Europe has always been an inventive place.
From the Rubiks Cube and the catalytic converter, to Concord and Dolly the Sheep, Europe has been a source of intriguing, useful and game-changing inventions for many generations.
Inventiveness is still highly prized, and with the newest European inventor Award winner, Chris Toumazou, being recently crowned, now is a good time to take stock of other recent European inventions and their potential impact.
What are some other recent European inventions and how do they show what inventions can do for the world and for business in Europe and beyond?
Offering a more streamlined approach
Toumazou's invention, a DNA test that can analyze an individual's genetic makeup within minutes without the need for lab work, has the potential to revolutionise healthcare and make delivering care quicker and more streamlined for healthcare providers.
As the following article shows, the quick DNA test is a great demonstration of what "How to Become a Successful Inventor" cites as the heart of every great invention: The need to solve a problem.
Toumazou has solved the problem of lengthy lab work and long waits for test results for a quicker, simpler DNA test that is more useful than its predecessors.
Healthcare providers can look forward to a quicker turn-around of patients for testing and more accurate patient mapping, which in turn means a more efficient use of their time and resources.
Giving consumers what they want
With cycling increasing in popularity yet only 20 percent or less of European cyclists wearing a helmet, inventors Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt saw the potential to make something to satisfy a gap in the market: Consumers who said they wanted to wear a helmet for safety, but were looking for something stylish and unobtrusive.
Alstin and Haupt invented an "invisible" cycle helmet.
Their see-through helmet is worn like a scarf and is triggered by the movement of the wearer during a fall or crash to inflate and cover their head. Tests show that it absorbs shock better than traditional helmets, proving that new inventions can find new ways to give consumers what they want and improve on what has come before.
Improving the environment
Inventor Luigi Cassar's unique self-cleaning concrete has wide-ranging implications for everything from business premises to the teams employed to keep cities clean and help combat pollution.
Cassar's specially constructed sunlight-activated concrete binds electrons in the building material and transforms them to nitrates, which are easily washed away by rainwater.
On top of that, the material actually reduces air pollution in the immediate vicinity by as much as 70 percent, and has now been incorporated into materials such as mortar and paint.
The concrete has the potential not only to make for more pleasant working environments with less toxins, but to help businesses offset their carbon footprint by reducing the air pollution their premises produces.
For contemporary European inventors, the combination of great ideas with the determination to see them through has led to innovations that have positive implications for businesses and consumers around the world.
If you have a great idea, don't dismiss it - you never know where the next big invention will come from.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including social media, SEO, European inventions and big ideas.