Humans certainly have some grand ideas…sending man to the moon, building a great wall across China. We have cured numerous diseases, cracked mysteries of the universe and, quite possibly our most significant achievement, discovered cheese goes well with chips.
On a smaller scale, some of us put our genius to more practical use…making people’s lives better and easier one small thing at a time.
Behold 20 (and then some) ways in which humanity has surpassed themselves with these incredibly clever ideas…
A way not to waste water
This toilet allows you to wash your hands and re-use the water for the next flush.
This is one little way we can help the environment.
A way to get you to clean up
This beach cafe has a great way to incentivise people to clean up!
If you collect a bucket of rubbish, you will be rewarded with a free coffee.
For both dogs and humans
This water fountain doesn’t just think about thirsty humans.
The water runs into a basin to give dogs a drink too!
A useful warning
There’s nothing worse than driving along in a lorry and misjudging the height of a bridge.
This sign will warn you before this happens.
Taking pills was never easier
Have you ever forgotten if you’ve taken your pills in the morning?
Well this pill bottle lid tells you the time since it was last opened, so you never need to worry! Genius.
A better way to select a floor
This is perhaps our favourite on the list. Ever been bored of using your fingers to press buttons?
This elevator gives you the option of kicking to select a floor instead.
For those who need a bit more time
For some people who find it difficult to walk, or who are disabled, they feel rushed when crossing the road.
With a special card, these traffic lights allow these people more time to cross! Brilliant.
Opening doors hands-free
You know when you’ve washed your hands in the bathroom, but you know other people don’t and then you have to open the door?
This ‘toepener’ means you don’t have to get those people’s germs on your hands! Amazing.
A useful help when parking
Constantly having to open your door slightly to make sure that you’re still in the lines?
This handy little trick means that you will be able to see easily enough in your wing-mirrors. Genius!
Something to do when you’re waiting
There’s nothing worse than going to a laundrette and not having anything to do whilst you wait.
This laundry had the perfect solution, and installed some gym equipment in there.
A way of keeping safe
This college had a great way for people to easily test if their drink had been spiked.
Place some drink on the strips and they will change colour dependant on wether drugs are present.
Do I need my coat?
This elevator in Japan has a handy warning sign included.
It tells you if it is raining outside. Amazing!
When you can’t decide which way to face
Normal benches are fairly restrictive in that they only allow you to face one way.
Not for this bench! It’s back swings so that you can choose which way you’d like to face.
A way to ease drowsiness
Some roads are so long and boring in Australia, it is easy to get tired very quickly.
These roadsigns include trivia questions to help keep your brain active on the journey.
A way to keep your drinks cool
There’s nothing worse than being in a warm club and your ice melting in your drink and it becoming progressively warmer in your hands.
This bar has a great solution, and includes an ice strip on the bar so your drink will never go warm!
This genius Swiss-bench
Sometimes you buy food and sit down on a bench but it’s awkward, because where to you rest your sandwich or your drink?
This bench in Switzerland has an amazing solution, and includes an table which folds up from the middle!
This helpful car sticker
This rental car in Ireland includes a sticker which reflects on the windscreen and reminds you which side of the road you should be driving on!
Pretty clever we think.
An alternative to books
One half of the problem of cooking and baking is not having the equipment necessary to do anything fancy like they do on the Great British Bake Off.
Cue this library. It allows you to hire out a whole range of different baking tins. Amazing!
Car-sleeping made comfy
And finally, something that we have definitely needed in the past!
This blow-up invention makes backseat-sleeping so much comfier! Where can we get one?
Mat For Beach Accessibility
This beach has a mat which allows wheelchair users easy access to the sea.
Although it doesn’t look very wide, so meeting traffic could be an issue.
Call the elevator before you reach it
This elevator has a button down the hall, about thirty feet away from the lift.
It means the lift will be available when you actually reach it, and will save waiting around.
Fencing which is also benching
This fencing along the river is cleverly designed to double up as benching.
Whilst keeping you safe, you can also sit and enjoy the day go by.
This whiskey comes with a free ride
This is a great idea implemented by this whiskey company in Canada.
If you buy a bottle of whiskey, they give you a complimentary free ride home so you don’t need to drink and drive.
This chair allows you to store ski equipment
The chairs in this alpine ski bar have a nifty storage space built in.
It allows you to store your ski helmet and other equipment.
This airport has a therapy dog
Many people are nervous about flying.
As such, this airport has a therapy dog to calm your nerves before you get on the plane.
This parent and child friendly swing
When a parent takes their child to a park, there’s only a minimal amount of fun the parent can have, especially pushing them on a swing (very tedious.)
This swing allows the parent to have fun whilst still entertaining their child.
This trolley with a built-in calculator
If you’re on a budget, or want to stick within a certain price, it can be easy to loose track of how much you’re buying when you go shopping.
