Currently, there is an incredible fascination for space. Whether Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson – the tech companies of our present dream of the future in the stars. Even though life on Mars still involves many hypotheses, as the announcement of SpaceX last week showed, research for living and working in space has some impact on our daily lives.
In order to enable a life in unknown gravity and with completely new environmental challenges, the innovators of the space scene are becoming more and more creative and through their research are constantly bringing out products that also change our daily lives. As already mentioned with regard to the efforts of IKEA in the field of space research, space travel is a fire accelerator for innovation.
Objects of our daily life that originate from space research
When you think of research in the space sector, images of thrusters, boosters and rockets quickly come to mind. You think of movies like Iron Man or the photos from the SpaceX headquarters – but research on life in space has always produced products that are used daily to make life easier, more sustainable or more efficient.
Among the innovations that space research has brought us are these five inventions from our everyday lives:
1. Smartphone cameras
This may surprise some readers now, but the cameras on our smartphones have their origins in NASA. In the 1990s, they developed an imaging system that enabled them to send high-resolution photos from space without consuming much energy. This technology has been adapted again and again in recent years and now ends up on the front and back of our phones.
2. Scratch-resistant lenses
Do you have glasses? Then you know how quickly they can fall off or get dirty. But thank God the lenses are extremely shock-resistant and do not blame their wearer for a sometimes reckless treatment. The fact that we have scratch-resistant lenses in our glasses, sunglasses and helmet visors also comes from space research. Here it had to be ensured that the astronaut helmets are as scratch-resistant and durable as possible. The plastic used there is now a component of many eyeglass lenses.
3. Insulin pump
Diabetes patients know the benefits of an insulin pump better than anyone else. The origin of this innovation can be found at the Goddard Space Flight Center, where the pumps were used to monitor the astronauts and to release insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
4. Wireless headsets
AirPods, Bluetooth headsets and other wireless headsets have been the best friend of the zoom conference at least since the beginning of the home office. The origin lies a few years back in the Mercury and Apollo missions, where the astronauts’ communication system should not be affected by a cable. For this reason, NASA developed a hands-free headset, which later found its way into our everyday life.
Dynamics and flexibility are essential for survival in space. The robot sensors, artificial muscle systems and robot coatings have had to adapt to unique conditions and had to excel in flexibility and durability. Researchers later applied these properties to the production of prostheses and artificial limbs to make them more functional, comfortable and lifelike for the wearer.
These were just a few examples of how space travel determines our everyday lives. Shock absorbers for buildings, solar cells and the latest fire-fighting equipment used by firefighters during firefighting operations also originate from the laboratories of various space companies and institutions.
With a newly awakened focus on the Moon and Mars, it therefore remains exciting to see what the innovators of our time will develop for their missions, because every technical development simultaneously has an impact on our future everyday life.