NASA Spinoff

Infobox Magazine


image_size = 160px
image_caption = "Spinoff" 's 2007 cover
title = Spinoff
category = Science
frequency = Annual
publisher = National Aeronautics and Space Administration
firstdate = 1976
country = USA
language = English
website = [http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/ NASA's "Spinoff"]
isbn = 978-0-16-079740-8
A NASA spinoff is a technology that has been commercialized through NASA funding, research, licensing, facilities, or assistance.

NASA spinoff technologies

For more than 40 years, the NASA Innovative Partnerships Program has connected NASA resources to private industry, referring to the commercial products as spinoffs. Well-known spinoffs include memory foam (also known as temper foam), freeze-dried food, firefighting equipment, emergency "space blankets", Dustbusters, cochlear implants, and now Speedo's LZR Racer swimsuits. There are over 1650 other spinoffs in the fields of computer technology, environment and agriculture, health and medicine, public safety, transportation, recreation, and industrial productivity. Contrary to common belief, NASA did not invent Tang, Velcro, or Teflon. [http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/spinfaq.htm#spinfaq12] (For more, see the Wikipedia entries for Tang, Velcro, and Teflon.)

In 2008, NASA unveiled an interactive Web feature, "NASA City and NASA Home", [http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/nasacity/index.htm] which illustrates how space research affects ordinary life.

Twenty-five NASA spinoffs


* Health and Medicine

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) (2005)

Infrared Ear Thermometers (1991)

DeBakey's Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) (2002)

Artificial Limbs (2005)

Transportation

Aircraft Anti-Icing Systems (2007)

Highway Safety Grooving (1985)

Improved Radial Tires (1976)

Chemical Detection (2007)

Public Safety

Video Enhancing and Analysis Systems (2001)

Land Mine Removal (2000)

Fire-Resistant Reinforcement (2006)

Firefighting Equipment (1976 onwards)

Consumer, Home, and Recreation

Temper Foam (1976-2005)

Enriched Baby Food (1996, 2008)

Portable Cordless Vacuums (1981)

Freeze Drying Technology (1976, 1994)

Environmental and Agricultural Resources

Water Purification (1995, 2006)

Solar Energy (2005)

Pollution Remediation (1994, 2006)

Computer Technology

Better Virtual Software (2005)

Structural Analysis (1976-1998)

Internet-Connected Ovens (2005)

Industrial Productivity

Powdered Lubricants (2005)

Improved Mine Safety (1978-2008)

Food Safety Systems (1991)

Health and medicine

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

The LED technology used in NASA space shuttle plant growth experiments has contributed to the development of medical devices such as WARP 10, a hand-held, high-intensity, LED unit developed by Quantum Devices Inc. The WARP 10 is intended for the temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain, arthritis, stiffness, and muscle spasms, and also promotes muscle relaxation and increases local blood circulation. The WARP 10 is being used by the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Navy as a noninvasive “soldier self-care” device for minor injuries and pain. The next-generation WARP 75 has been used to relieve pain in bone marrow transplant patients, and will be used to combat the symptoms of bone atrophy, multiple sclerosis, diabetic complications, Parkinson’s disease, and in a variety of ocular applications. cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 2005
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/Spinoff2005/index.html
isbn = 0-16-075266-3
] rp|10-11

Infrared Ear Thermometers

Diatek Corporation and NASA developed an aural thermometer, which weighs 8 ounces and uses infrared astronomy technology to measure the amount of energy emitted by the eardrum, the same way the temperature of stars and planets is measured. This method avoids contact with mucous membranes, and permits rapid temperature measurement of newborn, critically-ill, or incapacitated patients. NASA supported the Diatek Corporation through the Technology Affiliates Program.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1991
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1991.pdf
isbn =
] rp|00-00

