The year 2020 was a turbulent year. But besides the pandemic and the U.S. elections, there were other topics that got a little lost in the media: the groundbreaking innovations of the year.
Every year TIME publishes inventions that make our world better, smarter or more fun. Whether in the category of education, artificial intelligence, virtual reality or beauty – the collection of innovations and inventions amazes you every year. This year again, TIME editors and correspondents searched the world for new topics that stand out for their originality, creativity, effectiveness, ambition and impact.
Here is a look at 5 innovations that have made it into the TOP-100. The complete list is available here!
Embodied Moxie – A Capability Building Robot
According to the editors of TIME, the robot Moxie looks a bit like the host of a children’s show. As a mixture of Mr Rogers and HAL. But the little robot is so much more. With him, children can learn in a playful way and experience an AI-controlled, compassionate and motivating robotic friend who is supposed to motivate them to learn. Embodied Maxie is the modern version of the educational computer that I’m sure many of us grew up with, making robotics accessible to children from an early age.
Augmedics xvision – Augmented Reality for the operating room
The Augmedics xvision product comes from the Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality category. For a long time, physicians have wanted to have x-ray eyes in order to see even more and understand even better what is going on in the patient. Augmedics also had this superhero inspired idea. After years of research, they are now launching the xvision headset, which uses augmented reality to provide 3D visualizations of CT scans and valuable additional information. A breakthrough for surgery and for immersive media in one headset.
AlterEgo – the new way of communication
Also an old acquaintance made it to the list of the TOP-100. I have already reported about the development of MIT in the past and took a closer look at the invention in the innovation profile. Now the correspondents and editors of TIME have also discovered the apparatus for themselves. AlterEgo may not read our thoughts, but it is very close. Through micro-pulses, the Wearable can pick up the words we “think” and transmit them to the computer. Researchers found that the device was able to understand and interpret the words 92% of the time. The invention has now found its way into hospitals, where it helps patients who can no longer communicate in the traditional way to communicate with doctors and nurses.
Virti – a VR training platform for extreme situations
There are fields of work that are almost impossible to train. What happens if an operation goes wrong or how to react in emergency situations on an oil rig or power plant? These are exactly the questions Virti asks. The training platform uses virtual reality to put workers into scenarios that are difficult to create in reality and teaches them how to handle them optimally. Virti has also prepared for the current pandemic and has shown front line workers in its simulations how to wear protective equipment correctly and how to carry out treatments optimally.
Microsoft Surface Duo – Computer or Smartphone?
In the current technological world, the media are growing ever closer together. So does invention number 5, which we will look at in this article. The Microsoft Surface Duo is both telephone and notebook. The Android-based smartphone has two screens and is easy to open. This allows a classic smartphone with touch function to be turned into a work tool that can be quickly expanded. This is what I call media convergence!
This was just a small excursion into the world of TIME’s TOP-100 inventions. A look at the complete list is definitely worthwhile, because this year, too, there are many bizarre inventions among them. Who would have ever thought of a smart beehive, for example…
Photos in the article: TIME Magazine