JPL Technologies Chosen for Space Technology Hall of Fame

technician scans patient with carotid artery ultrasound Carotid artery ultrasound, used with NASA software, detects hardening of the arteries. Image credit: NASA/JPL
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March 13, 2008

PASADENA, CALIF. -- Two technologies developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been selected for the Space Foundation's 2008 Space Technology Hall of Fame. Judges for the nonprofit foundation chose ArterioVision, a software that helps better diagnose heart disease, and Petroleum Remediation Product, a powder made of beeswax microcapsules that cleans up oil spills in an environmentally-friendly way.

ArterioVision is used with a standard ultrasound to precisely measure the thickness of the two inner layers of the carotid artery, known as the carotid intima media thickness. Doing so allows doctors to determine the age and health of a patient's arteries and better predict and minimize his or her risk for heart disease.

JPL, Medical Technologies International, and the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine-Atherosclerosis Research Unit, will be inducted into the 2008 Space Technology Hall of Fame for ArterioVision. Initially developed at JPL in the 1990s, ArterioVision is derived from the Video Imaging Communication and Retrieval software used to process pictures from NASA spacecraft imagery.

Medical Technologies International, of Palm Desert, Calif., licensed the space-imaging software and USC tested and adapted it for diagnostic medical use. JPL's Innovative Partnership Program managed this and other industry partnerships that result in commercialization.

The individuals who developed and adapted ArterioVision will also be honored April 10 in Colorado Springs at the 24th National Space Symposium, an annual gathering of the global space community.

These individuals are:

- Robert Selzer, Medical Technologies International's chief engineer and the former head of JPL's Biomedical Image Processing Group

- Gary Thompson, chairman and chief executive officer of Medical Technologies International

- Dr. Howard N. Hodis, Director of the Atherosclerosis Research Unit at USC's Keck School of Medicine

In addition, the Space Foundation will commend Helenann Kwong-Fu, a JPL mission-assurance manager for the Phoenix Mars lander and Spitzer Space Telescope flight projects. She helped develop the technology and standardize protocols for image acquisition.

Petroleum Remediation Product, the second technology that the Space Foundation will honor, originated at JPL and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Ala. JPL demonstrated the feasibility of encapsulating live cells, while technology developed at Marshall for experiments in orbital production of microspheres gave the basic design of the delivery system. Industry scientists then worked with researchers at both NASA centers to develop the technology.

The natural and biodegradable product cleans up oil and other contaminants via thousands of microcapsules -- tiny balls of beeswax with hollow centers. Water cannot penetrate the microcapsule's cell, but oil is absorbed into the beeswax spheres. This way, oil is caught before it settles into soil or water.

Besides honoring the technology itself, the Space Foundation will also induct the company that makes and distributes it -- Pittsburgh-based Universal Remediation, Inc. The company stepped up production and expanded availability of the product to such clients as Alcoa and U.S. Steel.

More information on the Space Technology Hall of Fame is at http://spacetechhalloffame.org/ .

More information on JPL is at http://jpl.nasa.gov . More information on ArterioVision is at http://i-mti.com/the_technology.htm . More information on Petroleum Remediation Product is at http://unireminc.com/ .

Media Contacts: Rhea Borja 818-354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Rhea.R.Borja@jpl.nasa.gov

Kendra Horn 719-576-8000
Space Foundation, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Kendra@spacefoundation.org
2008-041

Images

data from carotid artery ultrasound

Read-outs from carotid artery tests reveal a patient's vascular age. Image credit: NASA/JPL

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