Time magazine has run a story about the Best Invenstions of 2006.
Their cream of the crop is YouTube. Obviously the runaway success (company sold for like $1.6 billion) of it all had an impact on their placement on the list. Sharing things on the internet isn’t new, but it really has never been more easy. Consider YouTube the ultimate of the “right place, right time” set. It could never have happened five years ago.
Now… my opinions on the rest of the list…
As a proof of concept, the Horizon Fuel Cell makes me kind of giddy in a “Wow, not that is a giant leap forward” sort of way. Sure, this is just a toy, but it proves to more than just science geeks that an engine really can run on water. Awesome.
Yeah, the Tesla Roadster 100 costs $100,000, but the sheer fact that Tesla Motors put out a fully electric sports car that can do 0 to 60 in 4 seconds. Well, its just cool, and in a weird way its them finally living up to the Tesla name.
The Clever car is an ideal… its great, until that idiot in his Hummer literally turns you into a chunky paste. Perhaps one day when cities become more compact and the roads aren’t so full of people rushing to get somewhere they live too far away from. The Mark V falls into that category too, and 3,145 miles per gallon just sounds too good to be viably true unless society changes to allow such flimsy vehicles.
First to enter in on the “Duh” category, the Black & Decker Simple Start answers the question of “What if my car battery dies in the middle of nowhere?” as directly as possible. Nice.
I’ve never really been on a boat, but part of me always glorfies life at sea. I would either want an old wooden pirate ship, or a sun21. Maybe a combination of both. Oh, and I’d also need an Innespace Sea Breacher. SeaQuest DSV here we come!
My wife really needs a Loc8tor. The hovering bed, however, I don’t think anyone needs. And as cool as the concept of the Wovel is, you would just look like such a dork using it. My older brother and his soon to be wife have ruined a section of carpet in their home, which would have been prevented by the self-lifting Oliso iron.
I hate seafood, and really I had never considered that it took two minutes to kill a lobster when you boil it, but if you have, don’t worry, with the CrustaStun you can now electrocute them in 5 seconds. I imagine the lobster tank at the local restaurant to be like a miniature death row leading to the electric chair now. And while faster isn’t always better, something inside me both cheers and cringes when I read about the Moo Bella icecream machines. There is no doubt about my cringing when it comes to the pudding-like coffee espesso. But the fruit and vegetable Lotus Sanitizing System definately looks cool.
First in the “man, I wish I had that” category is the NanoNuno umbrella. Adding to that in the “man, I wish I had that as a kid” subcategory is Nike’s Macro React clothing. No, I didn’t wish I had a dress, they make shirts for men. And just as I’m getting my hopes up, they make me weep for the future with the Hug Shirt. Why is it that I imagine this being sold by Apple, it being called the “iShirt” and them adding music and videos to it?
I’m not even going to bother linking to any of the crap in the Toys section of the invention list. Its all crap. Okay, the talking mirror is kind of neat, but really if you have a talking automated house, the talking face isn’t really any better than the disembodied voice, because, honestly, unless you install like 40 of these things, what are the chances you are going to be in the room with the mirror when stuff happens? Oh, and NASCAR sucks.
The new drunk driver test that measures skin’s light reflectivity scares me just a little. Part of me is scared by the possibility of being falsely identified as drunk with it, and part of me is scared by the possibility that its never wrong. “No, Officer, I’m just a naturally dull person.” I can’t, however, say anything bad about Gardasil, a vaccine for a virus that can cause cancer. Good work. On the other hand, I’m a little weirded out by Allerca’s hypoallergenic cats, bred for your comfort. And in the “one step closer to cyborgs” bin goes Realive, a suit that helps people with muscle rehabilitation by triggering the affected arm to mimic the movements of the “good” arm. Cool stuff. In the “but can they be trusted to use it for good” category comes a water-harvesting machine that sucks clean water right out of the air.
Woodshop teachers of the world rejoiced at the invention of SawStop’s finger saving saw, when it detects that the blade is sinking into flesh, it stops and retracts, leaving the user with only a nick. People trying to dispose of bodies were not amused. Another entry in the “Duh” category of inventions that just make sense and its just so F-ing cool that someone actually invented the damn thing, the LifeLine, so that no firefighter has to simply jump and pray again when things go bad.
The military, of course, invents stuff all the time, and a few of their items made it on the list… first up is the Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR), go figure, the military invents robots and they save lives instead of ending them. Next we get the M80 Stiletto, a boat that weighs 45 tons and only draws 3 feet of water (for you non boat people, that means only 3 feet of the boat hull is submerged, so it can go in really shallow water). Lastly we get the StrawJet, a machine that takes straw and turns it into quality building material.
I really see no good purpose for the Power Flower, I mean, I think it looks ugly. On the other hand, solar cells that are so thin that they are printed directly onto building materials like this solar skin is just awesome. And the paper-thin, flexible lightbulbs from CeeLite make me hope they will replace ugly disgusting flourescent lighting in office buildings everywhere… not to mention my own kitchen.
And that is the end of their list, and this is the end of my post.