They are flying across oceans without fuel, giving ordinary people super strength, and growing crops in the desert. Here is the story of three innovators who are changing the world. But we didn’t get there in one day. Each invention is built on a history of extraordinary human achievements – many of which are enshrined today in ISO standards.
By offering a solid base, a common language and a layer of confidence, ISO standards help our greatest minds to concentrate on pushing the limits and taking us to new places.
Flying without fuel – Solar Impulse
When the Wright brothers built the first airplane, they never dreamt that we would one day use their invention to cross oceans. Today, Solar Impulse has completed the first round-the-world solar flight without fuel or polluting emissions, using only the power of the sun. But as André Borschberg tells us, the technology they use is not revolutionary; what’s revolutionary is how they put it together.
ISO standards played a role in these developments by enabling engineers from different backgrounds to work together, understand each other across industries, and source parts and technology.
Cyborg-type robots – Cyberdyne
People with gait disorders may no longer be confined to wheelchairs thanks to an innovative wearable robot. It can also give ordinary people a kind of “super strength” by reducing the stress on the person's back so they can lift weights a lot more times than they normally would without hurting themselves. The cyborg-type device brings together human and robot into what has been dubbed “the first cyborg”.
When Cyberdyne started out, it took a big risk investing in a completely new area without the assurance that it would be considered safe. That’s where ISO came in, bringing together some of the world’s top experts in robotics to develop the first International Standard for personal care robots. As for Cyberdyne, it could use the standard to guide the design process from the ground up.
Growing crops a drop at a time – Netafim
Water scarcity and desertification are among the biggest problems our world is facing today. But there is hope. Netafim has developed a technology to grow more with less using available resources to the limit. They can deliver nutrients directly to the roots, at the right moment, one drop at a time.
Drip irrigation has been used in large-scale farms in developed countries with great success – but how can we make this technology accessible to those who need it most? ISO standards can help. As a great source of knowledge available to all, they enable markets to become more competitive, and thus more affordable to the poorest countries.