Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 14

GOVERNMENT & GAVEL

TECH
INNOVATION
A History of Government-Funded

By Tracy Schorn

D

id you know these familiar,
innovative technologies are
the result of U.S. government
research and development? Thank
a government scientist today!
ACCELEROMETER
This gizmo measures changes in speed.
You might know it as the technology in your
Wii gaming system that detects changes in
movement, but government funding originally
helped to develop it for guided weapons. These
devices are also used in airbag technology -
when a car comes to sudden, screeching halt,
accelerometers signal that it's time to deploy
the airbag.

BARCODE

GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM

The ubiquitous barcode, used to scan and
identify merchandise, has been around since
the 1970s. The National Science Foundation
(NSF) helped fund research into improving the
devices that read barcodes. With the barcode
system, businesses can keep detailed, real-time
data on products, how well they sell, and can
track their distribution. Barcodes endure because
they're inexpensive and infinitely more accurate
than humans.

Blame military innovation for that annoying voice in
your car intoning "recalculating" every time you make
a wrong turn. GPS began as a U.S. Department of
Defense project in 1973 and became fully operational in 1995. GPS works by providing geolocation
and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere
there is a clear line of sight to four or more GPS
satellites. The system is owned and maintained by
the U.S. government, operated by the Air Force, and
is free to anyone in the world with a GPS receiver.

GOOGLE

INTERNET

You can also thank the NSF for Google,
which began as a student research project.
With the support of an NSF graduate student
fellowship, in 1996 Stanford PhD students
Larry Page and Sergey Brin created an algorithm
that ranked web pages according to their
relevance and relationship to other websites.
They went on to found Google in 1998. Today
Google is such a part of our everyday life it's
a verb!

Okay, so Al Gore didn't invent it - but the origins
of the Internet date back to research commissioned by the U.S. government in the 1960s to
build a communication system via computer
networks. (The word "Internet" is short for "internetworking.") In 1986 the National Science
Foundation Network allowed researchers to have
access to supercomputer sites in the United
States, sparking all sorts of innovations, and by
the early 1990s, there were commercial Internet

BABY
FORMULA
Versions of baby formula have been around since
the 19th century, but thanks to NASA funding,
researchers studying algae at Martek Biosciences
Corporation in Columbia, Maryland, were able to
identify the fatty acids in human breast milk essential to infant development - docosahexaenoic
acid and arachidonic acid. The scientists were
looking at how algae, through photosynthesis,
could be used as a way to create oxygen in outer
space. This in turn led to the incidental discovery
of the fatty acids, which have been manufactured
and used in baby formula since 2002.
14

WASHINGTON LAWYER

* DECEMBER 2017

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - December 2017

Your Voice
From Our President
Our Membership
Career & Professional Development
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Government & Gavel
Feature: 50 Years of Space Law
Feature: The Resurrection of Civics Class
Feature: Privacy in the Digital Age
Feature: AI & The Legal Workplace
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Associates Angle
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effect
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 1
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 2
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 3
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 4
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 7
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Our Membership
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Career & Professional Development
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 11
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 13
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Government & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 15
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Feature: 50 Years of Space Law
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 17
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 18
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 19
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 20
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 21
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Feature: The Resurrection of Civics Class
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 23
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 24
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 25
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Feature: Privacy in the Digital Age
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 27
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 28
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 29
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Feature: AI & The Legal Workplace
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 31
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 32
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 33
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 35
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 37
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Associates Angle
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 45
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - 47
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - December 2017 - Cover4
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