Special Report

50 Things You Never Knew Were Invented by Women

Source: Arno Hollosi / Wikimedia Commons

46. Blissymbol printer
> Inventor: Rachel Zimmerman
> Year / period: 1984

At only 12 years old, Zimmerman invented software that allows people with speech disabilities to communicate non-verbally by using symbols on a touchpad that are then translated to written language.

Source: DragonImages / Getty Images

47. Laser cataract surgery
> Inventor: Patricia Bath
> Year / period: 1986

Bath’s patented Laserphaco Probe allows doctors to dissolve cataracts quickly and painlessly before applying new lenses to patients’ eyes. This technology is used worldwide to prevent blindness due to cataracts.

Source: Scott Bauer, USDA / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

48.Humane cattle restraints
> Inventor:Temple Grandin
> Year / period: 1990

Grandin’s innovative designs in the field of animal husbandry have led to calmer livestock and fewer injuries. She has developed numerous ways to handle cattle based on how they naturally behave, rather than on brute force. Her center track cattle restraint system is now used to manage about half of the cattle in the United States.

Source: Tim Boyle / Getty Images

49. Stem cell isolation
> Inventor: Ann Tsukamoto
> Year / period: 1991

A vital breakthrough in cancer research, Tsukamoto’s co-patented process of isolating human stem cells found in bone marrow has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Source: Courtesy of Sally Fox / VRESEIS LIMITED

50. Naturally colored cotton
> Inventor: Sally Fox
> Year / period: 1997

Before Fox’s innovative plant-breeding work, naturally colored cottons were rare, temperamental, and could only be picked and spun by hand. Her work has led to cottons that grow in an array of colors and that can be machine-harvested and spun. This allows for a drastic reduction in chemical and bleach processing, and the need for synthetic dyes.

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