Saturday, 16 Jul, 2011 Technology
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Top 10 Inventions Made in USSR

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During the Soviet era brought a lot of inventions, some of which changed the course of history others raised the bar in numerous fields, including engineering and medicine. Citizens of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics managed to succeed in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics.

In USSR science was the main subject in all education levels, and as a result a lot of engineers graduated every year. Some inventions developed in the Soviet Union are still in use today, while others served as trampolines for further innovations.

10. Ushanka


The term ushanka literally means "ear hat". It represents a fur cap with ear flaps. The latter can be tied either up to the top of the cap or at the chin. When tied to the chin the cap can effectively protect the wearer's ears, jaw and chin from the cold.

In addition, ushanka's thick dense fur protects the wearer from head injuries. Although, it cannot compete with a helmet in terms of protection, it still proves to be much more effective than a traditional beanie cap in case the wearer falls and hits their head against hard surface, ice for instance.

Despite the fact that the hat is associated with Soviet rule, ushanka became very popular in a lot of western countries like Canada and the United States, being worn primary by police and the military. It is also considered to be fashion accessory.

9. Tetris


This popular puzzle video game was invented by Alexei Pajitnov. Tetris was launched in the Soviet Union on June 6, 1984, when Pajitnov worked as a researcher at the Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the USSR in Moscow.

The game became very popular after being launched on various home computer platforms released in 1980s. However, the biggest boost in popularity it gained when Game Boy was introduced in 1989 having Tetris available on it. From them on, Tetris was one of the most famous video games ever. It was recognized as the "Greatest Game of All Time" by the Electronic Gaming Monthly.

Last year it was reported that as of 2005 Tetris has sold over 100 million copies for cell phones alone.

8. Autojector


Invented by Sergey Sergeyevich Bryukhonenko, a Soviet researcher, the device represented the world's first heart and lung machine. He is known for the experiment in which he attempted to resuscitate a dog's head.

It is worth mentioning that Bryukhonenko mainly focused on the development of open-heart procedures, being one of the leading researchers of the Research Institute of Experimental Surgery.

The invention was used in several experiments with canines that took place in 1930s, registering mixed results. These experiments can be observed in the film called Experiments in the Revival of Organisms. All the experiments were well documented and after the death of the machine's inventor, Bryukhonenko was posthumously awarded with the highly-appreciated in the Soviet Union Lenin Prize.

7. Ilizarov Apparatus


This 1950s invention was named after its developer, the orthopedic surgeon from the Soviet Union Gavril Abramovich Ilizarov, who was the first to introduce the technique that is still in use today.

The Ilizarov apparatus is used by surgeons in different procedures, including the lengthening or reshaping limb bones and treating complicated and/or open bone fractures.

It would be interesting to note that the idea of creating such an apparatus came to Professor Ilizarov when he had to treat different orthopedic disorders in Siberia. The inventor was inspired by a shaft bow harness. Initially the Professor used bicycle parts to manufacture the frame for the apparatus.

The West started using this technique in the 1980s, being mainly applied by Italian surgeons. A great popularity the apparatus received in the 1990s, being used by numerous surgeons worldwide.

6. AK-47


Built in 1940s by Mikhail Kalashnikov, this selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm weapon is still the world's most popular assault rifle. Known as Avtomat Kalashnikova, the gun is shortly called AK.

The work on its design started in 1945 and after the end of the World War II the weapon was for the first time used in official military trials, being called AK-46. A modified version called AK-47 was officially launched in 1949, being the official weapon of the Soviet Armed Forces.

Despite the fact that over 60 years has passed since the introduction of this assault rifle, it still remains the most widely used weapon due to its low production cost, ease of use and a high degree of durability.

AK-47 is today manufactured in several countries around the globe. In addition, the gun served as the basis for creating a large variety of other individual and crew-served weapons. It would be interesting to note that there were more AK-type rifles created than all other assault rifles summed up.

