In its innovation of unique technologies for use in space, NASA has developed and licensed a myriad of treatments and products, especially for those with injuries and disabilities. Examples include an “anti-gravity” treadmill used by various patients and cochlear implants that restore hearing to hundreds of thousands globally. Another technology spinoff is JORDY, or Joint Optical Reflective Display, which allows people with low vision to read and write, magnifying objects up to 50x, enabling them to change contrast, brightness, and display modes. Swedish company Bioservo Technologies’ Ironhand, using patents from NASA and General Motors’ created Robo-Glove, created the first industrial-strength robotic glove for factory workers and those performing repetitive manual tasks.
Today, NASA is making it easy to find and access patented inventions developed for space exploration to design or manufacture assistive technologies. It now has compiled patented technologies with potential applications. Access is easy. Just browse the list for innovations that can help improve an existing product or launch the creation of something new. NASA’s Technology Transfer program includes everything from hardware, such as prosthetics, hearing aids, and wheelchairs, to software communication programs.
- A robotic upper body exoskeleton to control the shoulder and elbow to rehabilitate people suffering from the effects of a stroke or traumatic brain injury
- A glove to help reduce the grasping force needed to operate tools for an extended period of time, born from a collaboration to build a robotic astronaut
- 3D printing techniques to help build delicate or complex parts
- New and improved processes to fabricate circuitry
NASA’s Technology Transfer program, managed by the Space Technology Mission Directorate, ensures technologies developed for missions of exploration and discovery are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to humanity. Learn more by visiting the Technology Transfer Portal.