Latinos have helped make multiple contributions to the way we consume media and live healthy, productive lives. From pushing the frontier of television to helping women make choices about their bodies, these are the Latinos who helped create inventions for the good of all humankind.
1. The Birth Control Pill
The oral contraceptive pill has helped women around the world plan pregnancies on their terms, combat the effects of debilitating cramps or regulate periods to be shorter and lighter. It comes as no surprise then that the co-inventor of the pill, Mexican chemist Luis Miramontes, received multiple recognitions. One honor is being named alongside Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers as creating one of the 40 most important inventions between 1794-1964 by the U.S. Department of Patents.
2. Color TV
Another Mexican invention helped change the lives of millions of people thanks to Guillermo González Camarena. He invented the color-wheel type of color television. Episodes of El Chavo del 8 become instantly more vibrant—literally—all due to González Camarena’s tireless work in electrical engineering.
3. The Beautyblender
Contouring and blending got a huge makeover when Rea Ann Silva, a Latina makeup artist with over two decades in the industry, created a little colorful sponge applicator. Although the trademark teardrop was already in stores by 2003, the applicator didn’t start getting recognition until the last several years when beauty bloggers were showing the bright pink sponge all over YouTube.
4. The Neonatal Artificial Bubble
Premature babies have to receive extra care and attention when it comes to their first few months of life. Thankfully, Peruvian inventor Claudio Castillón Lévano helped make them feel as comfortable as possible with his invention. The neonatal artificial bubble has improved neonatal treatment of high-risk newborns, allowing for a “continuous and regulated air flow of filtered, oxygenated, tempered and humidified air to the newborn child,” according to its patent.
5. The Electric Brake
Pump the brakes. Did you know a Mexican inventor is behind the invention that allows your car to stop instantly with a light tap of your foot? Mexican inventor and revolutionary Victor Ochoa patented the electric brake in 1907.
Luis von Ahn, a Guatemalan inventor, had already changed the way we access information. His company reCAPTCHA is one of the pioneers of crowdsourching. After figuring out a way to make sure you aren’t a robot by solving those annoying little puzzles, von Ahn moved on to help society learn multiple languages.
7. The Mondragón Rifle
A Mexican officer changed the course of modern warfare when he figured out a way for a gun to reload with manually ejecting the spent shell. The gun was first used in the Mexican Revolution and then became more prevalent in World War I.
8. The Artificial Heart
Housed in the Smithsonian Museum, the creation of Argentine inventor Dr Domingo Liotta is displayed to show the world the importance of this invention. Dr. Liotta is seen as a pioneer in heart surgery and bestowed the gift of the first totally artificial heart to be transplanted in a human being.
9. The Acceleglove
Jose Hernandez-Rebollar invented the Acceleglove, a glove that can translate sign language into speech. According the Smithsonian, "by using sensors attached to the glove and the arm, this prototype device can currently translate the alphabet and over 300 words in American Sign Language (ASL) into both English and Spanish.” #chicanismo #chicanisma #chicanapower #Chicano #Chicana #power #respect #love #respeto #raza #Mexico #Inventor #themoreyouknow #mexican #Acceleglove #SignLanguage #ASL #JoseHernandezRebollar
José Hernández-Rebollar is credited with making a special glove that helps translate sign language into speech. Hernández-Rebollar invented the Acceleglove, which used “sensors attached to the glove and the arm, this prototype device can currently translate the alphabet and over 300 words in American Sign Language (ASL) into both English and Spanish,” according to the Smithsonian.