Innovations, by their very nature, are designed to improve quality of life. Remote controls, the Segway, the Keurig single-serve coffee makers – these are all examples of inventions that have helped make our lives a little better.
But improving quality of life doesn’t always mean focusing on making life easier or more enjoyable. Sometimes it’s about helping to save lives.
That’s exactly what one well-known company has done in Argentina.
On average, one person dies every hour, in Argentina, as a result of car accidents. A huge reason for this alarming statistic is the number of one-lane roads throughout the country. While one-lane roads don’t seem too dangerous, at first mention, consider the number of tractor-trailer trucks roaring down these one-lane roads at any given time.
Then, consider what it takes to pass these trucks: Drivers have to time their move perfectly so as not to collide with oncoming speeding traffic from the other lane. All too often, this becomes a recipe for disaster.
Samsung decided to integrate technology to come up with a viable solution. A new fleet of the company’s trucks are equipped with:
The result looks a whole lot like a “see through” truck. But what it actually is, is a way for drivers behind a truck to see the road ahead without having to risk their lives by swerving into the other lane.
Samsung’s use of technology may, very well, save lives. And they’re not the only ones using innovations for public good.
Improving the quality of life for people living in developing countries is always a challenge. But more and more companies are finding ways to positively contribute to changing the lives of people who might otherwise go unnoticed.
Take, for example, the Nonpneumatic antishock garment from Path. This garment was created in response to a statistic stating that nearly 72,000 new mothers are killed by postpartum hemorrhage each year.
The anti-shock garment was originated by NASA for use in space, but has been adapted for a more terrestrial purpose: it can slow excessive bleeding after childbirth and stabilize the new mother until she’s treated at an emergency care facility.
Most humans might not live on the ocean; however, that doesn’t mean the world’s oceans aren’t vital toward our health and security. Yet, carbon dioxide pollution is threatening sea life at an alarming rate. That’s where nanoengineers from the University of California in San Diego come into play. They’ve developed micromotors that move through water removing CO2 and converting it into usable material.
When we say nano, we really mean it. Each nano machine is smaller than the width of a human hair, but is able to remove up to 90% of carbon dioxide from water it swims through. This new innovation isn’t complete just yet. The California nanoengineers behind this invention are hoping to find a way for their micromotors to use the water itself as fuel so that they can become less expensive, more scalable, and environmentally friendly.
Folks who have multiple medications they take each day may struggle to make sure they’re taking the right dose, of the right pill, at the right time. That’s why T.J. Parker doesn’t use conventional bottles for his e-pharmacy any longer. Rather, his online pharmacy, PillPack, uses a dispenser. Every two weeks, patients are sent a dispenser that contains all of their medications. These meds are sorted into a ticker tape of easy-to-tear packets, organized by date and time. This new approach simplifies the medication-taking process, and reduces the incidents of overdosing or forgetting to take a prescribed medication.
Currently, the PillPack is only limited to patients with multiple prescriptions, but Parker’s ultimate goal is to make the pharmacy experience simply for everyone.
With companies such as Apple and Google always grabbing headlines for their latest innovations, it’s easy to forget that there are many big-name companies, and small, independent, creative thinkers, who are coming up with innovative ways to help save lives, not just make life easier and more fun.
Whether it’s a simple product that gives a third world family a fighting chance, or a nearly microscopic system that has the potential to save the world, innovators have the potential to change the way each of us live on this planet.