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Barcodes, Clocks, Smoke Detectors
Did NASA invent barcodes, quartz clocks, or smoke detectors?
Barcodes were not invented by NASA. NASA developed a special type of barcode for inventory of space shuttle and other space system components that could endure harsh environments, but this should not be mistakened for the original barcode. Similarly, NASA was not the first to use quartz as a piezoelectric material for timekeeping. The first quartz clock dates back to 1927. However in the late 1960s, NASA partnered with a company to make a highly accurate quartz clock. This clock was on the market for a few years but is no longer available. Further, NASA did not invent the smoke detector. NASA's connection to the modern smoke detector is that it made one with adjustable sensitivity as part of the Skylab project. The device was made commercially available by Honeywell. The consumer could use it to avoid "nuisance" alarms while cooking. Like the quartz clock, this device is no longer available.