This calculator eliminates the need to do it in your head, so you can track it all accurately as you go around.
Recycling used coffee grounds
Instead of throwing them away, this coffee shop bags up their old coffee ground for compost.
Customers can help themselves to a bag to help their garden grown.
This USB stick that tells you how much space you have left
It’s annoying when you’re trying to save something on a memory stick and it tells you that you don’t have enough space.
If you don’t have another memory stick, this might present a problem. This handy memory stick, however, allows you to see how much space it left beforehand, so you know when to get another.
This UPS van that saves energy
UPS drivers regularly need to go into the back of their vans to find parcels.
Instead of installing a light, the roof is made from see-trough perspex. Genius!
This park in Copenhagen
This park in Copenhagen is like a mini-city roadwork system, only without all the traffic.
It allows children to practice their cycling on the roads before actually hitting the road! Amazing.
These re-useable batteries
These batteries are an amazing idea!
They can be recharged using a USB cable, so you’ll never need to buy batteries again!
This spatula hack
When cooking, there’s always the struggle of where to put the stirring spoon so that you don’t get liquid all over the side.
This spatula has a handy rest so that you will never have that problem again.
This internet purchase zone
Buying and selling on the internet can be risky business. Who don’t know who you are selling or buying to.
When selling/buying locally, you may have to go and deliver or pick up the products. As such, this police station have created a safe space outside for the exchange of such goods.
This crisis hotline point
This is a very useful machine, there to help anyone on the bridge who might be feeling suicidal.
This is something that we believe definitely needs implementing everywhere.
This heated mirror that will not steam over
There’s nothing worse than having a shower and then having to wait ages for the mirror to de-fog before being able to do your hair or makeup.
Well this handy mirror has a heated square which stops it from fogging up. Genius!
This airport machine that will print you short stories
Waiting in an airport can be a tedious thing!
As such, this airport has installed a useful little machine which will print off short stories as you wait.
Trash cans angled for cyclists
These trash cans in Copenhagen are tilted to allow cyclists to throw rubbish in them on their way past.
Who thought throwing away trash could be so fun?
A handy way to know when to replace a tyre
It’s surprising how quickly tyres can become worn down.
These tyres have a handy ‘replace tyre’ mark, so that when they’re gone, you know you need new ones.
Mini tents to see what you’re buying
With most tents, you just have to trust the picture you see on the box. It’s hard to tell what they will look like when they’re built.
This store usefully has some mini-tents so you can see what you’re going to get before you buy.
Charging point where you need to cycle
This point will give you power, but you will need to work for it!
This is perhaps the most necessary form of exercise imaginable.
These napping pods in an airport
Your flight is delayed and you have to get one the next day. You have to sleep in the airport overnight.
No problem, because this airport includes napping pods where you can go and rest your head whilst you wait for that flight.
Chairs where your bags won’t slide off
Don’t you just hate it when you put your bag across the back of your chair and it keeps sliding off?
These chairs have a special notch built in which means your bags will not slide off all the time.
These trolleys that say whether you will requite help or not
Store assistants are employed to do just that…assist with your shopping. But sometimes it can be annoying being asked if you need help all the time.
These shopping baskets let the assistants know whether to disturb you or not. What a great idea!
A place in the library you can actually use your phone
Libraries are places of quietness and peaceful reading, but sometimes you need to make that all-important phone-call.
This library has a pod in which you can do just that.
This highlighter which allows you to see what you are highlighting
Sometimes, the problem with highlighters is that you can’t actually see what you are highlighting…the pen gets in the way.
Not this highlighter, which has a little gap to allow you to see what you are actually highlighting.
This elevator that shows you how far off maximum load you are
Most lifts will tell you the maximum number of people it can hold.
This lift tells you the maximum weight it can hold based on this small person lighting up.
This loo roll that has a smaller take-out roll inside
We’re not sure how useful this one is, but we’re still counting it as a good idea.
I guess if you’re caught short, you’ve always got a handy pocket-sized loo-roll available.
This train carriage designed for children
Train rides aren’t always exactly the most exciting things, especially for children!
This train, however, includes a special carriage where the kids can go and play and keep themselves entertained (even if it’s just a slide and a pit of fun painting.)
This hat shipped in a bag of air
The problem with sending clothes in the post is that they very often become creased. Clothes are easy to iron, but hats are not.
This is why this hat came in a bag of air, to stop it being creased. Amazing.
These different lighting options in a changing room
The lighting in a changing room is never known to be that flattering. It’s a pretty poor way of knowing how your outfit would usually look.
Well this changing room has a handy function in which you can choose the lighting based on the time of day, so you can see how you will look at all times.
Magnifying glasses on shopping trolleys
Sometimes it is a pain to read the small labels on products, trying to see the calories or if they’re vegetarian.
The magnifying glasses on these trollies eliminates this problem.
