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Get your mind out of the gutter. The correct answer is polyvinylidene fluoride, a material NASA researchers have refined for use in morphing aircraft that shapeshift in response to their environment. But wait! There’s more: It can also kickstart the human body’s healing process.
Because of its potential to heal the world and make it a better place, the polymer’s inventors, Mia Siochi and Lisa Scott Carnell, have now turned it over to the public through NASA’s Technology Transfer Program. Through that process, companies license NASA technology for cheap and turn it into products to sell to non-astronauts. But transforming space stuff into Earth stuff isn’t always smooth. Turned-over technology can get lost inside the catalog, stall out in the bowels of a company, or become part of a product the original inventors wouldn’t approve of.
Polyvinylidene fluoride certainly has the potential to do what its inventors hope it will: heal humans. It’s a so-called electroactive substance that gins up an electric field when stimulated. The researchers developed a process to align and weave its fibers—which in previous productions were strewn randomly—into a kind of high-tech gauze.
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