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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.


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

    You do this all the time.  You announce to go to your web page to “get the list of 50 greatest inventions>  Then there is no list and you just send people to Amazon to buy the book.

  • Cooperrp

    annoying not to be able to see the list of  inventions without becoming a subscriber to Time magazine….

    • Anonymous

      Hi @cooperrp and @ee703d1d9e6358460521847ff5a48276:disqus , We’ve very sorry we don’t have the list– we should have it shortly, we’re having some technical issues making it work properly. -Jill Ryan, H&N

      • Dustov

        Are the issues actually technical or are they more legal, as in Time will not allow you to republish the list nor allow visitors to this site access to Time features available only to Time subscribers?

      • Anonymous

        Hi Everyone, We have an abbreviated list above, I apologize that we cannot supply more. -Jill Ryan, H&N

  • D-gann

    I purchased the new iphone 4S with Siri in November. It is my first “smartphone” and I am very pleased.
    I researched for months, looking almost exclusively at phones with the Droid based OS. I had dismissed the iphone early on due to “antenna gate” and other user issues.
    Then along came the new 4S.
    Siri was a selling point, and is a wonderful feature, when it is working.
    I can set timers and reminders, send as well as listen to emails and text messages, and seem to find some new Siri capability every day.
    There are however periods, even when synced to wi-fi, that I get messages from Siri like; “I am very sorry about this but I can’t help you right now. Please try again later.
    I have updated to iOS 5.0.1, yet still get these type messages several times a week.
    That not withstanding, and as stated, I am very pleased with my selection, and believe that Apple will fix this glitch.
    I highly reccomend the 4S to all first time smartphone buyers.

  • jender

    Where’s the list? Deceptive reporting.

    • Susannah

      I found this. It was the closest I could get to the article.


    • Anonymous

      Hi @85563453216f9683c38ed632b8475d21:disqus @goodkid:disqus @83251d4795c936dc2aecaa07a4873f43:disqus @ceadef5ed002ffd0489908f914417916:disqus @ee703d1d9e6358460521847ff5a48276:disqus @830d2342ce8166f53f569ec822eea115:disqus @bb6979000852b05a831f3eaf5fd6cc04:disqus , Thanks for your interest in this story, unfortunately Time Magazine’s policy is that they cannot supply the list to those who are not subscribed. We didn’t realize this and made the mistake of promising the entire list– we’re very sorry for the inconvenience.
      -Jill Ryan, H&N

  • rakuman

    I agree – very deceptive!  No list!!!

  • why

    Why waste my time by having me look up a dead-end website?  Just tell us to buy the magazine for further information.  I won’t waste any more time by trying to figure out why you did this.  Your program, I like; this little exercise, not so much.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6IHV4MFIZSWLDYVHLMSSWKARZ4 Brennan511

    My invention is to efficiently EXTRACT these “great minds”. Intellectual diamonds from the political chaff.    From the geo-cultural furnce , their compassion still intact [don't! laugh...]
    Great minds don’t attack, but THE PATH is littered with crap, inspirational after-Math.
    The list is a fist… but the hand [of God???] connects brilliance to the staff.
    And rember even Tesla talked trash,;but his credit!!! was too late?_ to prove that God has no wrath.
    Allow the king and his flunkies to have a party fore…. inventions, disambiguate their intentions and COMPOUND their dissentions, this will conspire great inventions, but geo-parents object new dimentions that must refract.
    We don’t care about the HIGH SPEED FAME but a smooth 2-WAY track!!! a ticket and a wink, and of technolgy  LOVE WILL THINK. toooo ID the EPMty path.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RyanReichlin Ryan Reichlin
  • http://www.facebook.com/RyanReichlin Ryan Reichlin

    full list

  • Frankwharris
  • Wiljaj1

    Where’s the complete list???!!!! Why announce that there’s a list on your website when there’s no list!!!!

  • Kris

    I agree with many of the comments here.  Not to have the complete list is pretty bad after you tell us on the program to go to your website.  No donation this fund raiser. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/LisaMojica Lisa Harmon

    Dang,  Heard the interview on the radio while driving. Could’nt wait to share.  Maybe someone could ask Siri.  Unfortunately,  I’m about ” One oil lamp shy” of being Amish so… I don’t have a “smart” phone

  • Susan

    I listened to the program while driving through Mississippi.  One of the best things of 2011 mentioned was billed as the most relazing music ever made.  Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of the piece or artist.  Would love to find this info but can’t.  :(  Anyone?

    • G0odkid

      Ya I want that track title as well, anyone catch the name please post here?

  • Fletcher

    I listened to the show via the link on this page.  The song is “Weightless” by Marconi Union.  I could not find it on iTunes but you can google it and easily find it or download it from this link http://www.mp3ye.eu/1031146_marconi-union-weightless-mp3-download.html

    • Susan

      Thanks Fletcher.  I appreciate the info.

  • Dana

    There was a man with a flying yacht, he used a plane and built, with wings that act as sails when it’s in the water. The new light bulbs that will be released later this year, energy efficient and green. New solar panels, the picture showed them attached to a tent-like structure proving that they could be used in any area. A device that basically reads your brain. An invisible cloak for submarines that allow them to go within a certain amount of feet/distance without being detected by marine life (ie, invisible cloak). there were many others…

  • Pitching Machines

    He can come to my house for the milk,  I usually have at least 1 gallon spoiled every week.

  • Georgia

    this does not help is i cant see it :L

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