Ventricular Assist Device

Collaboration between NASA, Dr. Michael DeBakey, Dr. George Noon, and MicroMed Technology Inc. resulted in a heart pump for patients awaiting heart transplants. The MicroMed DeBakey ventricular assist device (VAD) functions as a “bridge to heart transplant” by pumping blood until a donor heart is available. Weighing less than 4 ounces and measuring 1 by 3 inches, the pump is approximately one-tenth the size of other currently marketed pulsatile VADs. Because of the pump’s small size, less than 5 percent of the patients implanted developed device-related infections. It can operate up to 8 hours on batteries, giving patients the mobility to do normal, everyday activities.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 2002
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/spinoff2002/index.html
isbn = 0-16-077275-3
] rp|00-00

Artificial Limbs

Advancements such as Environmental Robots Inc.’s development of artificial muscle systemscite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 2004
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/Spinoff2004/index.html
isbn =
] with robotic sensing and actuation capabilities for use in NASA space robotic and extravehicular activities are being adapted to create more functionally dynamic artificial limbs. Additionally, other private-sector adaptations of NASA’s temper foam technology have brought about custom-moldable materials offering the natural look and feel of flesh, as well as preventing friction between the skin and the prosthesis, and heat/moisture buildup.rp|46-49

Transportation

Aircraft Anti-Icing Systems

NASA funding under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and work with NASA scientists advanced the development of a thermoelectric deicing system called Thermawing, a DC-powered air conditioner for single-engine aircraft called Thermacool, and high-output alternators to run them both. Thermawing allows pilots to safely fly through ice encounters and provides pilots of single-engine aircraft the heated wing technology usually reserved for larger, jet-powered craft. Thermacool, an innovative electric air conditioning system, uses a new compressor whose rotary pump design runs off an energy-efficient, brushless DC motor and allows pilots to use the air conditioner before the engine starts.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 2007
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/Spinoff2007/index.html
isbn =
] rp|00-00

Highway Safety

Safety grooving, the cutting of grooves in concrete to increase traction and prevent injury, was first developed to reduce aircraft accidents on wet runways. Represented by the International Grooving and Grinding Association, the industry expanded into highway and pedestrian applications. The technique originated at Langley Research Center, which assisted in testing the grooving at airports and on highways. Skidding was reduced, stopping distance decreased, and a vehicle’s cornering ability on curves was increased. The process has been extended to animal holding pens, steps, parking lots, and other potentially slippery surfaces.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1985
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1985.pdf
isbn =
] rp|00-00

Improved Radial Tires

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company developed a fibrous material, five times stronger than steel, for NASA to use in parachute shrouds to soft-land the Vikings on the Martian surface. The fiber’s chain-like molecular structure gave it incredible strength in proportion to its weight. Recognizing the increased strength and durability of the material, Goodyear expanded the technology and went on to produce a new radial tire with a tread life expected to be 10,000 miles greater than conventional radials.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1976
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1976.pdf
isbn =
] rp|00-00

Chemical Detection

NASA contracted with Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) to develop moisture- and pH-sensitive sensors to warn of potentially dangerous corrosive conditions in aircraft before significant structural damage occurs. This new type of sensor, using a specially manufactured optical fiber whose entire length is chemically sensitive, changes color in response to contact with its target. After completing the work with NASA, IOS was tasked by the U.S. Department of Defense to further develop the sensors for detecting chemical warfare agents and potential threats, such as toxic industrial compounds and nerve agents, for which they proved just as successful. IOS has additionally sold the chemically sensitive fiber optic cables to major automotive and aerospace companies, who are finding a variety of uses for the devices such as aiding experimentation with nontraditional power sources, and as an economical “alarm system” for detecting chemical release in large facilities.rp|00-00

