Top Engineering Inventions of 2015

This was a year filled with unbelievable electrical engineering innovations. In 2015, scientists pushed boundaries with new inventions that use exotic materials and, in some cases, even tested the laws of physics. We have compiled a list of the top ten inventions of 2015.

ENERGY HARVESTING

EMF Recycled Energy Power Source

A company called K3OPS developed a product that looks and acts like a regular battery, but is actually an energy harvesting device that converts “left over” electromagnetic fields into energy to power small electronic devices.

Energy Harvesting Window

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology invented self-powered glass that harvests energy from wind and rain. It uses triboelectric energy, which is based on the static electricity that is produced by friction when two materials touch.

PUBLIC SAFETY

RF Fire Extinguisher

Two George Mason University undergrads invented a device that uses sound waves to put out fires. They took advantage of the fact that sound waves are pressure waves, and at the right frequency, sound waves can agitate air enough to displace oxygen and extinguish flames.

Biometric Scanner

Iris scanning devices can ensure that no students are accidentally left behind on school buses. When children board the bus, their eyes are scanned, the students are identified by the system, and then bus drivers, school officials, and parents can then track students with a related app.

LIFE HACKS & JUST BECAUSE

Wi-Fi Optimizing App

A PhD student studying physics was fed up with the spotty internet in his apartment, so he used his mathematical expertise to determine the ideal location for his Wi-Fi router. He used Maxwell’s equations to develop an app that allows people to perform simulations to find the best location for routers in their own homes.

Conductive Ink Pen

Circuit Scribe is a pen that uses conductive ink, so you can draw circuits on regular paper (although it works a bit better on photo paper). Kits range from beginner to advanced, and the pens can be used to create flexible electronic devices.

MEDICAL

3D Models from MRI Scans

Electrical engineers from MIT partnered with doctors to develop a fast and accurate way to build personalized 3D models of human hearts. Their system converts MRI scans into physical models in just a few hours.

Smart Bandage

A new smart bandage containing flexible electronics can detect bed sores before they appear. Engineers printed dozens of golden electrodes onto thin, flexible film to create the bandage, which helps doctors provide treatment before too much damage occurs.

MILITARY & AEROSPACE

Mind-Controlled Flight Simulator

Earlier this year, a paralyzed woman controlled an F-35 flight with her mind. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) developed a system that sends thoughts to the simulator by a small sensor embedded in the brain.

Laser-Powered Jet Engine

Boeing patented an advanced propulsion method that uses lasers and nuclear explosions to power rockets, missiles, or spacecraft. The “laser-powered propulsion system” combines fusion, fission, and a turbine that generates electricity.

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