Catalyst for Advancement: 2010 Edition
Back in November of 2009 I posted the article “Catalyst for Advancement” here on this blog, which featured the 2009 spinoff technology release report for NASA. In it, I made the case for the down-to-Earth spinoff benefits of NASA funding and projects that benefit those countries that pursue space programs.
Well, last week NASA released its Spinoff Technology Report for 2010.
OK, put together the following line of logic…
- By its very nature, space exploration creates a whole different set of challenges.
- Necessity is the mother of invention.
- Normally, inventions require an immediate consumer market in order to get much attention and funding from industry.
- Competing industries often buy up the patents for new ideas and hide them in a file drawer somewhere.
So…NASA spinoffs often work like this:
- Something is being done a certain way.
- NASA needs to do it different to get it to work in space.
- NASA and industry partners use NASA funding to invent and develop a new approach.
- Once developed, the new approach turns out to have cool, far-reaching Earth-bound permutations that nobody likely would have thought of or developed otherwise.
- These basic innovations often produce new advances and industries with such a broad range of applications that using the new technology is more profitable than shelving it.
Read and click-through this shortlist of the stuff they came up with this year:
- Burnishing techniques strengthen hip implants.
- Signal Processing Methods Monitor Cranial Pressure.
- Ultraviolet-Blocking Lenses Protect, Enhance Vision
- Hyperspectral Systems Increase Imaging Capabilities
- Inflatable Antennas Support Emergency Communication
- Image Sensors Enhance Camera Technologies
BTW, this a really short list—a fraction of the spinoffs for 2010 alone. Now, some of these titles may seem a bit geeky (that’s why you didn’t see them on the news) but click and read anyway. You may have already benefitted from one or more of these new technologies this year in some way or other.
The fact is, NASA spinoff innovations cost far less per dollar of benefit than anything else that government does, and they stem from NASA’s meager funding. They keep the United States ahead of other countries with less active space programs and promote high-paying tech-related employment within the U.S.
Not convinced? Read on.
Spinoff 2010 Report links (PPT and PDF files)—>http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/Spinoff2010/
NASA @ Home and City Interactive—>http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/nasacity/index2.htm
NASA’s Searchable Spinoff Database—>http://www.sti.nasa.gov/spinoff/database
NASA Spinoff Facebook Page—>http://www.facebook.com/nasainyourlife
NASA Spinoff Twitter Page—>http://twitter.com/NASA_Spinoff
NASA Spinoff 2010 Press Release—>http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/dec/HQ_10-347_Spinoff_2010.html
So the next time someone tells you that space exploration has no down-to-Earth benefits, point to their sunglasses, or their shoes, or their cell phone, or their glass of water, or their…
- NASA Spin Offs for 2010 (lockergnome.com)
- 500 Million in Tax Dollars to Be Spent on Cancelled Rocket (lockergnome.com)
- NASA Strategic Plan 2011 (leadingspace.wordpress.com)
- Keith Cowing talks famous NASA hacks at Maker Faire (makezine.com)
- NASA Green Flight Challenge proposes ‘pocket airports,’ invites you to fly ’em all (engadget.com)