R&D Magazine has sponsored the "Oscars of Inventions" for 45 years. These research and design awards are coveted by government as well as private industry inventors. The 100 winners selected by R&D Magazine for 2007 are stunning innovations - resourceful, effective, inspiring. A significant portion of the 2007 awards are homeland security/military innovations; others are environmental, health, and there's even innovations for kids, like a must-have-Holiday-toy robot! Here are my picks for the top 10 inventions from R & D Magazine's list of the best of 2007:
1. Air Conditioner That Controls Superbugs
The Kunne air conditioning system is the first of its kind to control heat and humidity at the same time, thereby helping to prevent "sick buildings," those that make us sick just by visiting or working in them. This system does not have a filter or anything else that may hold germs and is self-cleaning. By Palm Beach R&D . Hopefully, this system will be implemented by hospitals, so those with weak immunities can avoid the dreaded superbug as well.
2. No More Blood Tests!Electro Needle Biomedical Sensor Array
Some of the 2007 awards have gone to inventions that seem just short of miraculous and the Electro Needle Biomedical Sensor Array comes close. This is a small patch device with electro-chemically treated probes. When the patch is applied to the skin, it has the ability to ascertain chemical readings present in a patient's blood without having to withdraw any blood. Thus, readings such as "carbohydrates, electrolytes, lipids, enzymes, toxins, proteins, viruses, and bacteria can be detected in a patient's blood or interstitial cellular fluid." No more searching for "good" veins? You mean no more vials and vials and vials taken? One great step for medicine; 15 great steps for the sick folks in the emergency room. Developed by the Sandia National Laboratories.
3. Troops Can Detect Surrounding ChemicalsHapsite Viper Chemical Identification System
Chemical detection ability is extremely important t our troops, and this HAPSITE Viper Chemical Identification System uses infrared technology to improve the identification of toxic substances and chemical warfare agents (CWA's) in the environment in a matter of a few minutes. The Hapsite System that can be used inside a vehicle as well as in open space, is one thousand times more sensitive than NATO requirements for such a system, affording greater safety to troops and civilians in the area. Inficon won an R&D environmental award for the system, just one of several detection devices made by the company.
4. Homeland Chemical DetectionMillimeter-Wave Spectrometer for Remote Chemical Detection
Another environmental innovation in CWA technology, the Passive Millimeter-Wave Spectrometer for Remote Chemical Detection was developed by four scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois This somewhat larger device can detect harmful nuclear waste from several miles away. Focusing, let's say, on a plume of smoke from a processing plant, the spectrometer can detect the levels of environmentally dangerous particles in the smoke. For use in the U.S., this system is seen to be a boost to Homeland Security efforts and one that may have several other applications in the future.