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Space Products & Innovation

Science, Biotechnology, and Health Care


PUMA Tracks Progress of Pulmonary Disease Patient

The Portable Unit for Metabolic Analysis (PUMA) was invented at NASA Glenn Research Center to monitor an astronaut’s oxygen intake and carbon dioxide release, basic factors in astronaut health. This same technology is now being used to track the treatment progress of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

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Taking Red Helps with Cholesterol

To reduce the logistical requirements of a crew operating in space, a spacecraft must carry a precise combination of plants and microorganisms that efficiently recover oxygen, potable water, and nutritious food from waste products.

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Helping the Lame to Walk: The X1 Exoskeleton

Robonaut 2, a humanoid robot on the ISS, has lent its technology to another NASA project: the X1 robotic exoskeleton. The 26-kilogram (57-pound) X1 attaches to both legs, with controls and a harness extending over the person’s back and shoulders. X1 has been developed by NASA and industry partners for dual purposes.

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Canada’s Biopsy Robot

Advances in robotics led by space programs are finding a wide array of uses in the medical field. In addition to the hospital QC Bot derived from the Mars rovers, a robot capable of performing biopsies for breast cancer has been developed and is entering clinical trials.

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Curiosity’s X-Ray Instruments Identify Earth Minerals

Since instruments developed for spaceflight often need to withstand harsh conditions and be small and lightweight, they can be used in new or enhanced applications on Earth. By the time the Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012, one of its instruments had already inspired a portable tool for geologists on Earth.

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This Shoe Tracks You and then Phones Home

The Aetrex Navistar is a shoe that can be used to track patients with diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia who are at risk of wandering off and becoming lost. Using a GPS receiver and cellular transmitter located in the heel of the shoe, position information is transferred automatically to a secure server.

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Astronaut Retinal Camera Finds Use In Earthbound Examinations

Provizion Optics developed a retinal camera attachment to be used by astronauts in orbit to study the effect of zero gravity on their eyes. Although originally designed for use in space, the device’s ability to go anywhere and send images to medical professionals located elsewhere made it a convenient way to examine people’s eyes on Earth.

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