5 Incredible Inventions of the 21st Century

12 December 2016
Human innovation and imagination produce incredible inventions. We look at five from this century.
nissan leaf

As we’ve seen in Shark Tank SA, there’s no shortage of nutty professors and inventors. People have been creating and innovating for centuries and continue to do so in the new millennium. In the spirit of invention, we’re taking a look at five that have come out of this century.


Whether sending photos or speaking on the phone in your car, you’ve likely used Bluetooth in some or other form in your life. While the technology was developed at the end of the previous century, it was only during the noughties that it was adopted into mobile phones and computers.


It may feel like it’s been around forever, but it’s actually only been here since 2004. While it wasn’t the first social network on the worldwide web, it has surpassed its predecessors and today connects over 1.6 billion people across the globe. Considering there are 7 billion people in the world, of which 3.2 billion use the Internet, that’s a significant portion of the population.

Electric Cars

First built in the 19th century, its progress was checked by the rise of the internal combustion engine. However, with the increasing focus on climate change and its impact on the environment, interest has swung back to electric cars, which are more fuel-efficient and produce less emissions than their gas-guzzling alternatives. Two of the most popular, and top-selling, electric cars were introduced this century: the Nissan Leaf (which stands for leading environmentally-friendly affordable family car) and the Tesla S Model. The latter was produced by Tesla Motors, a company co-founded by South African born-and-raised businessman Elon Musk. He’s not the only South African invested in a sustainable future. Watch Vinny espouse his forward-thinking business philosophy below:

Solar Shingles

Another invention aimed at making our lifestyles more environmentally friendly is solar shingles. Developed by Dow Chemical Company, the shingles are installed alongside traditional roof tiles. Producing electricity for homes, they are projected to be easier and cheaper to install than traditional solar panels. This year, Tesla also unveiled a range of solar tiles, and we even saw this invention in the tank, thanks to FCP Energy. Check it out below.

Camera Pill

From the AbioCor Artificial Heart to bionic contact lenses, all kinds of medical marvels have been invented this century. Another of these is the camera pill: a single-eyed camera that is ingested via a pill, it has been used to detect early signs of cancer thanks to its ability to take high-quality photo in confined spaces.

What other inventors and innovators will enter the tank? Find out in the season finale of Shark Tank South Africa on Sunday 18 December at 18:00 on M-Net.