NASA Spinoff

ARTIFICIAL MUSCLE KITS FOR THE CLASSROOM

Commonly referred to as artificial muscles, electroactive polymer (EAP) materials are lightweight strips of highly flexible plastic that bend or stretch when subjected to electric voltage. EAP materials may prove to be a substitution for conventional actuation components such as motors and gears. Since the materials behave similarly to biological

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A NATURAL WAY TO STAY SWEET

A revolutionary, low-calorie sugar is now available to the food and beverage market, offering an all-natural alternative to table sugar and artificial sweeteners. Tagatose, a sugar that appears in nature in small quantities, began its unusual journey to the commercial market nearly 30 years ago, when Dr. Gilbert V. Levin

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DAMPING GOES THE DISTANCE IN GOLF

In the late 1980s, Dr. Benjamin Dolgin of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a concept for a high-damping graphite/viscoelastic material for the Strategic Defense Initiative (popularly referred to as Star Wars), as part of a space-based laser anti-missile program called Asterix. Dolgin drummed up this concept with the intention of

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HOT AND COLD THERAPY EASES PAIN

In the 1960s, NASA civil servant Tom Hughes worked for Marshall Space Flight Center's Quality Control Laboratory as a systems engineer. Reporting directly to Dr. Wernher von Braun, Marshall's first director, Hughes was assigned as a NASA representative for quality control at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana,

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COVERED IN COMFORT

In 1988, NASA began working with private industry to develop thermally adaptive phase-change materials that could be applied to astronauts suits and gloves for better protection against the bitter cold and scorching heat encountered in space.

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Inertial Motion-Tracking Technology for Virtual 3-D

In the 1990s, NASA pioneered virtual reality research. The concept was present long before, but, prior to this, the technology did not exist to make a viable virtual reality system. Scientists had theories and ideas they knew that the concept had potential but the computers of the 1970s and 1980s

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Crystal-Clear Communication a Sweet-Sounding Success

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. On July 20, 1969, millions were glued to their television sets when NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong offered these famous words via live broadcast, upon becoming the first man to ever step foot on the Moon.

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NASA, the Fisherman's Friend

Every angler has his secrets, whether it be an old family recipe for stink bait, a midnight worm-hunting ritual, or the most coveted of all, the no-fail fishing hole. Most of these secrets are lore and legend, passed through generations, and coveted more than the family's best tableware. Each of

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Experiments With Small Animals Rarely Go This Well

In the mid-1950s, a young U.S. Air Force engineer named Clark Beck began work with what is now one of NASA's most prolific spinoffs, the radiant barrier technology. Beck's work involved creating materials that could withstand the immense heat created by passage through the Earth's atmosphere. He was working on

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Forty-Year-Old Foam Springs Back With New Benefits

The most recognized and widely used NASA spinoff is at it again. Temper foam, whose origins date back to 1966 when it was developed to absorb shock and, thus, offer improved protection and comfort in NASA's airplane seats, has paid its dividends to Earth repeatedly, and in many different ways.

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