A Different Kind of Space Race

Since its inception in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has affected consumers’ everyday lives without many of us knowing. In fact, the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 ensured this quiet influence by including the stipulation “that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.”

Developments in space travel remain crucial to the technological advances we enjoy daily. Long-distance communications, solar energy, artificial limbs, memory foam and household smoke detectors all were first used in space. The smartphones we carry in our pockets are up to a million times more powerful than all of NASA’s computers combined in 1969. Imagine what we’ll hold in our hands 20 years from now.

New horizons, new challenges.
All this advancement brings a different set of challenges. Among these: overheating. It’s a critical operations problem for electronic devices because it can lead to poor performance and — in some cases — dangerous situations.

Samsung made the unprecedented decision to recall all Galaxy 7 phones after 35 of them overheated. Some exploded, rupturing their cases. The number of overheating incidents reported quadrupled after Samsung announced the recal

Opportunities within change.
KULR Technology is among the companies looking to leverage what it’s learned in space and apply those lessons to innovations here on Earth. Michael Mo and Timothy Knowles cofounded KULR (pronounced “cooler”) in 2013. Their basic premise: solve the challenges to keep electronics cooler, lighter and safer in an ethical and environmentally sustainable manner.
KULR’s technology traces its beginnings to the high-performance aerospace industry. The San Diego-based firm has won more than 500 contracts with agencies and companies including NASA, Raytheon, Boeing and JPL. KULR also provided the carbon-fiber-based thermal-management solutions used in the International Space Station, Mars Rover and Mercury Messenger.

Increased demand for computing power.
On a larger scale, the advances made during the past decade require tremendous computing power. Over the next 5, 10 and 15 years, these and other emerging technologies will change how we live.

Focus on performance and sustainability.
Over time, these technologies will increase in consumer base — and consumers will focus more and more on performance. As a device’s number of transistors multiplies, its computing power increases exponentially. In turn, its form factors shrink. But increased density of transistors on a chip has led to performance issues including overheating. That can cause slowed or even broken-down connections.The cycle feeds the need for continued evolution. KULR’s proprietary carbon-fiber-based architecture replaces older aluminum- and copper-based head spreaders and exchanges that were the standard for years. Unfortunately, those earlier particle-based thermal-interface materials are inefficient as well as energy-intensive and less environmentally friendly to produce.