TIME best inventions of 2019: Style, sustainability, augmented reality, virtual reality, wellness and more
Each year, a number of innovations gain the spotlight that turn the world around on its head, creating a significant impact on society at large. TIME magazine highlights the best inventions that have a significant impact on the world every year. This year too, the magazine released its list of inventions across a variety of categories following scrutiny from various sources as well as an online application process.
In fact, the last decade has seen quite a few innovative additions to society including the Google Assistant, SpaceX’s Reusable Rocket, the iPad and even the Self-Driving Car. It is indeed strange to think that back in the 2010s smartphones, artificial intelligence, and concepts of self-driving cars were either in their infancy or were stuff that made good sci-fi and fantasy literature.
From a talking hearing aid to virtual surgery; from make-up that protects to a reading app for children, 2019 saw a number of stellar innovations coming to the public domain, including the Saathi pads from India. The fields of Accessibility, Augmented & Virtual Reality, Beauty, Consumer Electronics, Design, Education, Entertainment, Experimental, Food & Drink, Gaming, Health Care, Home, Parenting, Productivity, Social Good, Sports, Style, Sustainability, Transportation, and Wellness were the genres that were listed by TIME. The list also has a section for Special Mentions.
Here’s highlighting a few innovations (not in a particular order) that made it to the top list of inventions by TIME in 2019.
A Talking Hearing Aid: Starkey Hearing Technologies released a hearing aid, Livio AI that is embedded with sensors and artificial intelligence that allows it to stream music, answer questions like a smart assistant, translate conversations into a user’s own language and a host of other functions.
Other mentions under the Accessibility category included talking glasses, web-based remote control for computers, tablets, and TVs and even a smart cane
Augmented & Virtual Reality
Virtual Surgery: The Osso VR software is designed to provide doctors with a virtual operating-room experience. Created by Dr Justin Barad, it is a leading virtual reality solution that is used for training and assessing surgeons, sales teams and hospital staff.
Other mentions in the category include a user-friendly VR, back-seat gaming and an advanced virtual reality, the HTC Vivo Pro Eye.
Makeup that offers protection: Shimmershade is the only eye shadow to be clinically tested to provide broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection. Other mentions under the category included several products for beauty including the Heated Razor by GilletteLabs and the Dyson Airwrap.
For stellar listening: The year saw the release of the Apple Airpods Pro, which offers active noise cancellation, silencing the world around a user. However, they can choose to maintain awareness by turning on “transparency mode.” It can also be used to share audio with a friend when paired with any iOS 13 device.
Other mentions in the category included the Eight Sleep Pod, which is a smart mattress and Bose Frames among others.
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This category saw three mentions, one was the Herman Miller Cosm Chair, which has auto-harmonic tilt, allowing it to adjust according to a user’s body posture and intercept suspension, which moulds the chair according to the body of the person sitting on it. The other two mentions include EConcrete, a biomimicry technology that creates products that blend in with coastline milieus and the OXO Good Grips Quick-Extend Aluminum Pole Caddy.
Creating own computer: The Kano DIY computer kit that utilised a custom OS to teach youngsters how computers work. The computer has all the features of windows 10. Other mentions under Education included Roli Lumi that allows one to learn music visually, the Rakuten OverDrive Sora and the Roybi Robot.
Futuristic television: LG brought out the first 8K TV with OLED tech that allows for a higher-contrast picture and thinner display. The only other mention in the category is the IDAGIO, which makes classical music accessible on smartphones and offers more than 2 million classical tracks.
Life-like prosthetic: The year saw the release of the BrainRobotics prosthetic hand, which is an AI-powered hand that allows users to unlimited gestures and grips. Unlike the more traditional and mundane prosthetic hand, this one makes use of an algorithm that allows the mechanical hand to learn from the user and become more lifelike with each use. The category also saw the LightSail 2, the Lenobo ThinkPad X1 Foldable, the adidas FUTURECRAFT.LOOP and the CATALOG DNA Data Writer.
Food & Drink
A sustainable burger: The Impossible Burger 2.0 took the mundane vegetable burger and made it char and bleed. Made entirely out of plant-based proteins, it is a sustainable alternative to meat. The company plans on launching other alternates to meat as well in the near future. The Food & Drink category saw several mentions from AeroFarms, to Farmer’s Fridge and others.
The category saw three mentions, including the Logitech G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse, Minecraft Earth and the Ananlogue Mega Sg.
On the go Ultrasound: Butterfly iQ has shrunk ultrasound technology to the size of a chip, letting medical professions plug in the portable probe into their phone and observe their patient’s heart, lungs and growing foetus.
Other notables in the category included an apparatus to stop food poisoning, the Diligent Robotics Moxi, and Stevie who cares for the elderly, among others.
There are four mentions under the Home category which includes Temi, a robot that autonomously navigate around objects and people. As for Parenting, this year saw the launch of the Elvie Breast Pumo, which is sans tubes or wires and a silent motor.
Productivity, Social Good
The Productivity category saw the innovative Farmerline Mergdata, which sends farmers information about the weather and prices of produce via voice message in their language. The Social Good category saw the Saathi Pads from India, which are pads made from banana fibers that makers say are 100% biodegradable.
In Sports, there were three notable innovations that took the world by storm this year. These included the Oru Kayak Inlet Kayak which can be transported easily by the enthusiast, the HomeCourt and the VICIS ZERO1 Youth Football Helmet which has thicker force-absorbing support on the front and sides of the helmet
Style saw the launch of the Sony wena a smart band that can be fitted to any watch face, while Sustainability the launch of Eviation Alice, an all-electric nine-seater which proves that one does not need gas to fly.
The year saw Dutch automotive startup Lightyear launch the Lightyear One, an electric sedan, with solar panels to recharge the car. The year also saw the launch of the Omron HeartGuide, which falls under the Wellness category. It is a blood-pressure monitor that is worn on the wrist and is targeted towards people to have hypertension.
Special mentions included a universal remote, an assistant for the elderly a digital sneaker and a sustainable snack among others.