23 Mind-Boggling Inventions That Actually Exist

Picture this: a world where the line between mad science and sheer genius is as thin as a razor’s edge, a place where the wildest dreams of the brainiest inventors come to life.

I saw a video of the process of making silk, and it’s completely insane to me that humans somehow came up with a long list of really obscure steps to make fabric.

Record players. Turning micro-sqiggles on vinyl into perfect reproductions of people’s voices and instruments? Like what is that witchcraft?

Cataloging mushrooms. “This one killed fred, this one makes you see god for three days, and this one tastes kinda like chicken.” The answer was a LOT of people.

Coffee. Someone thought: this berry tastes horrible. Maybe if I pull the seed out, set it on fire for a little bit, then grind it up and run hot water through it, I can drink it.

MRIs. As a med student I was briefly taught how these things work, and oh my God. How did anyone think up?

Computing in general. Like the idea of converting physical stimuli into code is mind blowing to me. Like actually building a machine that is able to interpret impulses, motion, light, etc. and turn it into a language that can interpret and execute tasks is really quite amazing.

How wireless works, and radios work. I have a solid understanding of wireless, security, networking, and everything that goes with it as an IT person for the last 25 years. The fact that my computer, or cell phone can talk without any wires attached is magic. I’ve read about it, tried to understand, but how did someone figure this out?

How the mechanics under the needle on a sewing machine works to juggle the thread. That thing is just genius.

Anything to do with astronomy. Mass of planets, distances of stars, locations of black holes. A lot of impressive brain power and technology went into all of this I’m sure.

Boiling horses makes glue. “Everything at home okay Ralph?”

Cameras. How is it possible that some device is able to somehow capture the exact image it is pointed at with one click.

Who the heck looked at a cow and thought, ‘I bet if I pull on those dangly things, something tasty will come out?’

Contact lenses. It seems space age to me that there are these tiny flexible lenses I attach directly to my eyeballs every day to correct my vision. How?

Which plants and animals were edible, especially ones that are very poisonous if you aren’t careful. For example, how many tries did it take to figure out that ripe ackee fruit pods are safe to eat, but that the seeds and skin are always poisonous, as are unripe ackee fruit pods? How many tries did it take to figure out how to safely eat pufferfish?

Horse urine works as birth control.

The guy who figured out how to use addition in binary to let digital computers do subtraction.

Ayahuasca is especially hard to believe. The root of one plant is a source of Dimethyl Tryptamine, a powerful hallucinogen that is also produced by the brain under certain conditions. Drinking DMT, though, will not work. The body has enzymes that break DMT down when it is ingested. A completely unrelated plant has leaves that contain a compound that acts as an MAOI. It inhibits the enzyme that breaks down DMT. Consuming each plant on their own does nothing, but consuming both together results in a powerful psychedelic experience, and is a part of the religion of the natives. This is in the Amazon rainforest, where there is a mind-boggling diversity of plants and animals. Those two plants together are the only ones that would work to produce Ayahuasca. Apparently, when asked, the natives say the plants taught them how to do this.

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