The Slovenia Times

The future: Made in Slovenia



For or instance, last year scientists made clothes that could repair themselves with just a touch of warm water, shoes that lace themselves, a robot that can autonomously make a complete garment, and skin-like material that will mean an end to facelifts and dark bags under the eyes. Flying cars, anyone? They're not that far from becoming reality.

Innovation has already taken humanity farther than some futuristic science fiction authors thought possible. The world of Marty McFlys offspring from the movie series "Back to the future" now seems outdated rather than futuristic. Humanity's progress has a habit of taking historical predictions and making them mundane, way before their supposed time of fruition. We have scientists and their innovations to thank for this, many of them hailing from Slovenia.

Slovenians have always had keen minds and some daring ideas. Our ski maker, Elan, is a prime example. With their mbx models, they initially made visual changes to skis that were soon emulated across the globe but their truly revolutionary innovation came in the form of carving skis. This was probably the moment that saved alpine skiing, which at that point was fast becoming obsolete, losing the popularity contest to snowboarding. Elan's innovation gave skiing a second wind, it became easier to learn, easier to enjoy and above all else - faster! Today it is difficult to find a skier who doesn't use carving skis. Alas, Elan's employees weren't as good at protecting their inventions as they were in making them, the technology was therefore copied by all the major skiing brands.

Let's hope something similar won't happen to the latest innovations from the Jo┼żef Stefan Institute (JSI) which just a month ago presented one of its latest innovations - a smart watch IN LIFE, which is meant to extend independence for the elderly. It automatically calls for help in case the user falls, it can help relatives locate the whereabouts of their senior family member and it can remind users when to take medicines or go to a doctor's appointment.

Innovations and technologies that give answers for the ageing populations in the developed world have many uses and usually have significant potential on the market. JSI has therefore developed SAVVY EKG, a small medical accessory which monitors the user's heartbeat, temperature and activity levels, and helps with tracking and finding abnormalities. Instead of doing tests with an EKG machines at a clinic, the user can simply bring the data to the doctor for analysis. It saves time and it can ultimately also save money and, above all, it could save lives. Saving lives is exactly what the researchers at Ljubljana's Chemical Institute are achieving with genetic hacking - teaching cells to autonomously detect inflammation and initiate excretion of medicine.

The world is indeed full of wonders, many of them man-made!


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