They are flying across oceans without fuel, giving ordinary people robotic super strength, and growing crops in the desert… In a new video series, three #inspiringinnovators tell the story of how International Standards helped them reach new heights in their search for technologies that could transform the world we know today.

Solar Impulse – André Borschberg, pilot and co-founder

Nobody thought that one day we would fly airplanes powered only by the sun, but this is exactly what Solar Impulse has achieved, breaking record after flight record. Yet humanity’s greatest achievements are rarely the effort of one person. Standards offered a common language to turn this impossible dream into reality. “Without [standards] we would never have been able to understand each other,” says Borschberg. “The Wright brothers did not have the benefits of standards… If they would have them, I’m sure they could have done it quicker. And maybe they could have gone further. That is what we do today and that is the reason why we progress.”

Cyberdyne – Prof. Sankai, founder and CEO

A new generation of wearable robots can help people confined to wheelchairs to walk again. It can also give ordinary people super strength. But developing this technology had its challenges – how to ensure the product would be considered safe and be easily adopted. A new standard for personal care robots proved key, guiding these innovators in the right direction. “ISO is very important for promoting new designs,” says Prof. Sankai, “we couldn’t have done it without ISO”.

Netafim – Naty Barak, Chief Sustainability Officer

Food security. Water scarcity. Not enough arable land. These are some of the most pressing issues facing the developing world today. Naty Barak tells of the struggle of growing crops in the dessert… until they came up with a technology that made the most of scant water resources by irrigating the plant and not the soil – drop by drop. For Barak, “this will bring real revolution to the developing world,” moving it from subsistence farming to commercial farming. But to make drip irrigation easily available, standards are needed to ensure compatibility and optimum quality at low cost. “The developing world deserves to get the best, and the best is achieved if you follow the standards,” concludes Barak.

Building on past successes

Every new invention is built on a history of extraordinary human achievements, many of which are found today in ISO standards. At the forefront of innovation, they offer practical solutions to the challenges faced by many industries. By creating a solid base, a common language and an added layer of confidence, ISO standards let our greatest minds concentrate on what they do best – pushing the limits and taking us to new places.


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