The Financial Times is searching for 50 ideas that have the power to transform the world, and we need your help to find them. The technologies we take for granted today come from the unlikeliest of places. Take fibre optics, the basis of today's communication's networks on the internet. The discovery that light could follow a curved path along water jets and glass strands was first used in illuminated fountains and theatrical special effects in the 19th century. Commercialisation followed more than 100 years later.
GPS navigation was first developed by the US military to improve bombing accuracy during the Vietnam War. When scientists at GE made the first visible LED in the 1960s, they were trying to create a laser rather than an efficient replacement for incandescent bulbs. Graphene, hailed as a wonder material for the 21st century, was first isolated when scientists removed flakes from a lump of graphite with sticky tape, and they discovered that the thinnest flakes were just a single atom thick.
It's hard to spot really important innovations in their infancy, and this is why we'd like you to get involved. We've come up with many candidate ideas. Can we change eating habits by growing meat in a lab or converting people to mass consumption of insects? Can we prevent or cure disease by editing the human genome? What imaginative new applications of artificial intelligence might appear? But what we really want is you, our readers, to submit ideas to us at ft.com/50ideas or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.