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13 Australian Inventions That Changed The World

Did you know an Aussie invented casked wine? Are you surprised? Check out these world-changing Australian inventions, and then head to Vivid Sydney to hear from Aussie innovators on what's next.

1. Google Maps

From 2003 to 2004, brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen developed the platform for Google Maps.

2. Wi-Fi


Dr John O'Sullivan led the CSIRO team that developed Wi-Fi in the early '90s.

3. Plastic Banknotes

Peterfz30 / Via

In 1988, the Reserve Bank of Australia (in collaboration with CSIRO) released polymer banknotes. The special Bicentennial $10 notes were the first long-lasting and counterfeit-resistant notes in the world.

4. Wine Casks

NBC Studios / Via

In 1965, Tom Angove developed what we now know as boxed wine. We salute you, Mr Angove.

5. The Electric Drill

Australian electrical engineer Arthur James Arnot patented the world's first electric drill in 1889.

6. The Splayd

Dvortygirl / (CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via Flickr: dvortygirl

This brilliant combination of knife, fork, and spoon was invented by William McArthur in 1943, when he saw a photo of ladies struggling to eat at barbecues with standard cutlery from plates on their laps.

7. The Fridge

In 1854, James Harrison created the first commercial ice-making machine — meaning we have an Aussie to thank for all those coldies.

8. The Ultrasound Scanner

Abigail Batchelder / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: abbybatchelder

In 1961, David Robinson and George Kossoff built the first commercially practical ultrasound scanner. Though ultrasound technology was already being used around the world, it was discovered that the Australian version — called grey-scale ultrasound — was technically superior to other scanners.

9. The Bionic Ear

Bjorn Knetsch / Via

Professor Graeme Clark of Melbourne is considered the "father" of cochlear implants; he was instrumental in creating the world’s first multi-channel commercial cochlear implant in 1982. To date, almost 200,000 have benefited from this techonology.

10. The Plastic Spectacle Lens

Adelaide company Sola Optical produced the first scratch-resistant plastic glasses lenses.

11. RaceCam

The RaceCam, which allows viewers to watch the race from the driver's perspective, was developed and introduced by Channel 7 in 1979.

12. The Pacemaker

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In 1926, Australian doctors Mark C. Lidwell and Edgar H. Booth invented the first pacemaker. It succeeded in reviving a newborn still baby at a Sydney hospital in 1928.

13. The Feature Film

The Story of the Kelly Gang, directed by Charles Tait, was the first full-length feature film ever. It was released in 1906.

Make sure to catch Vivid Ideas, talks and seminars this winter, where you’ll hear from Australia’s (and the world’s) greatest new innovators on what ideas will change the world next.

Among them will be global leader of the 4D printing movement, Skylar Tibbits, who will demonstrate how future objects will respond to what we need; in his keynote presentation, Skylar Tibbits: On Future Manufacturing.