Since 1680 in Britain, and adopted in Australia just over a century later, the postal system was post-paid. That meant, the recipient paid for the letter. The system was expensive and vulnerable to fraud. James Raymond, colonial postmaster-general of NewSouth Wales, introduced the world's first pre-paid postal system selling envelopes marked with the post office's stamp for use throughout Sydney.
John O'Sullivan and his CSIRO team developed wi-fi in 1992. Wi-fi is a way of getting broadband internet to a device using wireless transmitters and radio signals. Once a transmitter receives data from the internet, it converts that data into a radio signal that can be received and read by wi-fi enabled devices. Information is then exchanged between the transmitter and the device.
Graeme Clark's bionic ear (or cochlear implant) is a neural prosthesis designed to produce hearing sensations by electrically stimulating nerves inside the inner ear of profoundly deaf patients. It consists of a receiver-stimulator that is surgically placed under the patient's skin behind the ear, and an external sound processor that sits behind the ear, similar to a hearing aid.
The panel may have come across a solution for type 2 diabetes, one of Australia's biggest epidemics. Plus, a weapon against head lice could be a celebration for parents around the country.
Australian inventors have boldly re-imagined communication across the spectrum of technologies: Graeme Clark's extraordinary bionic ear delivered deaf patients the sound of speech; John O'Sullivan and his CSIRO team created the world's first high-speed wi-fi that dramatically changed the communication landscape worldwide; Henry Sutton's visionary Telephane was designed in Ballarat decades before the television; and post-master James Raymond established the world's first pre-paid postage system in Sydney in 1838 with his delightfully simple pre-paid envelope.
In 1836, Samuel Colt changes the way that wars are fought with his patent for the revolver, and profits enormously from the invention. But when Colt fires his assistant Rollin White for suggesting an improvement on his design, White brings his innovative idea to Smith and Wesson - giving birth to the first true 'arms' race. As the Civil War breaks out, both the Union and the Confederacy are in dire need of arms, putting Colt and Smith and Wesson in a competition that only one manufacturer can survive. Alternative title: American Genius.
Caroline convinces volunteers to road-test four popular diets: keto, paleo, 5/2 and flexitarian. Sandro examines which milks are healthiest, and Shalin investigates if going gluten-free is safe.
The toilet really came into its own in the 20th century, making it the most important fixture in our homes. Now, the dual flush toilet saves up to 67 percent water per flush. It's the handy work of Bruce Thompson and colleague Steve Cummings, who invented the system, with the help of a government grant, while working for bathroom product company Caroma.
A true icon of Australian suburbia, but one that should rightly be called the Toyne's Hoist! Committed to his invention throughout war and personal tragedy, Gilbert Toyne patented the enduing design, manufactured and marketed it decades before Lawrence Hill's hoist arrived. Toyne's legacy was to invent one of the most practical, labour-saving devices to grace Australian backyards in 20th century - his galvanised-metal, rotary clothes hoist.
Although the lawn mower was not a new invention, its technology was revolutionised in 1952 by Mervyn Victor Richardson. He invented and eventually patented the rotary action blades designed to cut long thick grass in his lightweight, petrol-powered version. Victa Mowers Pty Ltd opened for business in 1953. By 2011, more than eight million mowers had been sold. This backyard inventor transformed the concept of the Aussie backyard, by making a tidy lawn achievable for a mass market.
In this episode, they say laughter is the best medicine, and the panel find out if this is really true. Charlie shares his passion for Chinese herbal medicine, and counts himself in for a remedy for baldness.
The surprising stories behind four helpful household inventions to improve home life: Gilbert Toyne created an Aussie backyard icon - the rotary clothes hoist - only to have it made famous by someone else. Myra Taylor improved women's lives with her boneless corset leaving a legacy of freedom we still enjoy today. Mervyn Richardson forever changed the suburban landscape with his Victa lawnmower, while Dr Steve Cummings and Bruce Thompson achieved huge water savings around the world with the dual-flush toilet.
In this episode, the expert panel meet a ninja warrior with a clay remedy for wounds, a Lebanese 'Prince of the Mountain' with a pudding for the sinuses, a young mum with a natural alternative to treating dandruff, and a tea fanatic with a very grubby solution for acne.
Could a machine replace your doctor? Dr Hannah Fry explores the incredible ways AI is revolutionising healthcare, and what this means for all of us.
India is governed by its mountains. Forged over millennia, they stand like monuments to India's geological past but their true power lies in their immense impact on the present. They are the creators of life, dictators of the weather, and home to some of India's most unique wildlife.
In this episode, the panel are presented with a noxious weed as a remedy for one of Australia's most common chronic illnesses. Plus, a tree with some chastening qualities, and a fig leaf used to treat warts.
Gut problems are common, with up to one in five people suffering from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome at some point in their lives. Dr Michael Mosley is joined by a panel of experts to explore the link between gut health and chronic illnesses, such as depression and cardiovascular disease, and look at ways to prevent recurrence or deterioration in these conditions.
In this episode, the expert panel's search for remedies to send to trial uncovers a gin-soaked solution to pain, a natural alternative for psoriasis, and a Chinese herbal remedy that may be the answer to endometriosis, a condition that affects about 700,000 Australian women.
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