10 inventions the world really needs

One innovation the world didn’t need (Picture by x-ray delta one via flickr)

Innovation is quite the overused word these days. We have all these expectations, a demand for miracles and marvels. But honestly, who can blame us? The bar has been set so high.

Within just the 3 (and a half) decades of my life we’ve made huge leaps. The only phones were those that had to be plugged into a wall, and now we have tiny, handheld, colorful, touch smart phones we carry with us and can use nearly anywhere in the world. From records to MP3s, analog to digital and X-rays to 3D sonograms. You get the point – we have come a very long way in a very short amount of time.

There are theories floating around as to the reason why innovation has waned. Some say there aren’t enough engineers in the world (since maybe it isn’t the most desired profession), so perhaps there aren’t enough “doers” or “makers” in the world. Or maybe, it’s that we don’t collaborate the way we should.

But perhaps the issue isn’t that there aren’t enough doers and makers, but that there aren’t enough ideas?

In case that is the issue, we have put together a list of inventions we really think the world needs. Patrick will want to clone himself, no doubt (because one Patrick isn’t enough, apparently). Ilona will want to simplify her beauty regimen (Why not?) But in the end, our interest lies in making the world a better place (for us).

Ilona’s 5

1. “Take me home” – Time travel would be great. I would love to go back to when that mean girl in the 1st grade threw sand in my eyes in the sandbox for some revenge. But I don’t have a DeLorean time machine. Or Plutonium. But what if you could be transported back home? Anytime, from any place – always. If you could just say a magical word, like “mittens” and then suddenly, automatically be home. Standing in the cold, pouring rain, waiting for a taxi? Sitting in grueling highway traffic? Stranded due to weather delays? “Mittens!” Home.

2. “No more frizz” – Your hair has just been coiffed and styled to perfection. You have a special event to go to but it’s raining and humid outside. Add wind to the mix, and no umbrella or headscarf can save you. But a sprayed on protective helmet of sorts? Something no external factors could ever penetrate, for a certain time period. Stay salon beautiful, imagine that.

3. “Yes, I can” – Do you want to surprise your friends at the next party by playing a beautiful piece of music on the piano? Or learn to speak Arabic for your trip to Egypt? Cantonese? Or even Klingon? A chip that can be implanted easily, painlessly, without surgery could take care of that.

4. “Overhead traffic” – Flying cars. I’ve mentioned it before. It’s kind of a dream of mine ever since “The Jetsons” cartoon. We keep arguing over the most energy-efficient, practical cars to run on the ground, but I think we’re missing the mark here. Flying cars! Break it up a bit, some cars on the ground, some in the air. Less traffic? Check. Cool? Check. Childhood dream come to life? Check!

5. “Pause” – There was a U.S. television show called “Out of This World” in which the girl could pause time by just pointing her two index fingers at each other (everyone and everything around her would freeze), and then un-pause it by clapping her hands together once. In my opinion, the most powerful person in the world could control time. Endless possibilities. Want to sleep a bit? Pause. Get yourself out of a dangerous situation? Pause. Think about all of the things you could get done in a day if only you could stop time for a bit.

Patrick’s 5

Here are my top 5 things someone should invent. Naturally, I would build these things myself but hey, I’m a busy guy…

1. An everlasting smartphone battery (or at least one that survives more than a day). Once upon a time (in a not too distant past) I bought my first mobile phone. Back then phones did not have 5 inch screens and were equipped – at best – with infrared ports (remember when you had to aim two cell phones at each other to share one picture?) What these not-so-smartphones did have though were decent batteries. So one thing the world really needs are better batteries. In my opinion, that would be worth a Nobel Prize any day.

2. Tooth-cleaning chocolate. Coming from the country that quite clearly produces the best chocolate in the world, I spend a lot of my time thinking about (and devouring) this delicacy. Now I know they’ve already invented the temperature-tolerant chocolate, but just think about the benefits of tooth-cleaning-chocolate. Goodbye dentists, hello bedtime snacking! Clearly, an invention everyone has been waiting for.

3. The ultimate mind-reading device. In the romantic comedy blockbuster ‘What Women Want’ Mel Gibson can read the thoughts of every woman (of course, only after getting electrocuted while wearing women’s apparel, make-up, jewelry and listening to girly music). Not that the idea of being able to read minds would be a desirable one (let us just think about Ilona’s mind here for a second), but still, the mind-reading gadget would certainly be on my Christmas wish list.

4. The 6D printer. Now don’t ask me what exactly that would be (or do) – after all, I’m just brainstorming here. And NO, I didn’t mistype the number. (By the way, did you know that 4D printing and 5D printing are already talked about concepts?) In any case, a 6D printer would certainly be (much much much) better than any 3D or 4D printer. In fact, a 6D printer would be so revolutionary, it would redefine our way of living and society as a whole and enable us to do things our imagination cannot even begin to grasp at this moment in time (this is of course why it made it to my top 5 list here). In the end, I’m sure it’s something we’ll all want and need: The 6D printer.

5. A clone of myself. Hold on! I know exactly what you’re thinking right now, dear reader – out of all the incredible things on my list, this is probably the least realistic one. Because hey, let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to clone something amazing like me. Well, naturally, I agree with you. But then again, science is all about pushing the boundaries. Right?

So tell us: what’s on your list of inventions the world needs?

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About the author

Patrick Naumann and Ilona Braverman

Hi, I'm Ilona, and I am the Newsroom Manager with the corporate communications team. And I’m Patrick, and I work with Ilona. In this blog, we give a ‘his and hers’ perspective on all things in and out of ABB. Sometimes, only Patrick is right, and sometimes Ilona is just wrong. But together, we're keeping it fresh.
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