Traffic lights which tell you when they’re changing
There’s nothing worse than sat at traffic lights, waiting forever for them to change. It seems to take a lifetime.
Well these traffic lights tell you exactly how long it is going to be before you’re let through.
Buttons at your table so the waiter knows what you need
There’s always that awkwardness of trying to get a waiter’s attention at a table, you don’t want to appear rude and demanding.
Well at this restaurant, these buttons eliminate such awkwardness, and allows you to call the waiter, ask for the bill, or ask for the table to be cleared.
This option to open up the bag when you’ve got halfway through
There’s nothing worse than eating your way through a big bag of crisps and having to rummage right to the bottom to get those last few crisps. You get all of the bits on your hand on the way down.
This packet is perforated half-way down so that you won’t have this problem.
This free-post packet to recycle cigarette butts
Most people will just discard their cigarette butts in the bin.
Using these free-post pouches, you are able to recycle them instead.
This shower that tells you how hot it is
With some showers, it’s just impossible to get the right temperature. It’s either too hot or too cold.
Cue this shower, which has a handy temperature gauge tell you just how hot it is.
These cupboard doors that don’t leave a massive gap
For people with OCD, a gap in doors that don’t quite match up can be a real source of pain.
Not in this kitchen! These doors are designed to seamlessly match up without the huge gap. Bliss.
These labels to put on trolleys if they are broken
Everyone has got to the supermarket, picked a trolly and then rattled it all the way around the store because it had a dodgy wheel. What do you do at the end? Put it back so that the next unsuspecting person can come and pick it up.
Well at this store, there is a handy system which allows people to tag their trollies if there is anything wrong with them.
This bottle that tells you where you can fill up
If you’re going for a run in this local area, they have you covered for water!
This bottle includes a handy map of all the places you can fill up.
This cupboard which allows wet things to drip into the sink
How do you save time when washing up and putting stuff away again? Cut out the drying.
This cupboard is situated directly above the sink and allows you to put the dishes away and leave them to drip dry.
This tool which allows you to easily measure awkward surfaces
How do you measure something that is such an awkward shape?
You use one of these bad boys, a tool which will mould to any surface and allow you to draw its outline, thus enabling you to building around it.
These steps which include a rail for your bike
You’re on your bike and you come to a set of steps. Usually you have to either pick it up, or awkwardly bounce it down.
Well these steps include a rail which allows you to roll your bike down without the fuss.
This easy way for a park to track fire recovery
This park needs a way to monitor recovery after a fire.
What better way to enlist everyone who visits and get them to do most of the work? Clever park people.
This handy library chart for topics that are difficult to ask about
Researching a difficult topic for personal reasons can be tough, and many people would like to do it without anyone else knowing.
This library made this handy poster which means people do not have to ask which section these books can be found in.
This calzone which has one of each topping on it
Before ordering a calzone, you should already really know what is inside.
If you happen to forget what you’ve ordered when they bring it to you, this calzone has one of each ingredients baked into the top. So cool!
This fake skylight in a doctor’s surgery
Doctors surgeries aren’t the most pleasant of places on the planet, usually a bit grim and depressing.
This doctor’s surgery has included a fake skylight to try and brighten the place up a bit!
This chart that shows what makes up different hot drinks
Every wondered what the difference is between a flat white or a latte?
This handy chart shows you the differences in milk to coffee to water ratio to show exactly what goes into your drinks.
This beach that has dispensable suncream
We’ve all got to the beach on a hot day and realised we’ve forgotten our sunscreen! What do we do? Burn?
This beach has a useful station which allows you to spray yourself with sunscreen.
This shirt which has a glasses cleaner sewn on the inside
You may have seen many people who wear glasses clean them on the inside of their shirts.
This fella has taken it a step further, and has sewn a glasses-cleaner into his shirt.
This machine in the laundrette specifically for pets
Want to clean your pets’ blankets and bedding without mixing it in with anything else?
This laundrette has a completely separate machine specifically for pet stuff!
This useful sign saying how full train carriages are
Again, we’ve all been there. We get on a train, the carriage is full, we walk down the aisle from carriage to carriage trying to find a seat.
Well this train has a handy sign that says which carriages has spaces on the train. Brilliant!
These McDonalds menus that are printed in braille
Something that should definitely be implemented everywhere, these McDonalds menus have been printed in brail.
We would really like this to happen more often in different restaurants.
This magnifying glass in this pharmacy to help read labels
Just like they were included in the supermarket trolly, this pharmacist has a magnifying glass.
This helps you to read all the tricky small-print on the boxes, to make sure you’re not buying laxatives by mistake.
This receipt from a library that shows how much you’ve saved by borrowing
Borrowing from the library is of course much cheaper than buying all of the book you would read individually.
This library’s ticket receipt shows how much you have saved in a day and year by borrowing instead of buying!
