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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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See also: Top controversies of 2012

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