Great Inventions Can Be Small

17 Nov 2010|Leigh Marinner

Time Magazine just published a list of the 50 Best Inventions of 2010.  It shows how many opportunities for innovation exist.  It reminds me of when I was young and imagined inventing all kinds of things. But in the interim inventions have often come to seem like huge undertakings.  This list just goes to show you can still break a particular problem down and invent a small piece that can have a huge impact.

One of my favorites is the EyeWriter which allows people with muscular degenerative diseases to translate eye movements into writing and drawing.  Having a good friend who had to do this for hours a day for her husband with ALS convinces me this could change lives.  I also personally love Flipboard for the iPad – just compare the Facebook experience on Flipboard and in Facebook’s app.  Flipboard’s magazine-style presentation is much more compelling.

Another great idea is Sarcasm Detection.  This is a big problem for social media analysis engines which have trouble distinguishing positive and negative comments.  It could also be useful for autistic kids who often can’t identify sarcasm.

Here’s my current list of needed inventions.  What’s yours?

  • Airport bathroom stall doors that open outward so you can maneuver your bag into the stall easily
  • A way to keep a raincoat hood firmly on your head in windy and rainy conditions
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