Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • 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

Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.