NASA Spinoff

Twenty-six years ago, Adam Kissiah delivered a medical wonder to the world that has resulted in restored hearing for thousands of individuals, and allowed thousands of others born deaf to perceive sound for the very first time.

What employee never takes a vacation or a break, never calls in sick, works around the clock 365 days a year, has more than 3 million hours of experience, and is qualified to work in dietary services, radiology and medical record departments, pharmacies, central supply, and laboratories? The answer is a competent, cost-effective robotic courier that enables hospitals to redirect staff to more valuable roles.

Proteins are the chemical building blocks from which all human cells, organs, and tissues are made. They also serve as the hormones, enzymes, and antibodies that help the body fight off invading germs. Determining the structure of a protein enables medical researchers to create pharmaceuticals that will either help or prevent a protein from doing its job. Through a process known as structure-based drug design, researchers use the knowledge of a protein’s structure to develop new drugs to treat a variety of diseases. The predominate method of determining a protein’s structure is by X-ray crystallography, which involves growing protein crystals and exposing them to an X-ray beam to determine their atomic structure.

From “man’s best friend” to the exotic mammals and reptiles that grace the grounds of a zoo, recent improvements in wellness and prevention care are leading to longer and healthier lives for animals, as well as fewer trips to the veterinary office.

Many people are familiar with the popular science fiction series Star Trek: The Next Generation, a show featuring a blind character named Geordi La Forge, whose visor-like glasses enable him to see. What many people do not know is that a product very similar to Geordi’s glasses is available to assist people with vision conditions, and a NASA engineer’s expertise contributed to its development.

A new rehabilitative device promises to improve physical therapy for patients working to regain the ability to walk after facing traumatic injuries or a degenerative illness. Produced by Enduro Medical Technology, of East Hartford, Connecticut, the Secure Ambulation Module (S.A.M.) creates a stable and secure environment for patients as they stand during ambulation therapy.

Although dubbed “Little Joe” for its small-format characteristics, a new wavefront sensor camera has proved that it is far from coming up short when paired with high-speed, low-noise applications. SciMeasure Analytical Systems, Inc., a provider of cameras and imaging accessories for use in biomedical research and industrial inspection and quality control, is the eye behind Little Joe’s shutter, manufacturing and selling the modular, multi-purpose camera worldwide to advance fields such as astronomy, neurobiology, and cardiology. In astronomy, Little Joe is used as a wave sensor to eliminate aberrations triggered by wavefront distortions that are known to plague this field with image degradation. Little Joe is also capable of correcting wavefront distortions in medical imaging applications—such as measuring distortions in the human eye—but its high frame rate, high quantum efficiency, and low readnoise properties are really what make the technology an elite member of its camera class. In turn, these properties allow Little Joe to visualize high speed phenomena by optimizing signal-to-noise ratio in light-limited conditions

Each year, health care costs for managing chronically ill patients increase as the life expectancy of Americans continues to grow. To handle this situation, many hospitals, doctors’ practices, and home care providers are turning to disease management, a system of coordinated health care interventions and communications, to improve outpatient care. By participating in daily monitoring programs, patients with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions requiring significant self-care are facing fewer emergency situations and hospitalizations.

NASA Technology

The space shuttle engines changed drastically from the drawing board to the launch pad. The engine—and each of its intricate parts—required extensive testing and modification before launch. Even in the final moments before use, NASA continuously monitored and measured their performance to ensure fail proof operation.

NASA Technology

At an altitude of about 240 miles, its orbital path carries it over 90 percent of the Earth’s population. It circles the Earth in continuous free fall; its crew of six and one Robonaut pass the days—experiencing 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets every 24 hours—in microgravity, an environment in which everything from bodily functions to the physical behavior of materials changes drastically from what is common on the ground. Outside its shielded confines, temperatures cycle from one extreme to the other, radiation is rampant, and atomic oxygen corrodes everything it touches.


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