5. T-34


Designed by Mikhail Ilyich Koshkin, the renowned T-34 medium tank was produced in the Soviet Union in the period between 1940 and 1958. The T-34 tank was considered to be the most effective and efficient tank of the World War II, despite the fact that during its era the machine was surpassed by other, improved tanks.

The first tank was produced at the KhPZ factory located in Kharkov, the stronghold of Soviet troops during the World War II. Later the tank was widely exported.

The tank was the world's most-produced war machine, and number two in the list of the most-produced tanks of all time, being surpassed by its successor the T-54/55 tank. It is worth mentioning that for some time, after the end of T-34 production, different variations of the tank were still in service in at least 27 nations.

4. Nuclear-powered icebreaker


This type of vessel was built to be used in waters that are continuously covered with ice. They can break through the ice with the help of strong, heavy, steel bows. A nuclear-powered icebreaker represents a much more powerful type of vessel than a diesel powered ship.

The first atomic icebreaker was built in Soviet Union in 1957 and was called NS Lenin. It was the world's first nuclear-powered vessel and the first nuclear ship to carry civilians. The purpose of this and further vessels was to transport cargo through the frozen Arctic waterways in the north of Siberia.

A total of 8 nuclear-powered icebreakers were constructed in the Soviet Union, including NS Arktika, NS Sibir, NS Rossiya, NS Sevmorput, NS Taimyr, NS Sovetskiy Soyuz and NS Vaigach.

3. Sputnik 1


Soviet Union was the first nation to launch an artificial satellite. Its name was Sputnik 1. The world's first artificial satellite was launched in October 4, 1957. The event is considered to be the starting point of the Space Age.

The invention made it possible to identify the density of the atmospheric layer by estimating the orbital changes of the satellite.

In addition, Sputnik 1 offered information on the distribution of radio signal in the ionosphere. With the help of pressurized nitrogen Sputnik 1 was able to detect meteoroids. In case a meteoroid broke through the outer hull of the spacecraft it would be spotted by the temperature information transmitted back to Earth.

2. Soyuz


The name of this family of expendable launch systems is translated as "union". All of the components are manufactured in Samara, Russia. The European Space Agency believes that Soyuz launch vehicle is so far the most reliable in the world and as a result the most often used.

The spacecraft was designed back in 1960s by the Korolyov Design Bureau. The spacecraft family is still in service today. All of Soyuz rockets have been launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome located in Kazakhstan.

Previously the rockets were used to bring personnel to and from the Soviet space stations Salyut and afterwards Mir. Today Soyuz vehicles are used to transport various supplies and/or astronauts to the International Space Station.

1. Mir (Space Station)


From 1986 and till 2001 the space station (the name of which can be translated as "peace" or "world") worked in low Earth orbit, being the largest space station than any other before it.

It was the first to feature a modular design, meaning that it was built from smaller modules independently developed and connected, each module serving a specific purpose.

Astronauts used Mir to carry out various experiments in microgravity. In the laboratory, researchers performed experiments in human biology, physics, astronomy and more, hoping to come up with technologies that would help in permanent occupation of space.

Mir was the first space station to be constantly inhabited, being operated by several long-duration crews. It would be interesting to note that until October 23 2010, the Mir program held the world record for the longest non-stop human presence in space. In addition, Valeri Polyakov managed to establish the world record for the longest single human spaceflight, spending 437 days and 18 hours on the station.

The deorbit of the space station took place on March 21, 2001.

Bonus

Children's railway


As an extracurricular educational institution, this railway was built with the goal of helping teens learn railway professions.

The world's first children's railway was constructed in 1932 in Gorky Park, Moscow, USSR, and earned a great popularity in the Soviet Union, which led to the development of the project on a national level.

Until the dissolution of the Soviet Union there were 52 children's railways in the country and a lot of them are still used in some of the post-Soviet nations including Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and a number of Eastern European countries (Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria). Several children's railways can be found in Germany and even China.

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