In the past, Portugal invented the astrolabe and the caravel, but in more recent times there have been many other inventions that many people will not realise were invented by people from Portugal.

Here we highlight some of the best recent inventions that have come from Portuguese inventors.

Microphone sponge ball

Whether on radio, or television, journalists are seen with their microphones, but unlike singers, the professionals in the world of communications have a sponge ball on their mics. The object was invented by Jaime Filipe, an engineer that worked on the Portuguese TV channel RTP. In 1981, he invented the first wind ball for mics, which would allow the sound to be recorded with more quality, as it helps with the equalization of the sound.

Author: RTP;

Wheelchair elevator

Jaime Filipe was a busy man and not only did he invent the ground breaking feature for microphones, he also used his engineering skills for more inventions. The engineer also invented an elevator for wheelchairs, now seen on stairs or even for entering trains. Jaime Filipe received a couple of awards for this invention in Brussels and also in Ginebra.

Credits: Lusa;

ATM Machines

Other countries already had ATM Machines, but Portugal took a little bit longer to bring this high street staple to the people as they were studying different features. In 1985, the first ATM network was placed in Lisbon and Porto. The Portuguese ATMs are probably the most complete ones to ever exist. Besides withdrawing money, it is possible to pay bills and even pay for a public transport card and buy train tickets.

More recently, Portugal invented MBWay, a simpler way of managing money through the cell phone. With MBWay, it is possible to transfer money that will enter instantly into another person's bank account. Companies already offer the chance of paying on online shops through MBWay. The app also facilitates withdrawing money from ATMs and paying at the supermarket, only using the phone. In 2022, ECO stated that there are four million MBWay users.

Credits: Facebook; Author: Via Verde;

Via Verde

Via Verde is an easier way of paying toll charges when travelling on toll roads and motorways. The device was invented by researchers working at the University of Aveiro, and it has been in use since 1991. The device allowed the reduction of the queues to pay the tolls on motorways. With Via Verde, drivers may continue their trip without having to stop to pay. As soon as the driver passes by the gantry the system will automatically take the money from the driver’s bank account. This system may also facilitate people that drive on the SCUTs as the payment must be made online or in a CTT store. With Via Verde the payment is made at the moment of the trip, so the driver may be rested after a road trip.


It is estimated that 10 percent of the male population, in the world, is colour blind, but a Portuguese graphic designer used his skills to make their life easier. Coloradd is a system of colour identification through symbols. It may be seen in school manuals, but also on crayons boxes, hospitals and other objects, where colours may be an important feature. Each symbol is linked to a colour, helping those who may not see all the colours the way they are. Coloradd allows people to understand graphs better, for example.

Credits: Facebook; Author: ColorADD;

International feedback

Most of the inventions mentioned are used worldwide after being created in Portugal, the rest of the world found these ideas interesting and took them to their countries.

And you? Did you know about these Portuguese inventions?


Deeply in love with music and with a guilty pleasure in criminal cases, Bruno G. Santos decided to study Journalism and Communication, hoping to combine both passions into writing. The journalist is also a passionate traveller who likes to write about other cultures and discover the various hidden gems from Portugal and the world. Press card: 8463. 

Bruno G. Santos