I got to thinking about inventions in the shower this morning. What if no one had invented the shower head? The
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thought of daily baths doesn’t appeal. In fact, what is there was no plumbing system? Well, that thought just makes me nauseous. Small things like this should make us appreciate the inventors and innovators who keep striving with their ideas, sometimes in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. This thought made me wonder about what new ideas are in the near-future queue.
Gamers will be happy with a report in Popular Science. It indicated that upcoming game systems will allow players to “start a game on their console, for example, but they’ll be able to pick it up again on their smartphone.”
The 2011 Popular Science Invention Awards yielded some remarkable inventions. The Antenatal Screening Kit, developed by a dedicated group of students at John Hopkins University, screens for disease with a stroke of a pen. A drop of urine (or blood) on a line drawn with the special ink of this revolutionary pen singles out diseases. While cost-effective ways exist in the developed countries for these simple procedures, the pen will be revolutionary in developing nations where citizens, especially women, don’t have access to health care. Currently, the pen being tested is for preeclampsia. However, the developers work on creating pens for several diseases, such as diabetes. Medical organizations in the developing countries express excitement and hope about the widespread impact of the screening pen.
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In a similar vein, scientists at the University of Tennessee work to finalize a microchip for detecting disease. The microchip identifies antibodies in the blood placed on it and alerts medical staff if it detects infection.
Those who commute to work facing the rising sun will appreciate another 2011 Invention winner. Chris Mullin took eight years to create the Dynamic Eye. Sunglasses with a brain.They boast a small sensor on the nose bridge that detects glare, which trips a black square to block the glare. The liquid crystal Mullin used in the lenses still let the wearer see through the black square, so no worries about accidents. Not because of the glasses or sun glare anyway. And no more trying to adjust the visor because the special square moves as the wearer moves to combat glare. A codicil: you will have to wait to get your pair for the morning commute. The U. S. Air force have requisitioned Mullins’ initial units.
Once you get to the office, wouldn’t it be great to process through computing just as easily. Or imagine
IBM desktop 2 (Photo credit: Jiri Brozovsky)
downloading several thousand movies to your smart phone. IBM Researcher Stuart Parkin has created the “racetrack memory”. It provides much faster data access than current hard drives; but without a price increase. IBM says that racetrack memory could potentially enable a personal storage device, no bigger than a lapel pin, to record every conversation the wearer encounters for years before the device reaches capacity. Somehow, I imagine the CIA has already commissioned prototypes for their agents.
Wow, necessity–and sometimes just plain demand–is the mother of invention. Have you heard of any great inventions that will improve our life experience?
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