As the year comes to a close, let’s look back at some of the smartest, most creative and useful inventions from 2019.
OrCam MyEye 2
The OrCam MyEye 2 makes your vision audible by helping people living with visual impairments. It is described as “talking glasses” with the artificial intelligence device attaching to the frame of your glasses and identifying faces and currency or reading text and information from bar codes aloud. The device is also useful for people who have reading difficulties, like dyslexia.
A newer version of the device is scheduled to come out next year, which will allow users to get even more specific with the machine, such as telling it to read only the headlines of a newspaper or the appetizer sections of a menu. OrCam MyEye 2 is currently available in 48 countries and even helped blind and visually impaired citizens of Israel cast their ballots in the recent elections.
Virtual reality is all the rage these days, from virtual gaming and dating to virtual training programs. It can be particularly useful to train first-time drivers, pilots, and even surgeons. With the Osso VR software, doctors get to experience a virtual operating-room and work on their skills.
Now being used in hospitals throughout the United States, the Osso VR will soon allow surgeons in health centers of underdeveloped countries, like Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, to learn from leading experts from around the world, without ever needing to leave their hospitals.
Have you ever ridden a bike while also using your smartphone for directions? Whether or not you have experienced it yourself, riding a bike while navigating with your phone can be quite dangerous, but not anymore because SmartHalo 2 makes your ride easier and smoother. The device translates directions from your phone into colorful LED lights on the handlebars of your bike that point to the next turn. You have two options for navigation; turn-by-turn, or a “compass” setting that points in the right direction but lets you pick the best route. What’s more, it has an anti-theft alarm and can easily sync with your fitness apps!
Eight Sleep Pod
Launched back in February of 2019, the Eight Sleep Pod is the world’s most advanced mattress that sold out within 15 days of its launch, even with the high price tag of $2,135 for a queen size. This smart mattress uses thin water channels to dynamically regulate its temperature throughout the night, based on both your presets and biometric feedback it receives, helping you consistently sleep better. There is an array of sensors that track sleep phases, heart rate, respiratory rate and more for up to two people. It then delivers a “sleep fitness score” through a companion app, which helps Pod take all of the data and improve your sleep.
Humans keep encroaching on nature and building communities in areas that might not always be best suited for human beings. But since we never learn to leave nature as it is, people have come up with ways to adapt their surroundings to their needs. One inventions that helped them do that in 2019 is ECOncrete which aims to make the lives of humans living along coastlines a little less disruptive for the marine ecosystems. ECOncrete replaces intrusive concrete infrastructure, whether its sea walls or seafloor mats, with product that seamlessly blend in with the surroundings. ECOncrete uses a technique known as “bio-mimicry” which relies on the shapes, sizes and textures of natural systems to help the company build its products, replacing building with concrete blocks.
Artificial Intelligence has become the go-to for newest inventions and products, with the Roybi Robot being one of the newest additions. This cute little robot may look like an alien, but its powered by AI and aims to help children between the ages of 3 and 7 learn languages and STEM skills. The Roybi Robot uses machine learning and tailors the lessons and responses according to the unique learning style of the child. It even recognizes the child’s emotions and incorporates content that the child enjoys the most. With the robot, children can sing along to songs, hear stories, and learn lessons. Since the children receive personalized education through the robot, in early childhood, it will provide kids with a strong foundation for success.
LG 88-inch OLED 8K TV
As 4K televisions go mainstream and prices fall, another huge upgrade has entered the market; 8K displays. One TV that boasts the new technology is the LG 88-inch model, the first 8K TV with OLED technology, giving a higher-contrast picture and a thinner display with the TV only being 1.96 inches thick. Although movies with 8K quality don’t exist yet, LG’s TV will “upscale” the existing videos until 8K-quality content becomes available. The resolution of this particular model will also allow for comfortable viewing in tighter spaces.
One of the biggest challenges of spaceflight is the fuel’s weight, which increases the costs dramatically as well. The LightSail 2 satellite might have the solution to that though. Launched in June, the LightSail 2 proves there may be a way to lighten the load since it’s currently flying free while only using light as fuel. As the photons from the sunlight hits the silvery sail of the satellite, a small force is imparted that increases the velocity without needing an engine or thruster.
BrainRobotics AI Prosthetic Hand
The BrainRobotics AI Prosthetic Hand is a more lifelike prosthetic with an intuitive AI that allows the user to make unlimited gestures and grips. Unlike prosthetic hands before, the BrainRobotics prosthetic hand uses an algorithm that allows the user and the hand to learn from each other, making the device more lifelike with each use. The hand uses eight multi-channel electromyography sensors in the wrist, enabling it to process signals from the user’s arm, giving more accurate control over hand motions and grips.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Foldable
A more flexible PC comes in the form of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Foldable, which is half laptop and half tablet. The ThinkPad X1 Foldable has a 13.3-inches 2K OLED display which is touch-sensitive and folds in half, allowing users to hold it flat like a tablet or like a traditional laptop. Users can also pull up or retract a virtual keyboard, or use the ThinkPad X1 on a stand or dock with a physical keyboard and mouse. When the device is folded, its only 9-inches in size, more portable than most small laptops.
Do you have more amazing inventions in mind that should be added to the list? Let us know in the comments!
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