Last week, 29-year-old Leonardo Molina was undergoing an emergency appendix operation in a small city hospital outside Buenos Aires when the power went out. The hospital had a generator, but something went wrong, and it didn't switch on, leaving the surgeons to work in the darkness.
Luckily, one of Molina's family members had the bright idea of gathering a few cell phones from people outside the operating room. Using the lights from the phones, the surgeons were able to complete the operation successfully. The patient's brother said power was out for a good hour, but hospital officials claimed it was no more than 20 minutes. This isn't the first such case of cell phone lights saving the day. Not too long ago, Vietnamese doctors used them to finish delivering a baby.—Gregory Mone
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.