASA wanted to know how to clean water in more extreme situations and keep it clean for longer periods of time.


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