Every year, engineers manage to pull some truly wonderful inventions out of the bag, but a massive proportion of the world never really hears about them. 2014 was just such a year, with standout feats and clever inventions galore. As we’re early in the New Year, we thought that it would be nice to take a look back over the last 12 months, and flag up some of the engineering projects that we’ve come across. There are too many to provide a comprehensive list, but here are some favourites…
Landing on a Comet
Probably the most well-known engineering story of the year, the European Space Agency made history with their Rosetta mission. 10 years in the making, this was the first time a landing has been achieved on a comet, and was made all the more dramatic by the need to recharge the probe when it ‘bounced’ into a patch of shade. This was definitely a standout engineering triumph during 2014.
Germ Zapping Robots
Inventions that save lives are always exciting, and a curious story arose concerning a robot that ‘zaps’ germs. Using UV radiation, this Xenex creation has huge scope for controlling the Ebola virus, and it has already seen limited use in US hospitals. Here’s hoping the project keeps pushing on.
Early in the year saw a cancer diagnosis test being invented that was actually affordable. The idea is based around a simple paper test, and is suitable to be used even within locations with very poor medical infrastructure. Another great development, now we just need them to start rolling out…
From the wacky to the serious, 2014 was a busy year for engineers. Other inventions included…
- A device that can be attached to a garden fork to artificially apply extra pressure and force.
- A new, ultra-visible, rear lighting system for cyclists to prevent casualties on the roads.
- An artificial pancreas that doesn’t depend on electronic controls to function properly.
- A smart bed that massages the user and also boasts climate control and full connectivity.
- A portable door jammer to increase the security of hotel and travel lodge residents.
- A new syringe-based military remedy named ‘Xstat’ that swiftly clots bleeding wounds.
- A prototype engine that runs off liquid air. Testing should occur soon, so watch this space!
- A bicycle helmet that offers premier protection, but also collapses for easier storage.
- A 100% recycled computer mouse that is powered by the kinetic energy around it.
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