Simply brilliant: Solving complex problems with basic principles

Claus Hämmerle

Changing the world with brilliantly simple inventions

Who said that patents have to be based on highly complex principles? Built on incredibly basic - but nevertheless highly effective - scientific premises, some inventions provide answers to the most pressing problems of our time. The standouts among simply brilliant inventions also include many finalists and winners of the European Inventor Award.

Crisp images, based on oil and water

The "liquid lenses" invented by French scientist Bruno Berge are faster, lighter and more robust than their mechanical counterparts. The brilliantly simple principle: Oil and water don't mix with each other.

More cork for a thirsty world market

The incredibly simple invention of a Portuguese research team is quenching the thirst for cork on the world market: Exposed to microwave radiation, the precious material expands by 40 to 85%.


Everything you always wanted to know about patents...

What are the requirements for successfully patenting an invention? And what are the guidelines for inventors looking to secure a European patent? Find all the answers - and more - in the EPO's comprehensive Inventors' Handbook:

Glasses for people in need

Simply brilliant: Without the help of an optician, the liquid-filled lenses in these simple glasses can be adjusted to suit individual wearers.

Tiny regulators for tremendous water savings

A small jet regulator for water faucets unlocks enormous water savings: up to 50%!

Ann Lambrechts

Video: What makes an inventor?

What does it take to become a successful inventor? Winners and finalists of the European Inventor Award from around the world approach this question in our exclusive video feature. A quick hint: Next to curiosity and technical skills, inventors need one single fundamental virtue - patience!

Quick Navigation