To explore space and make the everyday life of astronauts more comfortable, scientists come up with various things – from compact photo cameras to comfortable chair cushions. Thanks to these technologies, different gadgets become user-friendly. Some of these discoveries translate into real life on Earth and then come in handy for us.
Smartphone With a Camera
A CMOS sensor reads an image inside a camera. NASA used it for space photography in 1993. Photos from space have been taken before, but with CCD sensors. The key difference between a CMOS and a CCD is in the principle of signal transfer: whereas previously each light-sensitive pixel had to be charged by a common circuit board, the new sensors have each pixel working independently with its own amplifier. The new development made sensors faster and more energy-efficient, the images better, and the cameras more compact. In the 2000s, the development entered the consumer market and became as user-friendly as slots at Woo Casino
An air purifier that NASA developed in the 1990s to grow plants on spaceships. The goal was to clean the air of ethylene. The filter used titanium oxide and ultraviolet light to convert ethylene, harmful to plants, into harmless water and carbon dioxide. The technology was soon adapted for household purifiers.
The technology can be seen in air purifiers with a photocatalytic filter that breaks down toxic organic compounds. It’s usually combined with a carbon filter, which filters odors, and a HEPA filter to remove fine dust.
Embedded Web Technology is a system that allows astronauts to control experiments from anywhere on the ISS using the Internet – even if they are in another part of the station.
In 1994, NASA shared the technology with one of its partners, David Mansbury, who came up with the idea for the Connect IO remote oven. The idea was that the oven would turn on and off even if you weren’t at home, and you didn’t have to waste time and wait for food. The oven hit the market in the early 2000s, and the idea of using the Internet to control devices was picked up by many brands by the late 2010s.
If you want a touch of space invention, buy a smart outlet. It will remotely power on and off the device that’s on, monitor power consumption, and keep it running on a schedule. But to do this, the device must turn on immediately when the power comes on.
A compact wireless headset – with headphones, a headband, and a miniature microphone on the earpiece. Into such a microphone in the 1960s Neil Armstrong uttered that very quote about “a small step for man and a great leap for mankind.” In the 1970s, the headset entered the markets – pilots got it, and then the call center staff started using such devices.
Light-sensitive batteries to get electricity from sunlight. The technology appeared long before space exploration, but it was first used on a large scale in the 1950s: solar panels were installed on satellites, so that together with traditional batteries they supported power for onboard equipment.
This technology is used in a variety of applications and devices, from green roofs to your calculator. The power in calculators is often combined: a solar panel supplies energy to the device along with a conventional battery.
The infrared thermometer is a non-contact human thermometer that Diatek developed with the support of NASA. The first Diatek Model 7000 appeared in 1991 – it was similar to today’s, but it only measured temperature in the auricle. Before that, the temperature was measured with contact thermometers.
Today, non-contact thermometers such as the B.Well WF-1000 use this technology, which is placed in the auricle or placed on the temples or forehead.
Vacuum Cleaner for the Car
A portable device to retrieve lunar rock samples that NASA developed with tool and appliance maker Black & Decker. The company liked making compact devices so much that it soon introduced another novelty – a device with the functions of a bush trimmer, a drill, and a vacuum cleaner. However, the thing turned out to be meaningless – only the hand-held vacuum cleaner, which was patented under the brand name Dustbuster, caught on.
The technology is used in car vacuum cleaners. The device is charged from the cigarette lighter and easily copes with dust and grass in the cabin.