Back to articles list

6 Fantastic Czech Inventions That Changed The World

Written by Czech Hospital Placements on Sunday, May 1, 2016

contact lenses fingerprints plastic surgery blood types polarograph invention scientist doctor

What would criminologists do without dactyloscopy? How many people would have need to wear glasses if there weren’t for contact lenses? How could doctors provide their patients with a safe blood transfusion without a knowledge of blood types? Czech scientists and doctors have always been contributing to the world’s greatest inventions. Discover the 6 of those which made our lives a lot easier.

What would criminologists do without dactyloscopy? How many more people would have to wear glasses if there was no such thing as contact lenses? How would doctors provide patients safe blood transfusions without a knowledge of different blood types? Czech scientists and doctors have contributed to some of the world’s greatest inventions. Discover 6 that improved our lives mightily.

Soft Contact Lenses

More than 100 million people wear contact lenses every day. Otto Wichterle, a Czech scientist, was the first to develop soft contact lenses. However, he had many hurdles to overcome on his way to developing this invention. The research was twice cancelled and Otto had to carry on from his home. The biggest problem was not the substance used, but the mechanism of production. The edges of the contact lenses were frayed and it was expensive to smooth them.  Wichterle found his solution when stirring coffee - centrifugal casting. It is interesting to note that his first contact lens machine was built out of a children’s building kit and his wife’s gramophone. Since his invention, the production of contact lenses has been growing.


Dactyloscopy is today a great identification tool used for criminology, even though most did not realize its potential for a long time. It was J. E. Purkyne who discovered the 9 basic patterns and the uniqueness of fingerprints.  Yet, he did not foresee that such information could one day be used as an identifying tool for crimes. Although his contribution was only physiological, it played an important role in the development of dactyloscopy.

Plastic Surgery

At its infancy, plastic surgery was not about breast or nose enhancements, but more about using plastic as an improvement tool for people with congenital disorders, harelips, face injuries and burns. Professor Frantisek Burian and Arnold Jirásek felt the need to use plastic surgery as a way to help soldiers that were burned and injured during World War I. When the war was over, they realized the necessity to expand its use to the general public, especially little children affected by facial disorders. 

Blood Types

Blood transfusions used to be risky in the past, as there was no cognitive way to identify blood types. Doctors and psychiatrists believed in the mixing of blood of two opposite temperaments. For example, they believed that if a wife and a husband had problems in their relationship, the mixing of their blood would help to resolve the conflict. The results were catastrophic and ultimately blood transfusions were banned for a long time. 

Jan Jansky, a Czech psychotherapist, was aware of this problem and started to analyze blood. He found 4 different blood types and identified them as I, II, III and IV. Today, these types are known as A, B, AB and O. 

Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian biologist and physician, is noted by some as the first to distinguish between different blood groups. He is said to have made this discovery around the same time as Jan Jansky, as did other scientists around the world.  All of them worked independently from each other. To this day, it is hard to determine the one true originator of blood types. Landsteiner first discovered only 3 blood types, but later found a fourth  and also described RH factors. He named them A, B, AB and O – a terminology still used today. That is one of the reasons why is he considered as the originator of blood types.

Truvada Drug

Truvada is currently the best medicine used for HIV virus treatment.  Truvada does not eliminate the HIV virus or cure AIDS, but works as an antivirotic. This means that the medicine prevents the virus from spreading.  It was invented by Professor Holý and it is not only used to decelerate the proliferation of HIV, but also as a preventative for people with high risk of infection. 


Professor Heyrovský invented the Polarograph in 1922. The device is used to provide a quantitative analysis of substances in drugs and metabolisms, widely used in toxicology. It can determine the presence of vitamins, alkaloids, hormones, coloring agents and other substances, that enable doctors to provide the right diagnosis and treatment.



Related articles

What Motivates Doctors to Keep on Doing Their Job with Passion?

by Czech Hospital Placements

Top Surgeries in University Hospital in Motol: 1st Sacral Neuromodulation Surgery

by Czech Hospital Placements

What Do Neurosurgeons Love about their Specialty?

by Czech Hospital Placements

The Most Magical Moment of a Doctor´s Job?

by Czech Hospital Placements