Even though this year was full of unimaginable hardships for everyone including natural disasters, pandemic among other social injustices, it still paved the way for some of the greatest innovations. From Augmented Reality (AR) to accessibility, from artificial intelligence (AI) to connectivity and consumer electronics, this year was full of inventions in all spheres of life and changed the entire game. Here are the top 20 inventions of 2020 that also included in the 100 Best Inventions of 2020 list by TIME:
Microsoft partnered with Logitech to produce the Adaptive Gaming Kit and is priced at $99 to enable users to plug in their preferred controls setup. In this kit, the players get 10 buttons, two triggers, and hooks, pads, loops along wit other assorted gear that further enhances the ability of the users to customise their controllers while gaming. One of the reviewers of the Adaptive Gaming Kit, YouTube Daniel O’Connor even described the innovation as “honestly revolutionary”.
Earlens stepped up the game for providing hearing aid. Costing $6,000 for each ear, the company nixed the amplifier entirely and used a tiny lens that can be positioned beside the eardrum. Meanwhile, a microphone in the device’s over-the-year processor picks up the sounds that are converted by the algorithm into vibrations which are further transmitted to the eardrum. Here's a doctor's review on the invention:
A skill-building robot or Embodied Moxie is an artificial intelligence designed to help boost the social and emotional skills of five to ten-year-olds. The $1,699 robot can enable children to find a compassionate friend who encourages recreational activities such as reading, drawing and also sends the little kids on a mission to spur engagements with other people. Paolo Pirjanian, CEO and founder of Embodied, Moxie’s creator, said the robot is intended to offer “a springboard into the real world”.
BrainBox AI is an artificial intelligence system that uses data such as weather forecasts to predict the building’s thermal conditions to further adjusting the air conditioning or heating output accordingly. The technology can control temperatures for more than 40 million square feet of a building area and thus, it contributes to reducing the carbon footprints by 20%-40%.
The invention, Augmedics xvision is a headset that uses augmented reality to convert the patient’s CT scan into a 3D visualisation that can assist the surgeons through the crucial operations where each millimetre is taken into account. According to the product description, the headset superimposes a three-dimensional image of the patient’s for instance, spine over their body and giving the surgeons an insight to see what is beneath the skin without deviating from the operation table.
Dr. Alex Young launched Virti which is a training platform that enables workers to be dropped into a high-stress augmented and virtual reality scenarios where they can actually practice responding to the situation and later receiving feedback. Moreover, this year Virti’s COVID-19 modules to teach the frontline workers reportedly boosted knowledge retention among the doctors by 230% as compared to the traditional training.
Pour Moi Climate-Smart 3-Step Rotating System are skin-care products based on where an individual lives instead of particular skin problems. The formulas for all products is based on the climate that according to the founder of Pour Moi has the greatest impact on the skin.
Another innovation of 2020 for the healthcare workers, Vocera Smartbadge is similar to having an additional pair of limbs. TIME explained the product saying, “Worn like a necklace or pinned to scrubs, the device lets clinicians reach other team members using voice-activated commands.”
Priced at $479, Insta360 One R is an action camera that the user can customize. From any sport to adventure during travel, the device is one of the most adaptable ones to produce high-quality video content. It has two lenses, a 360-degree lens and a 4K ultra-wide-angle lens along with features such as improved editing tools and the “invisible selfie stick” function.
In another remarkable innovation, the Allbirds Tree Dasher is made almost entirely from natural materials, therefore, the carbon footprint is estimated at almost a third lower than that of the average sneaker. Allbirds’ vice president of innovation and sustainability, Jad Finck said that using natural material isn’t just about “stuffing nature into a performance shoe and hoping that it doesn’t degrade the performance”.
Van Robotics ABii is a robot tutor aimed at closing math and reading proficiency gap for K-5 students. Measuring 16*8 inches in size, the device is designed to work with the teachers as well as parents so that teachers can learn from home according to the curriculum put together by educators.
In a treat for gamers who were locked inside their homes amid the pandemic, Sony Playstation 5 is one of the largest video-game consoles ever made. From games loading almost instantaneously to graphics processor being almost 10 times faster than that of previous versions, TIME even said that Sony’s product “ just may be the most powerful video-game console we’ve ever seen.”
Another multinational company that changed the scene by its new product, Samsung unveiled a 43-inches TV that pivots from a horizontal to vertical orientation just by a click on the remote. It is designed to optimise and accommodate social media posts, streaming services along with gaming. Moreover, Samsung Sero has optional wheels.
ZeroAvia’s zero-emission hydrogen-electric power train substitutes the hydrogen fuel cells and electric motors for conventional fossil-fuel-powered engines. The groundbreaking technology has already been tested on a flight north of London in which a small Piper M-Class six-seater took to the air.
MIT Media Lab’s AlterEgo doesn’t read the users’ thoughts but enables them to communicate with the computer without touching a keyboard or even opening the mouth. Therefore, it is remarkable to carry out functions like a simple Google search that is processed by the headset’s sensors which can read the signals that formulation sends from the brain to areas the users would want to trigger by saying out loud.
FairShake or the virtual advocate is aimed at making battling the huge companies easy with a cost-free service that automates the process of filing an arbitration claim. It has battled companies such as AT&T and PayPal and takes a 10% to 20% cut of successful claims.
When companies take advantage of you, there should be an easy way for you to call them out, be heard, get your problem solved, and get fairly compensated for what happened to you.— FairShake (@fairshake) March 3, 2020
That’s what FairShake provides. https://t.co/ZeNfYGF8Sz pic.twitter.com/zeqCjHFWs1
Launched in April 2020 by Within, Supernatural is a subscription-based VR fitness application that takes the work out beyond the four walls. It is paired with the Oculus Quest or Quest 2 VR headsets, it transports the users to places including any island or a volcano in Ethiopia or even Mars. “I don’t know anyone who runs on a treadmill for entertainment,” said Within co-founder and CEO Chris Milk. “We want you to feel a sense of awe.”
The Brooklyn-based startup Air Co. Unveiled the Air Vodka which is made by fermenting grains like corn and wheat with a process that naturally results in carbon emissions. Further, “Not only does Air Vodka (starting at $65 for 750 ml) do the trick in a Moscow mule, but it’s also carbon negative”. Meaning, every bottle contributes to reducing carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere.
Priced at $60, FEND by Sensory Cloud, Inc. is a drug-free-salt and calcium-based nasal mist that strengthens the mucus lining that further helps to trap and flush out tine pathogens. Especially amid the novel coronavirus outbreak that triggered fear among people across the globe from the tiny little organisms, the preliminary study showed that people who used FEND exhaled nearly 75% fewer aerosol particles as compared to the ones who did not.
Enabling hands-free brushing, Willo is one of the fanciest electric toothbrushes. Even though the product will hit the markets in 2021, it is priced at $199 that not only pumps in water but also specifically formulates the toothpaste among other functions.
How can Willo possibly work for everyone? Willo was specifically designed to be simple enough so a wide range of users from all age groups and levels of skill, would be able to use it effectively. Bite into more info on https://t.co/z1IxgLG5xh pic.twitter.com/wBpEV0Au1K— Willo (@letswillo) August 18, 2020
Here are TIME’s 100 Best Inventions of 2020: Innovations making the world better, smarter and more fun https://t.co/hWlLHYVkWG— TIME (@TIME) November 30, 2020