Check out some of these awesome inventions from 2011

Here and Now

The pace of innovation continue to accelerate.

In 2011, Apple introduced Siri to its iPhone, a malaria vaccine was introduced and someone figured out how to make clothes from milk. No word on whether those clothes go sour.

As the end of the year draws near, Time magazine published its list of the 50 best inventions of the year and all three of those made it. Lev Grossman, lead technology writer for Time, said Apple often makes the list, but this year it also took time out to look at Apple founder Steve Jobs, who died this fall. Grossman calls him a remix artist.

“It’s almost become a pet-peeve of mine when people call Jobs an innovator or inventer. Jobs was a genius; he revolutionized four or five industries, depending on how you’re counting. What he was not was an inventer. He took other people’s inventions and refined them and perfected them,” he said.

Grossman said with Siri, it seems like it has really cracked a long-perplexing problems of how you use your voice to control technology.

“There isn’t any limit, really. Computers are really a lot smarter than us already, but if we can teach them how to talk to us, the sky is the limit,” he said.

Also potentially a major breakthrough this year, researchers at MIT seem to be close to developing a treatment for the common cold, and the flu.

And then there’s a baguette vending machine in Paris, imitation cat ears that express human emotions based on your brain waves and mind-reading software from UC-Berkeley.

“This is one of those inventions that you look at it and think there’s no limitation to how much it can change the world,” Grossman said.

The software works by developing an MRI image of a person’s brain, then shows them the picture, scans the brain again and extracts a copy of the image they’ve just seen.

“It’s of course a privacy nightmare, and yet also an astounding invention,” he said.

Other items on the list include a robot hummingbird for surveillance and a wand that uses electricity to put out fires.

“I’m very fond of people who are able to think in this strange, very counter-intuitive way. To look at a container of sour milk and say ‘yeah, I could probably sping a fabric out of that.’ Who thinks that? Nobody thinks that,” Grossman said. Except somebody does.

That somebody was 28-year-old German biologist and fashion designer Anke Domaske.

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