NASA Portable Hyperbaric Chamber Technology Finds Home on Earth

Oct 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA has signed a patent license agreement with a California company to improve the medical community's access to hyperbaric chambers used to treat many medical conditions and emergencies.

OxyHeal Medical Systems Inc. of National City, Calif., will develop new products based on technologies NASA originally developed for space.

Hyperbaric chambers create an environment in which the atmospheric pressure of oxygen is increased above normal levels. The high concentrations of oxygen can reduce the size of gas bubbles in the blood and improve blood flow to oxygen-starved tissues.

"These technologies will allow OxyHeal to develop new products capable of providing life-saving treatments and care to patients in remote areas that may not have access to large, fixed-site hyperbaric chamber facilities," said Ted Gurnee, president of OxyHeal. Additionally, the company is working on solutions that involve large portable hyperbaric chambers for possible use in treatment of disaster victims.

The partially exclusive patent license agreement allows the company to use three technologies developed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston that are associated with inflatable spacecraft modules and portable hyperbaric chambers.

NASA developed the technologies as part of a program to plan for how astronauts in space might be treated for decompression sickness. Decompression sickness, commonly called "the bends," can occur in astronauts as they undergo pressure changes returning from spacewalks and in divers as they return to the water's surface.

In addition to treating decompression sickness, hyperbaric chamber therapy on Earth also commonly provides treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning, crush injuries, healing problem wounds, soft tissue infections, significant blood loss and other ailments.

The NASA inventors of the portable hyperbaric chamber, Dr. James Locke, William Schneider and Horacio de la Fuente, recently were recognized by the Federal Laboratory Consortium with a Notable Technology Development Award.

"NASA has a long history of making space-aged technologies available for commercialization, creating new markets that power the economy," said Michele Brekke, director of the Innovation Partnership Program Office at Johnson. "These commercial products and services, known as 'spinoffs,' allow the taxpayers to benefit from space exploration."

Provided by JPL/ (news : web)

Explore further: Cyanide ice in Titan's atmosphere

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Laser can spot illness before symptoms appear

Nov 12, 2007

It may not rank among the top 10 causes of death, but decompression sickness can be fatal. Instead of waiting for symptoms to appear, a University of Houston professor is developing a laser-based system that can diagnose ...

NASA adds technologies Web feature

Feb 26, 2008

The U.S. space agency has added an interactive program to its Web site, allowing users to discover some of the space technologies that now impact daily life.

Recommended for you

Europe sat-nav launch glitch linked to frozen pipe

17 hours ago

A frozen fuel pipe in the upper stage of a Soyuz launcher likely caused the failure last month to place two European navigation satellites in orbit, a source close to the inquiry said Wednesday.

Cyanide ice in Titan's atmosphere

19 hours ago

Gigantic polar clouds of hydrogen cyanide roughly four times the area of the UK are part of the impressive atmospheric diversity of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, a new study led by Leiden Observatory, ...

Video: Alleged meteor caught on Russian dash cam (again)

22 hours ago

Thanks to the ubiquity of dashboard-mounted video cameras in Russia yet another bright object has been spotted lighting up the sky over Siberia, this time a "meteor-like object" seen on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 27.

User comments : 0