The world is continuously being transformed by technology. Companies and individuals are working day and night to come up with solutions to different problems facing the world.
The year 2015 witnessed a lot of innovations that changed and continue to change many lives across the world. Most inventions and innovations are always influenced by the desire to solve existential problems.
Below are some of the greatest innovations businesses brought to the world in 2015:
1. An algorithm that’s able to prevent HIV infections among the homeless youth
Statistics reveal that homelessness affects approximately 2 million people between the ages of 13 to 24 in the United States. To make matters worse, 11 percent of that population is HIV positive. But this problem was largely addressed by scientists and engineers at the University of Southern California who created an algorithm referred to as PSINet.
With the help of artificial intelligence, the algorithm is able to tell the best individual in a particular homeless community to disseminate vital information about the prevention of HIV. Since the technology was deployed, the number of HIV infections in homeless communities has significantly reduced.
2. A machine that turns poop into clean water
Clean water is still a major problem in both developed and developing countries. It is estimated that about 2.4 million people across the world were not able to access basic and safe water in 2015. This is a reflection of a big problem that the world continues to grapple with.
The desire to solve this problem is what prompted the Gates Foundation to try and find a solution. The company tasked engineers to use technology to come up with the best solution. A few months later, the CEO OF Janicki Bioenergy, Peter Janicki developed a machine that is able to turn sewer sludge into clean drinking water within minutes. Perhaps the next time your dog has an accident in their crate, you might see this as an opportunity rather than a nuisance.
3. A medical device that can seal wounds in less than a minute
The life-saving device was developed by an Oregon startup, RevMedX. The device known as XSTAT 30 is a syringe containing very small biocompatible sponges that can be injected in to absorb or suck out blood and seal it under one minute.
Although the device has been used by the military since early 2014, it was recently approved by the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) for general public use. It has a lot of benefits compared to traditional sutures.
4. Lamps powered by plants
This is another great innovation that businesses and entrepreneurs brought to the world in 2015. There are many people, especially in developing economies that don’t access to electricity. For instance, 42 percent of rural dwellers in the Peruvian Jungle don’t have electricity.
In a bid to solve the problem, the University of Ingenieria Technologia (UTEC) developed plantalamparas – a type of lamp that uses plant power to run. During photosynthesis, the byproducts decompose in the soil – releasing electrons during the oxidation process. The team at UTEC captures the electrons using the electrodes found inside the soil and store them in batteries.
5. The durable flat-pack housing
The Better Shelter is a temporary shelter that was specifically created for refugees and has a lifespan of at least three years. It is in form of flat packs to allow non-governmental organizations to transport them around easily. The shelter doesn’t require any tools to be assembled.
The shelter pack is also designed with the needs of the family in mind. Each one of them has a lamp and solar panel for lighting.
Better Shelter was able to collaborate with the U.N refugee agency UNHCR alongside IKEA Foundation to deploy the shelters in countries with the highest number of refugees like Greece.