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  • Top tech breakthroughs of 2012

The year saw several technological discoveries with applications in development
Image credit: Flickr/Adventures at Kew

Potato batteries, wind-powered mine detectors, smart waterpumps… SciDev.Net revisits some of the best inventions of 2012.

Fascinating innovations come from around the world, and aim to tackle a range of development issues, from cutting the risk of disasters and disease, to helping people with disabilities access information and bringing energy to remote areas.

Maize farmer, Africa - Flickr/M. DeFreese/CIMMYT

Phase-changing materials in trial to preserve vaccines

Novel materials that fit inside a vaccine-carrying box could help prevent vaccines spoiling before use.

Maize farmer, Africa - Flickr/M. DeFreese/CIMMYT

Nipple device could deliver drugs to babies

A silicone nipple shield primed with medicines could help protect breastfeeding babies from HIV and other diseases.

Maize farmer, Africa - Flickr/M. DeFreese/CIMMYT

Potato and plantain batteries show promise

Researchers in Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka say potato and plantain are both strong candidates for producing cheap, efficient batteries.

Maize farmer, Africa - Flickr/M. DeFreese/CIMMYT

Indian designer develops Morse-based texting for deaf phone users

Hearing and sight impaired mobile phone users could benefit from a texting application based on Morse code.

Maize farmer, Africa - Flickr/M. DeFreese/CIMMYT

Earthquake-resistant table could save lives

A table designed to stay upright under a tonne of debris could provide shelter in an earthquake, say its Israeli designers.

Maize farmer, Africa - Flickr/M. DeFreese/CIMMYT

X-ray technology harnessed to grow more nutritious crops

Rwandan agriculture researchers are using an X-ray technique developed by the mining sector to improve the nutrition value of beans.

Maize farmer, Africa - Flickr/M. DeFreese/CIMMYT

Wind-powered landmine detector developed

An Afghan designer has invented a wind-powered mine detector that could significantly reduce the cost of clearing minefields.

Maize farmer, Africa - Flickr/M. DeFreese/CIMMYT

Students develop software to monitor unborn babies

A group of Ugandan students have hooked up a smartphone to a traditional listening horn to monitor babies in the womb.

Maize farmer, Africa - Flickr/M. DeFreese/CIMMYT

Radar technology 'could dramatically increase tsunami warning times'

Researchers in the US have unveiled new technology which could significantly increase tsunami detection capabilities.

Maize farmer, Africa - Flickr/M. DeFreese/CIMMYT

Researchers design 'smart' waterpumps for rural Africa

A UK team has developed 'smart' water pumps using mobile phone technology to communicate faults to engineers, to improve water access in Africa.

What article do you think is missing?

See also: Top controversies of 2012