2016 may have been a dreadful time in many ways, but there was still some undeniable good to come out of the past 12 months.
For proof, look no further than the year’s most impactful inventions, offering solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.
From a futuristic bus that slips over traffic to a$ 1 bowl saving countless babies’ lives, inventors developed ingenious gadgets and minds that tackle inequality and improve “the worlds” for millions of people.
In no particular ordering and certainly not an exhaustive list these 21 social good inventions had a massive impact this year.
For more world-changing innovations, check out our list from 2015.
1. An edible droning delivering humanitarian aid
The only thing cooler than a drone is an edible drone especially one that saves lives.
An inexpensive droning prototype, called Pouncer, was designed to help deliver humanitarian aid to remote regions with impassible streets. The droning doesn’t only carry crucial pieces for relief, but also features a plywood frame for firewood, wings jam-pack with meat and protective covers that can double as shelter.
Windhorse Aerospace, the company behind Pouncer, designed the droning in an effort to revolutionize aid in the aftermath of natural disasters. The crew hopes the prototype will become a reality in 2017.
2. A wheelchair constructed for people in developing countries
For people with mobility-related disabilities, wheelchairs can be essential. But for people in developing regions, traditional wheelchairs are often unusable on the rough, urban terrain.
SafariSeat, an all-terrain wheelchair, is a low-cost solution to this often overlooked question. The durable wheelchair is propelled forward by hand levers and features sturdy wheels. It’s also made solely of repurposed bicycle portions, designed to be manufactured and maintained in impoverished regions.
SafariSeat began crowdfunding on Kickstarter in November, and plans to start product in Kenya in 2017.
3. Edible meat package constructed with milk
Forget plastic packaging, and say hello to milk protein film.
To help curb the globe’s reliance on plastic for storing and saving meat, U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers announced the creation of a new biodegradable film in August, which is made of the milk protein casein.
The edible film is estimated to be 500 times better than plastic package at retaining meat fresh, retaining oxygen away from meat more effectively.
4. A bot that helps low-income households opposed eviction
When expensive solicitors won’t fit your budget, get legal aid can seem impossible. But that’s where robots come in.
Stanford undergrad Joshua Browder released a bot called DoNotPay in August, which helps those unable to render legal aid fight evictions.
To use DoNotPay, a person facing expulsion has a simple instant message-like speech with the bot, which acts as a virtual solicitor. Based on the conversation, the bot deciding that to better serve the user, generally crafting a claims note based on the information provided.
Through this computerized consulting process, the DoNotPay bot can potentially help low-income consumers save hundreds of dollars in legal fees.
5. A prosthetic that can be custom-molded in two hours
Molding a custom-built prosthetic generally takes several weeks, numerous appointments and lots of money. For low-income amputees worldwide, access to these prosthetics is simply impossible. In fact, 80% of amputees worldwide go without modern prosthetics.
German startup AMPARO developed alternative solutions, drastically simplifying the process of custom-fitting a prosthetic to an artificial extremity. The invention, dubbed the Dignity Socket, is re-moldable, with the ability to adjust to big or small changes in extremity size for more solace. It can also be custom-molded to a wearer in as few as two hours.
The prosthetic was one of three winners at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Innovation Showcase in June.
6. A massive machine that cleanses coastlines
An ocean-cleaning invention eventually became a reality in 2016 after five years of research, prototypes and creativity.
Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat first proposed an ocean cleanup machine at simply 17 years old. But a prototype of the buoyant boom-like machine called Boomy McBoomface was ultimately put into action in June, thanks to more than $10 million in funding.
Slat’s device swims along a coast and develops an artificial coastline, catching debris on the surface of the ocean. A connected conveyer then lifts the garbage into a central tower, where it is sorted for disposal.
7. The high-tech toy helping autistic infants socialize
Leka is direction more than a cute-as-can-be smart toy. The interactive and multi-sensory machine is more like a sidekick specially designed for autistic infants, encouraging them to develop autonomy through independent play.
The round toy play-acts voices and music, communicates, ignites up, and vibrates to involve children placed in multi-sensory activities. Leka is also customizable, which intends it can be tailored to fit a child’s needs and comfort.
The toy completed a successful Indiegogo campaign over the summer, elevating more than 152% of its goal.
8. A reversible tent that offer shelter to homeless populations
For many homeless people, one of the biggest challenges of living without stable shelter is confronting extreme weather.
WeatherHYDE is a reversible tent that safeguards homeless populations and families in developing nations against all types of weather. One side of the tent features reflective panels, which refrigerates the interior down in extreme hot. The other side be protected against severe cold by insulating the tent, trapping in body heat to warm up the interior.
A Kickstarter campaignto fund production and distribution of 500 tents to families in need move throughout November, receiving more than $145,000 worth of funding.
9. A machine that helps the Deaf community see danger
If an alarm is meant to indicate danger, what happens when you can’t hear the notification? It is very dangerous or even deadly.
Furenexo, a startup are stationed in New York, launched a Kickstarter campaign in July to build SoundSense, a small wearable that is designed to help deaf individuals see loud clangs and alerts. The machine is triggered by cautioning clangs, like sirens and car horns, transforming the audio notifies into felt vibrations.
The device will simply cost $30 significantly lower than similar devices.
10. The biodegradable six-pack hoops that feed sea life
Sick of realise sad sea creatures stuck in plastic six-pack hoops? You and your aquatic friends are in luck.
Florida-based Saltwater Brewery devised a biodegradable and compostable version of the classic plastic hoops that attains employ of their natural brewing byproducts, like wheat and barley. The best part: The hoops are also edible, meaning sea life can munch on them without fear.