Public safety

Video Enhancing and Analysis Systems

Intergraph Government Solutions developed its Video Analyst System (VAS) by building on Video Image Stabilization and Registration (VISAR) technology created by NASA to help FBI agents analyze video footage. Originally used for enhancing video images from nighttime videotapes made with hand-held camcorders, VAS is a tool for video enhancement and analysis offering support of full-resolution digital video, stabilization, frame-by-frame analysis, conversion of analog video to digital storage formats, and increased visibility of filmed subjects without altering underlying footage. Aside from law enforcement and security applications, VAS has also been adapted to serve the military for reconnaissance, weapons deployment, damage assessment, training, and mission debriefing.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 2001
url=http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/spinoff2001/index.html
isbn =
] rp|00-00

Land Mine Removal

Thiokol Propulsion uses surplus rocket fuel from NASA to produce a flare, the Demining Device, that can safely destroy land mines and help NASA reduce propellant waste. The Demining Device flare uses a battery-triggered electric match to ignite and neutralize land mines; it uses solid rocket fuel to burn a hole in the mine’s case and burn away the explosive contents so the mine can be disarmed without hazard.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 2000
url=http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/spinoff2000/index.htm
isbn =
] rp|00-00

Fire-Resistant Reinforcement

Built and designed by Avco Corporation, the Apollo heat shield was coated with a material whose purpose was to burn and thus dissipate energy during reentry while charring, to form a protective coating to block heat penetration. NASA subsequently funded Avco’s development of other applications of the heat shield, such as fire-retardant paints and foams for aircraft, which led to intumescent epoxy material, which expands in volume when exposed to heat or flames, acting as an insulating barrier and dissipating heat through burn-off. Further innovations include steel coatings devised to make high-rise buildings and public structures safer by swelling to provide a tough and stable insulating layer over the steel for up to 4 hours of fire protection, ultimately to slow building collapse and provide more time for escape.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 2006
url=http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/Spinoff2006/index.html
isbn =
] rp|00-00

Firefighting Equipment

Firefighting equipment in the United States is based on lightweight materials developed for the U.S. Space Program. NASA and the National Bureau of Standards created a lightweight breathing system including face mask, frame, harness, and air bottle, using an aluminum composite material developed by NASA for use on rocket casings. The broadest fire-related technology transfer is the breathing apparatus for protection from smoke inhalation injury. Additionally, NASA’s inductorless electronic circuit technology led to lower-cost, more rugged, short-range two-way radio now used by firefighters. NASA also helped develop a specialized mask weighing less than 3 ounces to protect the physically impaired from injuries to the face and head, as well as flexible, heat-resistant materials—developed to protect the space shuttle on reentry—which are being used both by the military and commercially in suits for municipal and aircraft-rescue firefighters.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1978
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1978.pdf
isbn =
] rp|00-00cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1981
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1981.pdf
isbn =
] rp|00-00cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1982
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1982.pdf
isbn =
] rp|00-00rp|00-00

Consumer, home, and recreation

Temper Foam

As the result of a program designed to develop a padding concept to improve crash protection for airplane passengers, Ames Research Center developed a foam material with unusual properties. Memory foam, or "Temper Foam", has been incorporated into a host of widely used and recognized products including mattresses, pillows, military and civilian aircraft, automobiles and motorcycles, sports safety equipment, amusement park rides and arenas, horseback saddles, archery targets, furniture, and human and animal prostheses. Its high-energy absorption and soft characteristics offer protection and comfort. Today, temper foam is being employed by NASCAR to provide added safety in racecars.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1977
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1977.pdf
isbn =
] cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1979
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1979.pdf
isbn =
] cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1988
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1988.pdf
isbn =
] rp|46-49

Enriched Baby Food

Commercially available infant formulas now contain a nutritional enrichment ingredient that traces its existence to NASA-sponsored research on algae as a recycling agent for long-duration space travel. The substance, formulated into the products life’sDHA and life’sARA and based on microalgae, can be found in over 90 percent of the infant formulas sold in the United States, and are added to infant formulas in over 65 other countries. Martek Biosciences Corporation's founders and principal scientists acquired their expertise in this area while working on the NASA program.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1996
url=http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/spinoff1996/index.html
isbn =
]

Portable Cordless Vacuums

For the Apollo space mission, NASA required a portable, self-contained drill capable of extracting core samples from below the lunar surface. Black & Decker was tasked with the job, and developed a computer program to optimize the design of the drill’s motor and insure minimal power consumption. That computer program led to the development of a cordless miniature vacuum cleaner called the Dustbuster.

