On the 10th anniversary last year, FastCompany cataloged “innovations resulting from 9/11 stemmed directly from the terrible events, while others would've happened anyway, just in slower time if their development hadn't been spurred on.”
Robots – which have since helped in the Gulf Oil spill and the Japanese nuclear meltdown last year. (photo of a PackBot which helped in the search at the WTC after 9/11)
Social networking - “Citizen reporting” has helped in many crises around the world
Better translation software – less the 9/11 incident, but the wars related to them have led to a number of automated translators and digital assistants
Better skyscraper design – stronger building, faster elevator and other escape route design concepts have evolved
Better scanners – full body scanners at airports, biohazard sensors in many other places.
Air travel - How would you feel flying in an airliner that, in the event of a hijack, would lock down cockpit controls and return to land via an unhackable remote-control systems, like Boeing has planned? Or as a passenger aboard a plane where a plainclothes air marshall carried a pulse flash gun that could knock out a threatening passenger in a potential hijack situation? Would you rest easier aboard a long-distance flight knowing that a missile disrupter was protecting your airliner from incoming missile assault from a stolen ground-to-air missile?
Photo Credit Wikipedia