The six-pack hoops went viral in May, when the prototype was first announced.
11. The$ 1 feeding bowl that is saving infants’ lives
If an babe in a developing commonwealth can’t nanny, they’re at high risk of malnutrition, or even demise. But a brand-new invention costing mere pocket change has the potential to change that.
The NIFTY bowl, a simple innovation that costs simply$ 1, awards babies who can’t fasten with the ability to feed. The bowl features a spout that compiles milk from “the worlds largest” receptacle designed to fit an infant’s mouth.
The cup was designed through a collaboration between global health company PATH, the University of Washington and Seattle Childrens Hospital. It was announced at the Women Deliver seminar in Copenhagen in early May.
12. The machine designed to destroy your iPhone for social good
In March, Apple announced the creation of Liam, a 29 -arm robot with destructive predispositions. Specifically, Liam was designed to tear apart your iPhone into recyclable and reusable portions with impressive precision.
Liam can disassemble an iPhone in only 11 seconds, sorting basic portions into fragments that can be sold, recycled or reused. One Liam device can disassemble about 1. two million iPhones over the course of a year.
Mass distribution of the machines to Apple spots are in the works as part of the company’s environmental liability commitment.
13. The edible utensils that can supersede plastic cutlery
Thanks to Indian corporation Bakeys, you are able to have your spoonful and eat it, too.
The company developed edible spoonfuls make use of rice, wheat or sorghum to assist curb plastic squander. The cutlery, which has a shelf life of two years, be coming back flavored potpourruss such as ginger-garlic and cumin. The spoonfuls can even hold hot liquids, like soup, without dissolving.
The company launched a Kickstarter campaign in early 2016 to raise money for distribution in communities throughout India, elevating practically $150,000.
14. Sidewalk traffic light for those glued to their phones
Let’s face it: You simply can’t be trusted to peel your eyes away from your phone even when spanning the street.
That’s why German public transport provider Stadtwerke Augsburg embedded traffic light in some metropoli crosswalks around the country in April. The corporation hopes the brand-new ignites will help tech-focused pedestrians to cross streets security even if they refuse to look up.
15. The futuristic heightened bus hoping to curb pollution
In May, China’s top technologists unveiled a prototype of a massive bus that hovers over vehicles on the road. The invention which was created to maximize street space, cut down on traffic jams and reduction pollution promptly went viral for its show-stopping design.
The electric-powered Transit Elevated Bus is operating in rails, committing it the ability to drive over vehicles on standard streets. Each vehicle can hold a staggering 1,200 passengers, and the impressive structure is cheaper and faster to build than existing public transport options.
However, with some design and safety roadblocks still in accordance with the rules, new innovations still has a long way to go before hitting metropoli streets.
16. The simple Zika test that is revolutionizing diagnoses
The Zika epidemic, which spanned 2015 to 2016, had the world on edge and researchers madly working toward answers. One innovation to come out of the outbreak was a low-cost Zika test created by MIT researchers.
While traditional exams may take days, MIT researchers announcedthe brand-new creation that takes only three hours. The paper-based exam features a series of purple dots that turn yellow when exposed to blood tests containing the virus. And it simply expenses $1.
17. The robotic utensils helping people with physical disabilities eat independently
New robotic utensils are helping people with limited mobility regain mealtime independence.
The line, called Liftware, features two utensils individually designed to help with hand tremors, limited reach and other mobility preconditions. And it’s all through high-tech sensors, information technology and motors that fit into a tiny spoon.
The utensils can be used with spoonful or fork affections, and were specially designed for those living with cerebral palsy, spinal cord traumata, Parkinson’s disease and post-stroke mobility issues.
The utensils are currently available for $195.
18. The structure helping refugees pay for meat with a blink of an eye
The United Nations World Food Programme, which addresses meat be necessary for refugee populations, launched a brand-new structure in February that uses iris searches to share food assistance to Syrian refugees.
The system simply expects scanning the eyes of refugees at checkout while shopping for groceries. Utilized in several refugee camps in Jordan, the scanning system offer greater safety and security than standard electronic pay cards, which can easily lost touch, stolen or misused.
19. The Facebook tool helping users connect during disasters
In the aftermath of a disaster, obtaining meat, ocean and shelter can be incredibly difficult, particularly for low-income communities.
A Facebook tool called Community Help, which was announced at the Facebook Social Good Forum in November, hopes to close these cracks by connecting those in need to crucials like meat, ocean, transportation and shelter. The brand-new feature will pop up after a consumer checks in as “safe” through Safety Check, allowing users in the area to connect with others who are offering or looking for help after a disaster.
The feature was formally roll out to Facebook consumers in January 2017.
20. A sturdy condom that refuses to rip
LELO HEX condoms are upping the safer sexuality game by providing stronger, more durable condoms with less danger of tears.
The condom which has been seven years in the making employs a hexagonal motif to mold to the wearer, withstanding more stress and friction than traditional condoms. The inventors hope it will be delivered wearers with a most secure, more pleasurable option for contraception.
The condom became available for acquisition over the summer through an Indiegogo campaign.
21. An ingenious no-electricity cooler constructed with plastic bottles
Do you have a few plastic bottles lying around? Then you are able to make an air conditioner really.
Eco-Cooler is a low-cost cooling system designed for developing regions. It’s fabricated from halved plastic bottles inserted into a grid-like committee, which is then installed in a shack like a window pane.
Each bottle’s neck compiles and compresses breath from hot breaths, cooling it down dramatically. The invention can plummet temperatures inside a shack as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Several rural communities in Bangladesh have already implemented the system, which is an eco-friendly solution for communities absence electrical access.
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