Freeze Drying Technology

In planning for the long-duration Apollo missions, NASA conducted extensive research into space food. One of the techniques developed was freeze drying. Action Products commercialized this technique, concentrating on snack food. The foods are cooked, quickly frozen, and then slowly heated in a vacuum chamber to remove the ice crystals formed by the freezing process. The final product retains 98 percent of its nutrition and weighs only 20 percent of its original weight. Today, one of the benefits of this advancement in food preparation includes simple nutritious meals available to handicapped and otherwise homebound senior adults unable to take advantage of existing meal programs.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1994
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1994.pdf
isbn =
]

Environmental and agricultural resources

Water Purification

NASA engineers are collaborating with qualified companies to develop a complex system of devices intended to sustain the astronauts living on the International Space Station and future,Moon missions. This system makes use of available resources by turning wastewater from respiration, sweat, and urine into drinkable water. Commercially, this system is benefiting people all over the world who need affordable, clean water, especially in remote locations. By combining the benefits of chemical adsorption, ion exchange, and ultra-filtration processes, products using this technology yield safe, drinkable water from the most challenging sources, such as in underdeveloped regions where well water may be heavily contaminated.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1995
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1995.pdf
isbn =
]

olar Energy

Homes across the country are now being outfitted with high-performance single crystal silicon solar power cells that allow them to reduce their traditional energy expenditures and reduce pollution. The advanced technology behind these solar devices—which provide up to 50 percent more power than conventional solar cells—originated with the efforts of a NASA-sponsored 28-member coalition forming the Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) Alliance. ERAST’s goal was to develop remotely piloted aircraft, intended to fly unmanned at high altitudes for days at a time and requiring advanced solar power sources that did not add weight. As a result, SunPower Corporation created advanced silicon-based cells for terrestrial or airborne applications. rp|66-57

Pollution Remediation

A product using NASA’s microencapsulating technology safely cleans petroleum-based pollutants from water. The microencapsulated Petroleum Remediation Product or “PRP" uses thousands of microcapsules—tiny balls of beeswax with hollow centers. Water cannot penetrate the microcapsule’s cell, but oil is absorbed into the beeswax spheres as they float on the water’s surface. Contaminating chemical compounds that originally come from crude oil (such as fuels, motor oils, or petroleum hydrocarbons) are caught before they settle, limiting damage to ocean beds.

Computer technology

Virtual reality research

NASA is collaborating with Google Inc. to solve a variety of challenging technical problems ranging from large-scale data management and massively distributed computing, to human-computer interfaces—with the ultimate goal of making the ocean of data more accessible and usable. NASA continues to fund and collaborate on other software advancement initiatives benefiting such areas as photo/video image enhancement, virtual-reality/design, simulation training, and medical applications.

tructural analysis software

NASA software engineers have created thousands of computer programs over the decades equipped to design, test, and analyze stress, vibration, and acoustical properties of a broad assortment of aerospace parts and structures. The NASA Structural Analysis Program, or NASTRAN, is considered one of the most successful and widely-used NASA software programs. It has been used to design everything from Cadillacs to roller coaster rides. Originally created for spacecraft design, NASTRAN has been employed in a host of non-aerospace applications and is available to industry through NASA’s Computer Software Management and Information Center (COSMIC). COSMIC maintains a library of computer programs from NASA and other government agencies and sells them at a fraction of the cost of developing a new program.cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1980
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1980.pdf
isbn =
] *cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1986
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1986.pdf
isbn =
] *cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1990
url = http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1990.pdf
isbn =
] cite book
author = NASA
title = Spinoff
place = Washington, DC
publisher = U.S. Government Printing Office
year = 1998
url=http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/spinoff1998/index.html
isbn =
]

