10 Most Brilliant Inventions of 2007 - R&D Magazine
5. A Future With Cleaner Water
Musically, you may be partial to heavy metal, but few of us care for it in our drinking water. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has developed a Functionalized Nanoporous Thin Film (FNTF) that behaves like fly paper in attracting the metals in a sample of water. When the FNTF is removed from water, x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) can then be used to identify the metals on the film. The combination of these technologies makes identifying almost every heavy metal identifiable, even when present in minute quantities.
6. Let Pilots See Where They're Going!
It's a bit disconcerting to think that your airline pilot can't see where he's going. Now, it turns out that not being able to see what's ahead when taking off and landing may indeed be the cause of some airline accidents (ahem).
The Integrated Primary Flight Display, developed by Honeywell International, is anticipated to greatly improve a pilot's ability to avert other planes, as well as obstacles on the ground. Cool. "Honeywell's Enhanced Ground, Proximity Warning System database-a tool that uses a worldwide terrain and obstacle database along with GPS navigation or other input-which draws a computer-generated picture of the landscape outside the cockpit and alerts pilots if they are approaching an obstacle too closely. And in an effort to ensure the accuracy of the terrain data, Honeywell continuously updates the data using feedback from users who have flown more than 750 million flight hours on more than 35,000 commercial aircraft."
7. Signing Made Easy
Motorola Inc. has developed a technique to make advertising grab you whether you want it to or not. While not subliminal, this technique is subtle, employing special inks and paper thin printed circuits to make words and objects stand out more than others. The Motorola Printed Active Display can be used on posters and packaging, on the surface of most commonly used media. It's not that I don't get enough advertising, but think of the various safety uses of this technology... perhaps medical alerts, driving lanes, print for vision-impaired persons. Here's hoping that this quickly becomes a technology transferred!