Image: Kasia Sawicka
[Leong Qi Tyng | Contributing Writer]
Wondering what kinds of new and wonderful inventions and discoveries have crept into our lives recently? Here’s a short list of what’s been going on since 2015!
Thinx: Period-proof Underwear by Miki & Radha Agrawal and Antonio Dunbar (USA & Sri Lanka)
I always wondered how female superheroes go about crime fighting on their period week. Do they have time for a quick change? Well, thanks to Thinx, girls around the world now have period-proof underwear! The underwear literally absorbs blood! The company has released a range of designs, and each has different levels of absorption. The underwear was said to be anti-microbial, moisture wicking, absorbent and leak-resistant!
The Hoverboard, patented by Shane Chen of Hovertrax (USA)
The Hoverboard. We have seen it on campus and in our neighbourhood. We have seen it in dance videos, which was pretty cool. It’s like a Segway without handles and a motorised skateboard. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but it’s not exactly hovering is it?
Nima (previously known as 6SensorLabs) by Shireen Yates & Scott Sundvor (USA)
6SensorLabs’ Nima. This cute black device that resembles an onigiri is going to help those who are allergic to gluten. All you need to do is just drop a small food sample into the device. If there’s gluten in it, a frowning face will light up on the device. If it’s free of gluten, a smile appears. In the future, the company plans to expand into detecting other food allergens.
Safety Truck by Samsung Electronics, Leo Burnett, Ingemática, Helvetica SA & Volvo Trucks (Argentina)
Safety Truck is a collaboration between Samsung and Leo Burnett. Have no more fear driving behind a huge truck! Both companies created a system that relays footage from the front of the truck to four screens on its back; giving drivers behind the truck a clear view of what’s ahead.
Nike Flyease 8 by Tobie Hatfield (USA)
With all the fancy inventions coming up, we forget that there are people out there who have trouble with everyday activities such as tying shoelaces. I’m not talking about the self-lacing shoes inspired by Back to the Future. I’m talking about Nike Flyease 8. It was inspired by a letter written by Matthew Walzer, who has cerebral palsy, to Nike. The head designer, Tobie Hatfield, came up with a shoe using a one-handed fastening mechanism. To tie the shoe, wearers just need to pull a strap which zips around the ankle as they pull.
Pantelligent by Humberto Evans, Mike Robbins, Kyle Moss & Yuan Wei (USA)
Ever tried following a new recipe with the instructions telling you to heat the pan to a certain temperature? Do you wonder how in the world you’re supposed to know how hot the pan is? Worry no more with Pantelligent. The pan not only helps you to measure the temperature from your phone, but it also loads recipes so you know when to flip the steak and when to add the spices!
The Drinkable Book by Dr Teri Dankovich (USA)
Booklovers unite! The pages of the Drinkable Book, developed by Dr Teri Dankovich, could be used as water filters. During the trials in Bangladesh, Ghana and South Africa, the pages embedded with silver nanoparticles managed to kill over 99 per cent of harmful bacteria. At the moment, the invention is still going through extensive tests to determine whether it can filter all contaminants, including viruses.
TZOA Environmental Tracker by Kevin Hart & Laura Moe (Canada)
Growing up in Malaysia, I am not a stranger to the haze pollution and the possibility of doctored air pollution index readings. This is where TZOA Environmental Tracker may come in handy for the public. The tiny device evaluates the atmosphere, measuring factors such as temperature, particulate matter (dust, pollen, mould, car exhaust) and UV exposure. The company released a wearable design (clip on) in May.
Tesla Model X by Franz von Holzhausen (USA)
Tesla Model X has the world getting excited when it was unveiled in September. Celebrities such as Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo were reported to be in one (albeit one in an accident). The world’s first luxury electric SUV can go up to 60 m.p.h. in 3.2 seconds and 250 miles on a charge. Its battery pack gives it a low centre of gravity, enabling sports-car-like handling. As CEO Elon Musk put it during the Model X unveiling: people need to know “that any kind of car can go electric.”
Immunomatrix by Dr Katarzyna “Kasia” M. Sawicka (USA)
Most needle-free injection inventions disrupt the stratum corneum (outer layer of skin) except Immunomoatrix because it works like a band aid or plaster. Biomedical engineer, Dr Kasia Sawicka, invented a patch that can vaccinate patients without breaking the skin. Instead, the vaccinations “diffuse” into the skin layers.
Retromixer by Denny Schenk & Artur Napiórkowski (Scotland)
Separate taps boggled my mind; it was either scalding or freezing water. A few of us had burnt our hands while brushing our teeth or washing dishes. I’m sure we have all seen the picture of the self-made adapter out of a water bottle on 9GAG that showed how desperate some people were to solve the issue! A group of students in Edinburgh banded together to create Retromixer, an adapter for double taps, using 3D printing technology. Retromixer is not a permanent fixture; it is portable. They have recently begun shipping the finished products.