16 December 2016
Every year, TIME magazine publishes a list of what it considers to be the year’s greatest inventions.
This year’s selection covers a broad range of ideas, from a levitating light bulb to shoes that tie themselves.
And some of them are truly life-changing.
1.Uneven football fields
Who says a football field has to be rectangular? Thai property development company AP Thailand has turned unused and unevenly shaped spaces in Bangkok into football fields. The company finds unused but awkwardly sized spaces and converted them into spots where schoolchildren could go to play the nation’s favourite sport.
2. A roof over their heads
For years, the Swedish furniture group IKEA has been designing functional and affordable furnishings. But it has also been solving problems outside the home. The company has supported the work of Better Shelter, an organization that, with the help of the IKEA Foundation and the UNHCR, has created a safer and more durable shelter for refugee families around the world. The Better Shelter is designed to last for at least three years and is suitable for areas in which local materials or construction workers are in short supply.
3. A life-saving potato
The World Food Prize is a Nobel-like international award that recognizes achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. This year’s winners are four people who, between them, have developed a nutrient-rich vegetable and helped to extend the reach of food crops whose nutritional quality has been improved. Three members of the team, Dr Maria Andrade of Cape Verde, Dr Robert Mwanga of Uganda, and Dr Jan Low of the United States, created a sweet potato enriched with vitamin A.
4. Artificial pancreas
The number of diabetics worldwide is expected to double in the next 20 years to 700 million, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, or the body cannot effectively use the insulin that it does produce. It’s a chronic disease that impacts the daily lives of its sufferers, who have to regularly check their blood sugar levels. “The MiniMed® 670G system is an insulin pump that automatically adjusts the delivery of insulin based on its sensor, which measures blood-sugar levels every five minutes.
5. Artificial limbs
With a lot of Colombian children having lost their life or limbs thanks to landmines planted during the country’s 50-year civil war Colombian-born designer Carlos Arturo Torres took the typical prosthesis design and viewed it from the eyes of a child. ‘What if kids could make their own prosthetics?’ he asked himself. The result is the IKO Creative Prosthetic System, an adaptable prosthesis designed on the back of extensive research into how children feel about wearing a prosthesis. It is both functional – it has a functioning hand attachment – and convertible into a toy. It has a LEGO space ship with a laser and a remote-controlled digger arm that can be attached instead.
6. The fundraising Power Band
Wearable fitness devices have been one of the hottest products of recent years. Now there is one that aims to solve two problems at once: reducing obesity among children in wealthier nations while also helping children at risk of starvation in poorer ones. The UNICEF Kid Power Band encourages children to get active and earn points. The points are converted into funding used by UNICEF to deliver lifesaving packets of therapeutic food to severely malnourished children around the world.
7. Cleaner air
Around the world, 18,000 people die every day because of air pollution. The World Health Organization says the number of deaths attributed to air pollution is 6.5 million a year. That’s more than the number of people killed by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and road injuries combined. Wynd is a portable air cleaner that monitors the air around you and purifies where needed. It removes dust, allergens, smoke, and pollution from your personal space, in a device that is the size of a water bottle.
Source: World Economic Forum