These different shaped tubes in a hospital so it’s impossible to get mixed up
If there’s one place we don’t want someone to get their tubes mixed up in, it is the hospital.
There’s no way that this is going to happen in this hospital, as all the tubes are different shapes.
This bus station that includes a mini library
Bored waiting for your bus? Phone died and unsure of how to entertain yourself without one?
This bus station includes a handy little library so you can read whilst you wait!
Two different types of soap for before and after eating
The last thing you want to do when you are eating is to smell the perfumed scent of soap on your hands.
This restaurant usefully has two different types of soaps, unscented for before eating and scented for after. Beautiful!
The football button
You’re in Brazil. It’s late. You want to watch football but you can’t leave your hotel room, because it’s not recommended for tourists to do so after hours. Don’t worry, the remote control has you covered: just click the ‘futebol’ button and instantly start watching the Beautiful Game in the comfort of your secure Brazilian room.
Serrated grapefruit spoon
Eating grapefruit is a mess. And it’s always going to be a mess, right? Not anymore it isn’t, you pessimist – if you just try this serrated spoon you’ll never know the struggle of mining your way through fruit ever again.
The tree charger
What’s so ‘great’ about the great outdoors anyway? Just a bunch of birds screeching and trees shedding themselves all over you. Drown it out by going on your laptop outside through connecting to this tree-charger.
Public bathroom aftershave
Public bathrooms generally stink anyway, it might be nice to have this around just for the opportunity to spray the place fresh whenever things get overwhelming, or you can use one of these fruity fragrances on yourself if you like.
Keep your phone on charge while you shop, then collect it – fully-charged! – at the end to call and confess to your partner that you’ve just blown the kids’ savings.
Bottle opener belt
You know what’s a cool belt? The one Pierce Brosnan had in GoldenEye, with the measure of metal wire inside, which he could use to grapple down the side of buildings. That was a cool belt. You can have this one that’s also a bottle opener instead though.
The beer counter
Discover how much beer is left in the pub, in real-time! Save yourself the precious seconds of having to make conversation with the barman about what you want and can’t have.
You know when it’s cold out and you have an itch, but you’re wearing gloves? And normally you have to take the gloves off just so you can scratch yourself with your nails? This little feature saves you the trouble whenever you’re in that incredibly specific situation.
Zoo keeper button
This is perfect, just perfect, if you own a zoo and you want to keep small children or illiterates from bothering your staff.
Parking space line extension
Park straight, for once, without having to use the Force in an attempt to ascertain whether you align with the impossible-to-see lines.
They call this ‘extreme civilisation’, which is what you call products on the market that fulfil no real need and seem to have no reason to exist other than they look cool. And sure enough, these ring-pull coconuts do look cool.
Backpack bottle opener
Another bottle opener on yet another item that normally doesn’t include one, hah. They should just give all bottles unscrewable lids and we could avoid this.
One way to know you’ve had your five fruit or veg for that day is just to down one of these cartons in one go.
School table covers
Kids like drawing on things, that’s just a fact. They’ll draw on everything, they’d draw on you if they got the chance. Someone at this school has had the bright idea of covering all the tables in paper sheets, like the kids are dining at a restaurant and not studying in a place of learning.
Is this all the calories you lose from climbing a flight of stairs? Jesus, staying healthy is so hard.
Pen ink counter
Never be shocked when your pen runs out of ink ever again. Instead, you’ll be prepared for the end as you watch it slowly drain of life, losing its vitality as surely we all one day must.
Nutritional breakdown receipt
Chili and eggs? What the hell is that? Doesn’t matter how many calories or carbs are in that, we don’t want it.
Pull-out microwave drawer
We don’t know if this is necessarily a good invention – what was wrong with the regular, swing-door microwave? Did someone complain that it was too easy to use? – but it looks pretty nifty, so there’s that.
Supermarket scanning belt
Make shopping more interesting by making it look like your groceries are going through one of those airport scanners at the end.
The spice scale
Every restaurant that serves spicy food should have one of these signs, right down to the bit that calls people who order ‘not spicy’ “boring”.
Honest construction signs
This is government transparency at its best. Want to know about your money going to waste on projects that run over-schedule and over-budget? Granted, you got it.
Environmental water fountain
Almost smugly, this water fountain lets you know just how many disposable plastic bottles it’s kept at bay simply by existing. That’s 1,607 bottles less for our rapidly depleting sea-life to worry about.
Assorted spectacles at the South Korean immigration office
The dark side of this bit of serendipity of course being that South Korea obviously wants you completing the forms and out of the country as quickly as possible.
People love retro things now, just look at how popular Stranger Things is. So this Uber driver stuck a NES in the back of his car, while also installing a tip box for all the cab-hopping hipsters that happen to find this piece of archaic technology absolutely mind-blowing.