Invention Invasion: War Tech That Changed Life

ByABC News via logo
April 2, 2006, 7:38 AM

April 2, 2006 — -- There's a new product in development that could change your nightly ritual forever.

The Wrigley Gum Company has paired up with the U.S. military to create an anti-bacterial chewing gum that actually cleans teeth so soldiers wouldn't have to stop what they're doing to brush their pearly whites.

If the military signs on to it, there's a good chance it will end up in your medicine cabinet one day.

When a military engineer patented the first crude steam engine when Americans were pushing west into the frontier, the trend of military inventions going mainstream began.

From trains to planes: The military's stealth jet technology may be on your feet. Many hiking boots are made from the same materials.

The "trench coat" got its name from soldiers in World War I who wore the military jackets in the trenches.

The microwave oven also was built with military technology.

Another military innovation can mean the difference between life and death -- the Medevac helicopter, pioneered during the Korean War.

The Hummer started out as the Humvee during the Persian Gulf War. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif. was the first civilian to own one.

But the mother of all military inventions is what one Pentagon official dubbed the "Intergalactic Network." That wild idea became the Internet -- undoubtedly the one military invention that changed our world the most.