Don Nolan-Proxmire Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1983


September 17, 1997

John Bluck Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA (Phone: 650/604-5026) RELEASE: 97-203 COMMERCIALIZATION OF NASA FILTER MAY AID PILOTS/DRIVERS A new change to a sunglass filter developed by NASA engineers may make our skies and roads safer by helping pilots and drivers to see better. The original filter, a low-cost, brownish, plastic material, was developed by Dr. Leonard Haslim of NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. It was originally designed to help farmers identify diseased plants. The filter blocks much of the yellow and green light during daylight hours, according to Haslim, enhancing the ability of the human eye to detect other colors in the visible spectrum. This filter was modified by Optical Sales Corp., Portland, OR, and used in a new sunglass product now being marketed. Government inventions, like the NASA filter, are often commercialized by industry, according to Michael Weingarten, manager for business development at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. "NASA is driving cutting-edge technologies," he said. "We are redoubling our efforts to get those technologies into the hands of private industry. "NASA invests more than $5 billion in technology development annually," he pointed out. "It makes good economic sense to bring that state-of-the-art technology back to U.S. taxpayers when such a huge investment is being made," he concluded. According to Haslim, stress in plants tends to be camouflaged by the plantÕs natural chlorophyll. As a result, many plant diseases cause irreversible damage by the time they become visibly evident. In the past, it was necessary to have highly trained professionals examine plants in order to determine signs of stress in the early stages. Haslim said that he developed his filter to

address that need. "Now, farmers themselves can use goggles equipped with the special filter to locate diseased or stressed plants," said Haslim. "Sick leaves that appear just a bit yellow in normal light show up as a much brighter yellow when viewed through the filter. Conversely, healthy leaves appear as a vivid green," Haslim said. "If we diminish or block a lot of the yellow-green light that the eye normally sees, suddenly the other colors stand out in much greater relief. This lets us see colors much more clearly, like we see them at the movies," he said. The filter, called the passive chlorophyll detector, was invented by Haslim in 1991. The sunglass adaptation with the modified filter was first made commercially available earlier this year by Optical Sales Corp. To learn more about NASA innovations, commercialization efforts and the agency's technology transfer programs, interested parties can call 1-800-678-6882 or access the NASA Commercial Technology Network web page at URL: Increasing aircraft safety and enhancing the productivity and capacity of the national aviation system are major goals of NASA's Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology enterprise. NASA actively encourages commercialization of its technologies. The agency neither verifies product claims nor endorses commercial offerings. -endEDITORÕS NOTE: Images to accompany this release are available to news media representatives by calling the Headquarters Imaging Branch at 202/358-1900. Photo numbers are: Color: 97-HC-614 97-HC-615