Kids toys are designed to be simple, exciting and safe, with the goal of helping to teach kids motor skills, shapes and colours. But, did you know that there were some scientific breakthroughs that were actually inspired by kids and babies toys?
The most infamous and noticeable example of this would be NASA's Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD). What's that, we hear you ask? Well, it is a re-entry craft light enough to enter the atmosphere of a planet who's atmosphere is far less dense than that of the Earth.
NASA has admitted that the overall idea of the concept was conceived with the help of a child's coloured stacking rings!
The idea is that the individual tubes can be inflated when needed. This helps to save weight and space when stowed away in a spacecraft and only needs to be inflated when needed.
The Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator takes up only 0.5 metres in width when deflated, and when inflated it spans out to a total of three metres wide, taking up the familiar stacking ring shape.
Take a look at the video below by the YouTube channel, Sci Show, on Serious Play: 4 Toys That Inspired Scientific Breakthroughs...