A research team at the University of Minnesota developed a non-invasive Brain Computer Interface which reads thoughts and allows someone to fly a remote-controlled helicopter by simply imagining its movements.
The famous Nerf® Wonderball was invented by Minnesota based inventor Reyn Guyer as an indoor volleyball. It was originally marketed as a toy that was safe for use near both babies and the elderly.
It happened on June 28, 1922 that an 18-year-old young gentleman by the name of Ralph Samuelson designed the first water skis from two pine boards and successfully skied on Lake Pepin in Lake City, MN. Ralph used curved barrel staves which were tied to his feet with straps of leather and towed by Ben, his brother, by a simple clothesline.
1912 - Walter Deubener, St. Paul
Concerned about his customers’ ability to safely carry heavy loads of groceries, St. Paul shop owner Walter Deubener devised a structurally stable method of securing a string handle onto an ordinary shopping bag, changing the way we shop, and saving floors and sidewalks everywhere from dozens and dozens of broken eggs.
1919 - Pop-Up Toaster, Stillwater
Charles Strite invented the first pop-up toaster while working in a Minnesota factory. He invented it as a solution to the burnt toast problem in the cafeteria.
Inspired by the circuit for an electonic, transistorized metronome, engineer and Medtronic co-founder Earl Bakken created the first battery-operated external pacemaker. These small devices replaced the much larger cart-bound, power outage susceptible machines previously used.
The ﬁrst commercial computer to use random access memory was created by Engineering Research Associates in Saint Paul. The UNIVAC 1102 was 38 feet long and 28 feet wide, and had 4.5 kB of RAM.
The First Modern Skyway in downtown St. Paul connects the 17th floor of the First National Bank Building to the neighboring Merchants Bank Building. At the time it was difficult for the builders to obtain the materials due to the construction of the Empire State Building in New York City.
1964 - ALVIN, General Mills, Minneapolis
Owned by the US Navy and still in active service after almost 50 years, ALVIN, a manned deep-ocean submarine, has made over 4,400 deep sea dives, including the exploration of the Titanic wreckage.
In 1947, a garden tool company began making metal toys. In the 1950’s, they changed their name to Tonka Toys Inc. (after Lake Minnetonka) and began making the now famous “Tonka Trucks”.
The collaborators developed the human pretzel party game for a St. Paul manufacturing firm in the mid-1960s. The game was wildly popularized when Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor played it on "The Tonight Show" in 1966.
In 1979, the Olson brothers picked up another inventors take on in-line skates at a local sporting goods store and began working on improving the somewhat clunky design. Working from their parent’s basement, they purchased the patent, polished the design and Rollerblades® were born.
The famous spiced luncheon meat in a can was created by Jay C. Hormel, son of Austin-based Hormel founder George C. Hormel as a way to make use of underutilized pork shoulder.
Founded as a Heating Company, Minneapolis based Honeywell Inc. became a defense contractor during World War II. The C1 Autopilot was first installed in the B-29 Bomber and was later produced for civilian aircraft. Subsequent versions of the C1 were implemented in the space program.
Although the seat belt had been around before 1963, James “Crash” Ryan invented the seat belt you see in cars today. Ryan’s belt was designed to lock up in the event of an accident, making it much safer. Often Ryan used himself as a subject in his tests, gaining the nickname “Crash”.
Southdale is the oldest fully climate-controlled indoor shopping center. The Austrian born architect Simon Gruen modelled the shopping center on the arcades of European cities.
K-Ration - Dr. Ancel Keys, University of Minnesota
Dr. Ancel Keys, a physiologist at the U of MN, designed the K-ration as non-perishable ready-to-eat meal able to fit in a soldier’s pocket. They were issued for Breakfast, Supper (lunch), and dinner. The K-ration contained 2,830 calories per day and included chewing gum and 4 cigarettes per day.
1977 - Dr. Spencer Silver & Art Fry 3M launched the product as "Press 'n Peel" in stores in four cities in 1977. A year later 3M instead issued free samples directly to consumers in Boise, Idaho, with 94 percent of those who tried them indicating they would buy the product. On April 6, 1980, "Press 'n Peel" was re-introduced in US stores as "Post-It Notes".