Remotely controlled ovens

Embedded Web Technology (EWT) software—originally developed by NASA for use by astronauts operating experiments on the International Space Station—lets a user monitor and/or control a device remotely over the Internet. NASA supplied this technology and guidance to TMIO LLC, which developed remote control and monitoring of a new intelligent oven product named “ConnectIo.” With combined cooling and heating capabilities, ConnectIo refrigerates food until a customized pre-programmable cooking cycle begins. The menu allows the user to simply enter the dinner time, and the oven automatically switches from refrigeration to the cooking cycle, so that the meal will be ready as the family arrives home for dinner.

Industrial productivity

Powdered Lubricants

thumbnail|right">
Oil-free coating PS300 (on these bushings) was created by Adma with NASA resources.
NASA developed a solid lubricant coating, PS300, which is deposited by thermal spraying to protect foil air bearings. PS300 improves efficiency, lowers friction, reduces emissions, and has been used by NASA in advanced aeropropulsion engines, refrigeration compressors, turbochargers, and hybrid electrical turbogenerators. ADMA Products has found widespread industrial applications for the material.

Improved Mine Safety

An ultrasonic bolt elongation monitor developed by a NASA scientist for testing tension and high-pressure loads on bolts and fasteners has continued to evolve over the past three decades. Today, the same scientist and Luna Innovations are using a digital adaptation of this same device for a plethora of different applications, including non-destructive evaluation of railroad ties, groundwater analysis, radiation dosimetry, and as a medical testing device to assess levels of internal swelling and pressure for patients suffering from intracranial pressure and compartment syndrome, a painful condition that results when pressure within muscles builds to dangerous levels. The applications for this device continue to expand. [http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1978.pdf "Spinoff" 1978] ]

Food Safety

Faced with the problem of how and what to feed an astronaut in a sealed capsule under weightless conditions while planning for human space flight, NASA enlisted the aid of The Pillsbury Company to address two principal concerns: eliminating crumbs of food that might contaminate the spacecraft’s atmosphere and sensitive instruments, and assuring absolute freedom from potentially catastrophic disease-producing bacteria and toxins. Pillsbury developed the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) concept, potentially one of the most far-reaching space spinoffs, to address NASA’s second concern. HACCP is designed to prevent food safety problems rather than to catch them after they have occurred. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has applied HACCP guidelines for the handling of seafood, juice, and dairy products.

History of the "Spinoff" publication

"Spinoff" is a NASA publication featuring technology made available to the public. Since 1976, NASA has featured an average of 50 technologies each year in the annual publication, and "Spinoff" maintains a searchable database of these technologies. When products first spun off from space research, NASA presented a black and white report in 1973, titled the "Technology Utilization Program Report." Because of interest in the reports, NASA decided from then on to create the annual publications in color. "Spinoff" was first published in 1976, [http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives/1976.pdf] and since then, NASA has distributed free copies to universities, the media, inventors, and the general public. "Spinoff" describes how NASA works with various industries and small businesses to bring new technology to the public. As of 2008, there were over 1600 "Spinoff" products in the database, dating back to 1976.

See also

* NASA for information on NASA in general.
* NASA STI Program for NASA's Science and Technical Information program.
* NASA Tech Briefs for NASA innovations that are not necessarily commercial yet.
* NASA Edge for the NASA TV show and podcast describing NASA's work and connections to the public.
* spin-off for other uses of the spin-off concept, including media and corporate meanings.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.ip.nasa.gov/index.htm NASA - Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP)]
* [http://www.sti.nasa.gov/STI-public-homepage.html NASA STI Program Home Page]
* [http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/ NASA "Spinoff" homepage] (include links to Back Issues from 1996)
** [http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/back_issues_archives.html NASA "Spinoff" Back Issues Archive (1976–1995)]
** [http://www.sti.nasa.gov/spinoff/database NASA Spinoff Database]


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