Home Innovation The Best Inventions Of 2016 That Were Made To Impress

The Best Inventions Of 2016 That Were Made To Impress

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In order to access the most cutting-edge virtual reality, people typically have to shell out thousands of dollars—not just for a headset (like the $800 HTC Vive), but for a computer that’s powerful enough to support it. Sony’s PlayStation VR, by contrast, is designed to work with a console that millions of people already own: the PlayStation 4. That’s a boon for gamers in search of what Sony engineer Richard Marks calls “the most intense, most extreme” action, as well as casual consumers, who now have an easier way to experience VR.
Cannabis That Could Replace Pills
Hmbldt Vape Pens / $100 each

Millions of Americans rely on over-the-­counter medicine to treat routine complications such as insomnia and headaches. What if they took hits of pot instead? That’s what California-­based ­Hmbldt is banking on with its new line of vaporizer pens. When inhaled, the pens dispense a dose of cannabis oil that ­Hmbldt says has been chemically engineered to make people feel a certain way—calm, sleepy, relieved of pain—­without getting high. Cannabis-­delivery methods like this one haven’t yet been thoroughly vetted by physicians. But as more states legalize medical marijuana, and more studies show that it does have merits, products like ­Hmbldt’s (now available only in California) could become increasingly commonplace. “This really can help people feel better,” says Jason ­DeLand, the company’s head of strategy.
The Ultimate Alarm Clock
Hello Sense / $149+ Shop it

It’s hard to believe that an alarm clock—the cruel, clunky gadget that jolts you awake and ruins your morning—could not only be beautiful but also improve your sleep. That it could gauge the temperature, humidity, light and even air quality in your bedroom to help you engineer a perfect sleep environment. That it could monitor your sleep cycles and wake you when you’re least likely to feel groggy—all thanks to simple voice commands. Indeed, Sense (and its companion pillow sensor) is no ordinary alarm clock. It took hundreds of prototypes to get it right, says James Proud, founder and CEO of Hello, which makes Sense. Early adopters report that using the small glowing orb feels almost as natural as crawling into bed. That was key, says Proud, who adds, “Nobody wants to introduce complexity into their lives, least of all when it comes to sleep.”
Tires That Spin In Every Direction
Eagle 360 / Developed by Goodyear

As companies race to develop self-­driving cars, Goodyear is reinventing their wheels. Its spherical concept tire, which debuted in March, allows cars to move in many new ­directions, including sideways into a parallel parking space and at specific angles and speeds to counteract slippery surfaces. The key, says Sebastien Fontaine, an industrial designer at Goodyear, is magnetic levitation: whereas traditional tires are bolted to cars, the Eagle 360s hover beneath them, free from “the limits of [traditional] steering.” To be sure, these tires won’t hit pavement anytime soon: they’re meant for self-­driving cars that are likely at least five years away. In order to shift the status quo, says Fontaine, “we need different companies working with us, together.”
A Sleeker, Smarter Toothbrush
Quip / $25+ Shop it

When it comes to dental hygiene, most Americans are slackers: 1 in 2 don’t brush twice a day, and 3 in 4 don’t replace their bristles every three months, no matter how many times they’re warned of the risks (which include cavities and gum disease). “We needed to get people to care a lot more,” says designer Simon Enever. So he and partner Bill May set out to make brushing feel more rewarding. The result is Quip, a simple, affordable, battery-­powered toothbrush that works like its counterparts from Oral-B and ­Sonicare—a two-­minute timer vibrates every 30 seconds, reminding users to switch ­positions—but looks and feels like something you’d find in an Apple store; customers can even opt for a matte metallic finish. “It’s a nicer experience,” says Enever, who adds that he’s already working on his next design challenge: getting you to floss.
Dishes That Work Around Cognitive Decline
Eatwell Assistive Tableware / $60+ Shop it




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