50 Consumer Technologies Developed by NASA in the Last 50 Years

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Every year NASA publishes a new edition of their Spinoff magazine, a periodical that outlines NASA-based technologies that have disseminated into everyday devices, improving our lives beyond giving us some nifty new desktop wallpapers. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Spinoff, and to celebrate, NASA has created a "best of" list (that we pasted after the jump). From the aerodynamic principles applied to tractor trailers to advanced imaging techniques that allow 360-degree Real Estate photo tours, NASA demonstrates that their technological breakthroughs are about more than just sticking an American flag on the moon.

Health and Medicine Robotics Offer Newfound Surgical Capabilities In-Line Filtration Improves Hygiene and Reduces Expense LED Device Illuminates New Path to Healing Polymer Coats Leads on Implantable Medical Device Lockable Knee Brace Speeds Rehabilitation Robotic Joints Support Horses and Humans Photorefraction Screens Millions for Vision Disorders Periodontal Probe Improves Exams, Alleviates Pain Magnetic Separator Enhances Treatment Possibilities Transportation Lithium Battery Power Delivers Electric Vehicles to Market Advanced Control System Increases Helicopter Safety Aerodynamics Research Revolutionizes Truck Design Engineering Models Ease and Speed Prototyping Software Performs Complex Design Analysis Public Safety Space Suit Technologies Protect Deep-Sea Divers Fiber Optic Sensing Monitors Strain and Reduces Costs Polymer Fabric Protects Firefighters, Military, and Civilians Advanced X-Ray Sources Ensure Safe Environments Consumer, Home and Recreation Wireless Fluid-Level Measurement System Equips Boat Owners Mars Cameras Make Panoramic Photography a Snap Experiments Advance Gardening at Home and in Space Space Age Swimsuit Reduces Drag, Breaks Records Immersive Photography Renders 360° Views Historic Partnership Captures Our Imagination Outboard Motor Maximizes Power and Dependability Space Research Fortifies Nutrition Worldwide Aerogels Insulate Missions and Consumer Products Environmental and Agricultural Resources Computer Model Locates Environmental Hazards Battery Technology Stores Clean Energy Robots Explore the Farthest Reaches of Earth and Space Portable Nanomesh Creates Safer Drinking Water Innovative Stemless Valve Eliminates Emissions Web-Based Mapping Puts the World at Your Fingertips Computer Technology Program Assists Satellite Designers Water-Based Coating Simplifies Circuit Board Manufacturing Software Schedules Missions, Aids Project Management Software Analyzes Complex Systems in Real Time Wireless Sensor Network Handles Image Data Virtual Reality System Offers a Wide Perspective Software Simulates Sight: Flat Panel Mura Detection Inductive System Monitors Tasks Mars Mapping Technology Brings Main Street to Life Intelligent Memory Module Overcomes Harsh Environments Integrated Circuit Chip Improves Network Efficiency Industrial Productivity Novel Process Revolutionizes Welding Industry Sensors Increase Productivity in Harsh Environments Portable Device Analyzes Rocks and Minerals NASA Design Strengthens Welds Polyimide Boosts High-Temperature Performance NASA Innovation Builds Better Nanotubes

The 2008 edition of Spinoff is free online, with each of these 50 stories available in full for your reading pleasure. Even if you just give the headlines a skim here, the variety of accomplishments is pretty impressive. [Spinoff]