These 15 patents changed the world, from quadcopters to bionic eyes.

Forget the lonely inventor in a workshop. Today, multiple technologies developed by different inventors.

"Electromagnetic inductive suspension & stabilising system for a ground vehicle" Eric Laithwaite's full-size linear induction motors inspired the maglev train.

Magnetic Levitation (Maglev)

The 21st century's signature device has a vague patent. Apple's first iPhone patent describes it as a "ornamental design of an electronic gadget."

iPhone

Nicholas Yagin invented the first exoskeleton in 1890. Compressed gas helped the unpowered exoskeleton move. The U.S. military launched GE's Hardiman powered exoskeleton in the 1960s.

Exoskeleton

The quadcopter drone that buzzes above parks & annoys planes was patented in 1962. Edward G. Vanderlip, a Piasecki Aircraft Corporation engineer, discovered a means for a helicopter's instruments to work without power.

Quadcopter Drone

3D-printer

1986's 3D-printer patent was ahead of its time. The document explains stereolithography, or light-solidification of resin, utilized by most 3D printers.

In 1968, G. S. Brindley and W. S. Lewin implanted a device in a 52-year-old blind patient. The patient's optical lobe, not his eye, was implanted with the electronic gadget.

Eye bionic

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