11. Wireless headsets
Along with two airline pilots who’d invented a prototype of a wireless headset, NASA built a light, hands-free communication system that would allow astronauts to communicate with teams on Earth. The technology was utilized in the Mercury and Apollo missions.
12. Adjustable smoke detector
In partnership with the Honeywell Corporation, NASA improved smoke detector technology in the 1970s, creating a unit with adjustable sensitivity to avoid constant false alarms.
13. Invisible braces
After NASA and Ceradyne invented a clear material that could protect radar equipment without blocking the radar’s signal, Unitek Corporation/3M teamed up with Ceradyne, using the material to invent invisible braces.
14. Freeze-dried foods
During long space missions where every ounce of weight and inch of space aboard a shuttle must be maximized, freeze-dried foods have become a staple. Freeze-dried foods are incredibly light, and they retain their nutritional value. Once reconstituted, they are also easier and more pleasant to eat than former meal sources that were packed into squeeze tubes.
15. Camera phones
In the 1990s, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory invented a light, miniature imaging system that required little energy in order to take high quality photographs from space. This technology has become standard in cell phone and computer cameras.