latino inventions

Top 10 Latino inventions in history

April 10, 2020

Not all great inventions were discovered in the U.S. and Europe! Stay with us and discover the best Latino inventions of all time.

When we think about breakthrough discoveries and inventions that changed the lives of millions, our thoughts usually travel to the United States or Europe, due to the high level of investments. However, our region has also seen great Latin inventions in its history. Let us surprise you.

1. Color TV

Watching your next series, think fondly of Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena, a Mexican engineer that invented color TV. He developed the system in the 30s and applied for the patent in 1940. Camarena also invented a simplified color system that was used by NASA in 1979 to take pictures and videos of Jupiter.

2. Wireless Phone

Your cellphone wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Roberto Landell de Moura, a catholic priest from Brazil, who discovered a wireless telephone system. It was not an easy start. In 1895 a bishop witnessed a demonstration by Moura and declared the apparatus to be “the work of the devil.” Shortly after, some fanatics destroyed the lab. It took over 5 years for Moura to regroup.

3. Device to measure the seismic waves

One of the most reliable systems to measure the intensity of the seismic tremors was invented by Chilean Arturo Arias in 1969. Nowadays, his contribution helps to determine risks and is used by engineers to measure the damage that an earthquake causes to buildings.

4. Semi-automatic rifle

Another invention from Mexico is the Mondragón rifle, a semi-automatic weapon invented by Manuel Mondragón. Thanks to him, soldiers during the Mexican Revolution and during World War I didn’t need to manually remove the spent cartridges, making the whole process of shooting much faster. Maybe not the most humanity-friendly invention…

5. First artificial heart

Visiting the Smithsonian Museum, don’t miss the plastic heart created by Dr. Domingo Liotta from Argentina. This artificial device was implanted in a human in 1969 and it kept him alive for three days until a human heart arrived. Unfortunately, the patient died shortly after but the first step was made.

6. The stent

Another Argentine, Julio Palmaz invented the balloon-expandable stent that revolutionized medicine. The Palmaz stent is a wire-mesh tube inserted into clogged arteries to treat cardiovascular diseases. Interestingly, Palmaz is currently dedicating his talents to making great wine and collecting Porsches.

7. Transdermal Patch

Alejandro Zaffaroni from Uruguay is the father of controlled drug delivery methods.  He invented the early concepts of transdermal patches. Thanks to him, nowadays, we can comfortably administer pain medications, antidepressants, hormones and… nicotine through the skin.

8. Contraceptive pills

Luis Miramontes, from the small town of Tepic in Mexico, is the man behind the contraceptive pill. This talented chemist was only 26 years old when he synthesized norethisterone, the basic compound of the contraceptive pill, later considered one of the most important molecules in the history of mankind.

9. Captcha code

How does a computer know if you are a human or not? Thanks to the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). The system was invented by a Guatemalan professor Luis von Ahn, who is also considered the inventor of crowdsourcing. He co-founded Duolingo as well.

10. Neonatal Artificial Bubble

One of the latest inventions from Latin America was an easy-to-use incubator, ideal for challenging environments in developing countries, created by Peruvian inventor, Claudio Castillón Lévano. The incubator is called “Levano’s neonatal artificial bubble” and provides a warm and sterile environment for a newborn in less than two seconds.

Quite a few surprises, right? Latino talent has never been an issue, and these inventions are the best proof of it!