The world is filled with bright minds working tirelessly to improve every facet of life. Read more below about some of the most beneficial creations that seemingly slipped under the radar for most of us.

1.      Surgical Retractors

Many of us not working in the medical field will never give much thought to what goes on during surgery, but innovations are happening near-constantly around the world in order to ensure our safety when the time comes for us to undergo a procedure. 

Surgical retractors are used in operating rooms around the world to ensure that the surgeon has a clear field of vision, unhindered by soft tissue or the patient’s other internal organs. Recent innovations from June Medical have built upon the success of the Lone Star retractor to enable the surgeon to easily adjust it for themselves, and always ensure a clear line of sight throughout the entire procedure.

2.      A Road-Laying Machine

Replacing damaged pavements and potholed roads is incredible time-consuming, which means that it is also costly. A machine capable of sorting a pile of bricks into a precise, interlocking pattern in minutes has been created to ensure that work goes off as quickly as possible.

3.      The ‘Blackest’ Black

The black inks and paints we use each day, while they may appear black, are not always terribly effective at absorbing light. This is why it can be difficult, for instance, to match supposedly black pieces of clothing, as they all fall in at varying degrees of darkness.

One company managed to create a black pain that absorbs over 99.9% of visible light and, when compared with the standard black pigments the rest of us are using, demonstrates quite how far from ‘true black’ they all are.

While it makes a great statement in artworks, it also holds applications for thermal camouflage and improving solar power technology.

4.      The ISS Toilet

The International Space Station is a little different to the usual hotels and B&Bs we faced on our last business trips, and, although it boasts some spectacular views, the facilities leave something to be desired.

Namely, gravity. Without anything there to keep objects (or people) down, the usual W.C. setup simply doesn’t work. And, while the ISS toilet has experienced a number of issues in the past, from gravity-defying waste to a complete breakdown, it represents an incredibly advanced technology devised collectively by some of the greatest minds around the world.

Not only can it convert around 80% of the astronauts’ urine into drinking water, but it can also exert vacuum pressures strong enough to kill bacteria.

5.      Biodegradable Art

There are many ways we can all work to reduce the impact our lives have on the environment, and the art world is no exception. Artists like Andrea Ling are pioneering sustainability within the art world by working to create pieces that will naturally breakdown over time, and prove that giving back to nature can be beautiful in and of itself.

6.      Purification Straws

In many areas around the world, people still don’t have access to clean water, and companies like LifeStraws are pioneering new, convenient ways of ensuring that otherwise dirty water can be made drinkable in seconds. This offers a lifeline to millions of people for whom getting enough to drink is a daily struggle.

7.      The Space Pen

Another astronaut staple. The myth goes that millions were spent on devising a pen that can write in zero gravity, only for the Russians to use a pencil, but graphite poses its own risks in zero gravity. An advanced Space Pen continues to be used on board shuttles and the ISS to this day.

8.      “Smart” Spoon

For those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, seemingly simple tasks can be incredibly difficult. The smart spoon features incredibly complex self-levelling technology, which means that anyone who struggles from persistent tremors can continue to eat un-aided.

9.      The Zero Energy Refrigerator

Our fridges have been a household essential for around a century, and we have seen massive improvements to their ability to keep our food cool and unspoiled in that time. Now, we can look ahead to the future of refrigerator technology; rather than using electricity to cool your food, it suspends items in biopolymer gel to keep them at the right temperature.

10.   Air-Purifying Headphones

While Dyson’s intentions to make a portable air-purifying pair of headphones only exists in a patent application at this stage, the notion of being able to filter polluted air when we are out and about is incredibly exciting. Of course, many patents are filed but never actualised, but it demonstrates how keen manufacturers are to ensure that we have ways of avoiding the impact of air pollution not only when we are at home, but when we are on the go, too. 

Author's Bio: 

Marina Pal is a renowned author and social media enthusiast.