Disproportionate use of innovation

Ever since I finished reading ‚Sapiens, a brief history of humankind‘ a month ago, I am bookless.

Yuval Harari’s book had been incredibly inspiring. It gave me enormous food for thought and incentive for discussions with friends and colleagues.

In my search for the next awesome piece to read and get inspired, I came across some recommendations that blew my mind in a different way.

It’s hard to believe that I could get so excited about technology. But then, it isn’t so much the technology that did it, but the thinking behind it. The level of resourceful creativity, which the human mind is capable of, is dazzling. The results that come of it, when people are determined, are fascinating.

Using discarded dialyzers to filter contaminated water and turn it into drinking water makes me go „WOW!“ It’s a simple solution that solves a severe global problem and eliminates another one at the same time.

Here’s what NUF does: The company takes discarded artificial kidneys, sterilizes them and reassembles them. That’s all. Artificial kidneys or dialyzers are sophisticated blood filters, cleaning the blood of harmful chemicals. These are used once and then discarded. There are 125 Million of these devices ditched yearly in the world.

By recycling them the problem of waste is solved as a byproduct of providing clean water in regions where there is none.

A university professor from the faculty of medicine at Tel Aviv University, Israel came up with this terrific idea. He filed a patent for his invention and approached an entrepreneur with experience in water technologies. The project went on its way.

A simple pump with only one dialyzer can purify 50 to 200 liters of water in just one hour! The recycled method costs a fraction of an equivalent completely new equipment. I can only begin to imagine the impact the system can have in countless areas of life.

It can be used for agriculture, industry and public health. Even in private gardening or pools can the device be put to work. The recycled filters can ensure healthier conditions for life and change life expectancy for people in Africa and other regions suffering from water shortage. View the website of NUF.

I stumbled upon this in a book recommendation on israel21c, the website of an NGO focusing on technology, innovation and other good news from Israel. The featured book is: “Solution Nation – One country is disproportionately responding to the world’s most intractable problems” by David Wanetick.

If you think this sounds vain, then you probably need to read the book, or at least this introduction, featuring only 10 of the 62 incredible technologies covered in the book. The focus is on inventions aimed at improving and saving lives. The solutions offered by the Israeli companies address critical health issues, water supply, environmental pollution, fire safety and more.

Another recent book that discusses some of Israel’s main technologic achievements is “Thou shalt innovate” by Avi Jorisch. The focus of this book – from what I understand – is more on the philosophy and thinking behind the innovative spirit that is particularly strong in Israel. Jorisch presents some of the more famous israeli technologies like Drip Irrigation, Iron Dome and ReWalk and more. Read a short review.

Here are two additional recent innovations, I find mind-boggling.

Senecio addresses the challenge of mosquitos as disease carriers. I had no idea how huge the problem is and how many people die each year from diseases that are transferred by the insects. The method they use is not new. Sterile male mosquitos are released in an area where infected mosquitos are spreading disease.

„What’s so amazing about this,“ You ask? So did I. Well, Senecio has developed a fully automated technology to disperse the fragile insects by plane. I only understood how amazing this is when I realized what the challenges are and what difference it makes.

First of all, it is possible to reach areas that can’t be reached by vehicles and the covered area is much larger. Secondly, the number of insects that can be released is significantly higher. But, at what speed can the plane fly without harming the tiny mosquitos? How does one make sure to release just the right number? How can they be packed, so that the right number is released at the correct frequency?

The company has solved all these and more and increased efficiency of the method to stop the spreading of disease and save lives.

Another invention that got me excited enables people with missing limbs to use a smart device. It took someone who experienced not being able to use one of his limbs following an injury suffered during his military service in Israel to be passionate enough. The hardship Aryeh Katz endured during his recovery drove him to search for a solution.

Together with his wife, an industrial designer, the electric engineer developed a bracelet, which functions as a cursor for computers and smartphones. They founded the start-up company 6Degrees.

The bracelet enables adults and children with a variety of disabilities to use computers, tablets, and smartphones or any device with Bluetooth capabilities.

Reading these stories made me feel hopeful.

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