A surprising number of military inventions have found their ways into our civilian lives. Here are just a few military-turned-everyday items.
When you rely on the GPS app on that Android phone to keep yourself from getting lost, you’re using the same Global Positioning System satellites set up by the U.S. Department of Defense in the early 1990s. At President Clinton’s behest, the system became available to civilian users in 1996.
2. Freeze drying
Dippin’ Dots, anyone? The technology that’s now used to make freeze-dried ice cream was first used widely during World War II as a way of preserving medical supplies that otherwise required refrigeration.
EpiPens, the auto-injecting syringes that allow you to give yourself a quick shot of epinephrine to stave off an allergic reaction, sprung from a similar device designed to protect soldiers from nerve agents and chemical weapons.
4. Cargo pants
British soldiers began sporting cargo pants in the 1930s because they offered a convenient way to carry vital military gear like ammunition. American troops adopted them just a few years later, and the general public began to wear them in the 1990s.
5. Duct tape
In 1942, duct tape was invented for the military as a way to seal ammunition cases so that water couldn’t get in. Soldiers during WWII quickly realized that it worked well for fixing army gear, too.
You know those canisters you use in order to get gasoline to put in your lawnmower? They were initially developed for the German military in the 1930s.
The Jeep has come a long way since it was first manufactured for American troops to use on reconnaissance missions in WWII. Now celebrating its 70th anniversary, some new models of the world’s oldest SUV come equipped with luxuries such as leather-wrapped steering wheels, DVD players, and touchscreen media consoles.
ENIAC, the first electronic computer that was capable of being programmed to serve many different purposes, was designed for the U.S. military during WWII. The army paid for the computer to be built so they could use it in their Ballistic Research Laboratory.
In 1945, an American scientist realized accidentally that the radar transmitters used by the U.S. Army throughout WWII actually released enough heat—in the form of “microwaves”—that they could cook food. This technology was used to construct the first microwave oven within the next 2 years.