Out-of-this-World Dental Technology
While most people know how technology developed by NASA for space travel enhances everyday life (memory foam, portable cordless vacuums, etc.), you may be surprised to find some of the technologies in the dental office have space-age historical backgrounds.
- Digital X-rays: In the 1990’s, NASA sought to create a single computer chip that contained all aspects of camera electronics which resulted in CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor). Schick Technologies saw the potential of using this to aid in digital dental images and worked with NASA to develop the chip technology into what forms the basis of today’s digital x-rays. (CMOS chips can also be found in most digital cameras and smartphones)
- Invisible braces: The translucent ceramic used to create the first invisible braces resulted from a collaboration between NASA and another company working on a way to track heat-seeking missiles.
- Water purification: NASA developed a system to purify air and water during spaceflight – a company called MRLB International used this to create DentaPure which is a decontamination system that can be used for dental instruments. *interesting side note: NASA is also working on a filtration system that could turn all forms of wastewater (including sweat and urine) into drinkable water which could benefit undeveloped areas of the world