My favorite innovation of 2012

Innovation can be the reinvention of a thing that already existed. Eg. reinventing the phone, etc. The captcha was created to block spam from contact forms, guest books and forums. However, the inventor of the captcha, Luis Von Ahn, felt bad by knowing every day people are losing 500 000 minutes by filling up nearly unreadable words. So he reinvented his recaptcha. He found a way by publishing words from scanned books. Nowadays by filling in captcha’s, yearly 750 million people help to digitize 2,5 million books. Without knowing!  At this moment Luis’ team is working on another project: translating the whole internet to every language. Impressive!

An example of the (re-)captcha:
Schermafbeelding 2013-01-15 om 16.15.56
Even more impressive is the fact that Bates (2007) wondered five years ago (!) if this wouldn’t be possible.