PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, December 2, 2011

Best Inventions Of 2011: From Malaria Vaccine To Siri

Siri, the new virtual assistant, on the new Apple iPhone 4S. (AP)

From the digital personal assistant, Siri, to clothes made from milk, a malaria vaccine that’s still in testing and a MRI that can recreate pictures of your dreams – 2011 has seen a number of inventions that range from the ingenious to the downright weird. Time Magazine is out with a list of the 50 best.

Here are some picks from the list.

1.) The surveillance hummingbird– Engineers at AeroVironment created the Nano Air Vehicle, a surveillance prototype, wingspan 16.5 centimeters, designed to mimic a hummingbirds flight. It cost $4 million and is remote-controlled.

2.) Malaria vaccine: A team at Glaxo-SmithKline has found a malaria-vaccine candidate, it’s in the trial stages of testing but is showing success at cutting the chances of a child contracting malaria by 50 percent. At this rate, it could be on the market in 2015.

3.) Better batteries: Researchers at PolyPlus have created a working lithium-water battery that could provide more energy than the standard lithium-ion battery in your phone.

4.) Stem cells from fat: Instead of throwing it out, fat that’s vacuumed out during liposuction could be transformed into heart cells to compensate for dying tissue. Fat contains stem cells that can be turned into heart muscle in a lab dish, and now researchers have developed a method for extracting stem cells from a liposuction sample.

5.) Clothes made from milk: A German biologist and fashion designer named Anke Domaske has found a way to create clothing using a material that’s made from sour milk. He extracts protein fibers from the milk, and spins it into yarn!

What inventions do you think were the best of 2011? Post them in our comments section or on our Facebook page.

Note: Time Magazine requires readers to subscribe to see the entire list. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

Peter O’Dowd follows the route of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train 150 years ago, to look at modern-day race relations and Lincoln's legacy.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

May 21 6 Comments

YouTube Sensation Publishes Her First Cookbook

Maangchi's career was born when her son suggested she start making videos of herself cooking Korean dishes.

May 21 17 Comments

UC’s Napolitano Speaks Out On High Cost Of Public Ed, Anti-Semitism On Campus

Janet Napolitano talks about a plan to freeze in-state tuition, and campus protests against Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

May 20 Comment

‘Finding The Good’ Through Obituary Writing

Journalist Heather Lende has been writing obituaries in the small town of Haines, Alaska, for 20 years.

May 20 3 Comments

Pandas’ Bamboo Diet May Endanger Them

New research examining the genetics of panda waste shows they would be better suited to eat meat than plants.