17 Gadgets We Got Thanks To NASA

tang nasa

Photo: Dylan Love

There’s no argument that NASA works to develop advanced technologies to make space travel easier.But did you know that plenty of NASA technologies have made their way into our daily lives?

Discovery.com has this list, and we added several more.

Dialysis machines

Dialysis machines rely entirely on a chemical process that was developed by NASA.

Memory foam

Originally developed to be used in seat cushions to lessen impact during landing, memory foam now helps people around the world fall asleep more easily.

Computer microchip

The modern microchip is a descendant of the circuits used in the Apollo Guidance Computer.

Invisible braces

Translucent polycrystalline alumina, or TPA, was used to protect the infrared antennae of heat-seeking missile trackers before someone figured out it makes excellent material for invisible braces.

Long-distance telecommunications

It's hardly an overnight innovation, but multiple NASA technologies come together to make long-distance communication possible -- consider the 200-odd communication satellites that are in orbit right now. That's why we're able to call Tokyo from Vegas.

Ear thermometer

Ear thermometers rely upon NASA's method of measuring the temperature of stars with infrared technology. It's how a nurse is able to accurately determine your body temperature in less than two seconds.

Water filters

In an effort to keep water as clean as possible while in space, NASA was the first to use charcoal to filter water. Now this technology is everywhere.

CAT scanner

The CAT scanner was originally used to find imperfections in parts of the spacecraft. Now it's an invaluable diagnostic tool for doctors.

Freeze-dried food

This method of preparing food simultaneously reduces weight and maintains nutritional value, both essential to space travel.

Shoe insoles

Originally conceived for moon boot technology, a shoe company called KangaROOS USA was the first to commercialize the idea of a shoe insole in the 1980s.

Gaming joystick

The first joystick ever used was the one to control the Apollo Lunar Lander.

Adjustable smoke detector

A fire on a space shuttle is just about the worst possible scenario in space. NASA invented the adjustable smoke detector that let you set a sensitivity level as a way to prevent false alarms.


The insulation in your house uses the same reflective material that protects spacecraft from radiation.

Cordless tools

NASA teamed up with Black & Decker to invent battery-powered tools that could be used in outer space to retrieve rock and soil samples. Now we have them around our house.

Safety grooving

Safety grooving is the name given to small canals dug into roads that help divert water off the road to keep the tires firmly fixed to the surface. It was conceived by NASA as a means of helping planes land more safely.

Scratch-resistant lenses

NASA designed scratch-resistant visors for its spacesuits due to all the debris floating around in space. The Foster-Grant sunglasses company recognised an opportunity and licensed the material for use in sunglasses.


To bust a quick myth, NASA didn't invent Tang. It was created by William Mitchell, working for the General Foods Corporation. Sales of the powdered drink formula were poor until John Glenn used it on his Mercury flight and later Gemini missions.

These inventions are used in the present day.

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