NASA Celebrates Private Sector Deployments of Space-born Tech in Its Latest Spinoff
Monday January 24, 2022. 09:21 PM , from Slashdot
An anonymous reader shares a report: NASA's Spinoff magazine is one of the things I look forward to reading every year. The space agency's research trickles down to the rest of the world in surprising and interesting ways, which it tracks and collects in this annual publication. This year is no different, and NASA tech can be found in everything from hiking gadgets to heavy industry and, funnily enough, space. There are dozens of technologies that have made their way to everyday use in a variety of places highlighted in this year's issue, which you can browse here [PDF]. I talked with Daniel Lockney, the head of NASA's Tech Transfer Program overseeing the deployment of its tech and research among terrestrial companies looking to put it to good use. 'Typically what happens is: NASA develops something, they report it to my office, and we look at it to figure out, first, does it work? And second, who else can use it? And if someone can, we figure out how to get it to them,' Lockney explained. 'I try to give as much away for free as I can. I've got no direction to generate revenue or bring something back to the U.S. treasury. The 1958 NASA act that created us says to disseminate our work -- nothing in there about making a dime.'
The result is cheap or free licensing of interesting tech like compact, long-lasting water filters, unusual mechanical components, and other tech that was needed for space or launch purposes but might find a second use on the ground. Lockney highlighted a couple items in the latest batch that he thought were especially interesting. 'There was a partnership with GM to develop the Robo-Glove, a functional glove that astronauts will wear to help reduce strain during repetitive tasks and increase grip strength,' he said. 'Squeezing something on a spacewalk, you can do it a couple times, but if you're gripping a tool for the whole afternoon... so we developed this glove to assist in that work, and now it's being used at factories around the world.'
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