Australia is responsible for some life-changing (and saving) inventions. We’re pretty chuffed to claim these ones…
1. The ute
In 1932 a Victorian farmer’s wife wrote to Ford Motor Company asking “Why don’t you build people like us a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday, and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays?” In response, Ford designer Lew Bandt developed the ‘coupe utility’, the first model of the now iconic vehicle.
2. Hills Hoist
While not the first rotary clothes hoist invented – in 1912 Gilbert Toyne patented a wind-up clothes hoist that is often credited as being the first in Australia – it was the 1948 Hills Hoist that became the iconic backyard fixture widely recognised as a symbol of Australian suburbia. The Hills Hoist has also functioned as an art piece and in the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
3. Black box flight recorder
Perhaps prompted by our geographical isolation, Australians are responsible for many transport-related innovations. The black box flight recorder keeps flight data and a recording of cockpit conversations in a durable box built to withstand a crash to enable the replay of the final moments for analysis. Invented by chemist Dave Warren in 1958, the black box — which is actually orange — is now installed in commercial planes worldwide.
In 1961 David Robinson and George Kossoff built the first commercially practical ultrasound scanner after doctors became concerned about the effect of x-rays on pregnant women. Its technical superiority to other ultrasound machines revolutionised the use of the technology in medicine, which is now used to diagnose problems of the breast, abdomen and reproductive organs as well as giving expecting parents vision of the foetus
5. Wi-Fi technology
Researcher John O’Sullivan of the CSIRO was looking for exploding black holes when he came up with the basis for Wi-Fi. By the time the patent expired in November 2013 the CSIRO had earned over $430 million in royalties and settlements arising from the use of this technology, which is in more than five billion devices worldwide.