Tech that fell from outer space

Space age gadgets that have become household tech names: T3 unveils the best gadgets that fell from outer space

For so long man has sought to reach beyond the stars, and in that summer of '69 we finally made that iconic step onto that hallowed moon surface. While it may have taken many a botched attempt to get there, by no means were those scheduled trips wasted ones.

 

As NASA continues to trial everything literally under the sun to explore more of the unknown, they have managed to stumble across a host of tech that now features in more familiar surroundings back here on Earth.

 

AeroPonics Accelerated Indoor Garden Gadget

Getting green fingers without leaving the confines of your living room can now be achieved courtesy of this indoor garden gadget. In-house veg growing was made possible after NASA teamed up with AgriHouse Inc back in 1997 to develop an aeroponic experiment for use on the Mir space station.

As a result, we now have a place to grow plants suspended in the air without the need for soil. As well as reducing water usage by 98 percent, the chances of spreading plant disease and infections commonly found in soil are removed leaving you free to start cultivating your batch of of cherry tomatoes.

 

Air cushioned trainers

Taking space helmet tech and turning it into added trainer comfort, back in the early 1980s former NASA engineer Frank Rudy helped conceive the first concept of the trainer that offered cushioning that would never go away.

Visualising a pair of kicks with hollow soles filled with shock-absorbing material to cushion the impact of running, Rudy's vision eventually led to the very first pair of Nike Air trainers.

 

Alter G 'Anti-gravity' treadmill

Far from a novelty fitness item you find advertised on television in the early hours of the morning the 'anti gravity' treadmill was designed with a unique pressure regulation that reduces any kind of gravitational pull on your muscles and tendons. Helping to reduce body weight from 0% to 80%, it has been noted for its rehabilitation benefits for athletes recovering from injuries.

A certain Paula Radcliffe sought out the NASA inspired "anti-gravity" treadmill in her bid to make it to the Beijing Olympics while US BMX Olympic bronze medalist Jill Kintner was back on her bike within six weeks whilst using the Alter G as part of her fitness regime.

 

Faster Formula 1 cars

When you need to make things a little faster what better way than to seek help from those who make the speediest thing to shoot into the sky? Carbon fibre, successfully used in the nose cone of the Space Shuttle, also saw its light and resistant properties inside the innards of Formula 1 racing cars. It can now also be seen in everything from laptops to tennis rackets.

 

Fogless ski glasses

Helping you to see things all that more clearly, anti-fog coating developed at the Johnson Space centre to help keep spacecraft windows clear before launch, can now be seen on deep-sea diving masks, fire protection helmets and everywhere else where a clearer vision is paramount.

The basic mix of the coating that is applied to the glass or plastic surface includes a liquid detergent, deionized water and an oxygen-compatible, fire-resistant oil.

 

Golf ball

Golf more than any other sport perhaps has a lot to thank space exploration for in raising the game and indeed the ball even higher into the air. Leading manufacturer Wilson has applied similar technology used to test the aerodynamics of the Space Shuttle's external fuel tanks.

Having thoroughly played around with the amount of dimples now featured on a golf ball, Wilson claims to make that ball fly with Happy Gilmore-like distance.

 

Hand-held vacuum cleaner

Black and Decker began their venture into space in the 60's, but it wasn't until 1971 when they made their dusbusting mark. Tasked with developing a self-contained portable drill used for extracting core sample below the lunar surfaces during the Apollo Moon Landings, the computer programme designed to carry out the job eventually led to the company laying birth to the battery-powered portable cleaner which now sucks up the crumbs infested around your computer.

 

Hang gliders

NASA's contribution to one of the original extreme sporting pastimes is an unprecedented one having formed the model for the more streamlined hang gliders we see floating around the skies today.

As NASA began testing various forms of wing to be used as a steerable recovery parachute for their Gemini space capsules, the wings' simplistic design, ease of construction, and the ability for slow flight was also seen as the perfect model for gliding enthusiasts everywhere.

 

Hydraulic cutters

In a telling contribution to a more serious part of everyday life, this cutting-edge technology in its most literal sense took inspiration from the power cartridges first used on the Space Shuttle.

Incorporating NASA pyrotechnical separation technology, the new hydraulic cutters used to free accident victims from wreckages, reduced the overall weight of previous life-saving equipment by 50 percent while reducing its cost by 70 percent.

 

LZR racer swimsuits

Translating space speed into the swimming pools of professional athletes, the iconic swimsuit was born after SpeedoUSA sought the help from NASA to help design a swimsuit that eliminated drag in the water.

One of NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate focuses was to examine the forces of vicious drag, a problem commonly associate with bodies moving through water. NASA's wind tunnel results helped Speedo to create the full body suit with ultrasonically wielded seams, that reduces drag, repels water and is extremely lightweight.

Athletes who have donned the LZR Racer have broken more than 100 World records in the past eighteen months.

 

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