In line with its mission to benefit humanity, NASA has made it easier for companies to find and access patented inventions that can be used to design or manufacture assistive technologies. By compiling these technologies in one place, NASA is actively promoting the development of the next generation of assistive devices.
Assistive technologies, as defined by the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA), encompass a wide range of products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working, and daily living for people with disabilities. This includes both hardware, such as prosthetics, hearing aids, and wheelchairs, as well as software like screen readers and communication programs.
One notable example of a NASA assistive technology spinoff is the cochlear implant, which was made possible through the resources and expertise of NASA’s engineers. This implant has revolutionized the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals with hearing loss, restoring their ability to hear and communicate effectively.
Another remarkable NASA spinoff is the Joint Optical Reflective Display (JORDY), a device that aids individuals with low vision in reading and writing. JORDY magnifies objects up to 50 times and allows users to adjust contrast, brightness, and display modes according to their specific visual needs.
The curated list of patented technologies on NASA’s website includes various hardware and software available for licensing. Some of the featured technologies include a robotic upper body exoskeleton for rehabilitation purposes, a glove designed to reduce the grasping force needed to operate tools, 3D printing techniques for building delicate or complex parts, and improved processes for fabricating circuitry.
To further promote the accessibility of these assistive technologies, NASA’s Technology Transfer program will be present at the ATIA conference in January 2024. This event will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the available technologies and explore potential licensing opportunities.
Overall, NASA’s commitment to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities through assistive technologies is commendable. By making these technologies easily accessible to companies, NASA is fostering innovation and driving advancements in the field. Through collaborations and partnerships, the next generation of assistive technologies will continue to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities, promoting independence and productivity.