Did you know that NASA is present when you go to the dentist?
Think of the sensor that enables digital x-ray imagery that allows dentists to spot problems. Yup, that’s NASA! That technology had its start looking at planets, stars, and black holes.
The NASA technology has made dental x-rays safer, cheaper, and easier to process.
In the early 90s, engineer Eric Fossum with NASA in Pasadena, California conducted research and eventually were able to create the “camera chip” technology, as it is now known. Fossum and his department worked with several industry partners, one of which was a dental device manufacturer.
The company saw several potential benefits to the new technology and worked with Fossum and his team to realize them.
“There was a lot of back-and-forth between our designers and their engineers” to work out the idiosyncrasies inherent in adapting the technology for X-ray use, Fossum says.
For the patient, digital X-rays mean lower radiation exposure and images that can be manipulated for more accurate diagnoses and to communicate problems to the patient. That translates directly to better diagnosis and treatment for the patient.
Thanks, NASA! Who knew?
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