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All 100 innovations for Best of What’s New 2023, this way.
We may be tired of hearing about the climate crisis, but here’s the thing: It’s still the most important challenge we face today. The good news is, lots of companies are taking novel tacks to make smarter use of the planet’s finite resources. Modernized sails might soon give the shipping industry a boost in fuel economy, and mechanical trees will shortly be scrubbing carbon dioxide from the air. Consumers can even pitch in by hopping on the fake-meat train or buying jeans dyed with greener indigo. Of course, this year’s winning engineers aren’t all just inventing new forms of damage control—there are a few not-so-simple pleasures on the list, for Star Wars buffs and robot fiends alike.
Grand Award Winner: Impossible Burger 2.0 by Impossible Foods
A rare revolution in fake meat.
It’s hard to get a meat lover to truly enjoy a veggie burger, but the future of our planet depends on people eating fewer cows and more plants. Sure, we could scarf more beans and legumes, but Impossible Foods knows that when you’re craving a hamburger, only beef—or rather, heme, the iron-containing bit of hemoglobin—will do. Heme molecules are a large part of what gives meat its meaty flavor, so engineers at the California-based company created yeast cells that produce large quantities of the stuff. Their 2.0 version, available in some groceries and fast-food chains, blends soy and potato proteins (no more wheat, making it gluten-free) for texture, with coconut and sunflower oils to mimic beef’s fattiness. In the end it’s about as healthy as a real burger; it even has the same iron and protein content. The result is a patty so convincing, longtime vegetarians might get grossed out. And really, that might be what it takes to convert meat-loving Americans to a more sustainable diet.
GauGAN by Nvidia
Gaming worlds in an instant.
Say you’re a video-game designer, and you need to generate a virtual landscape featuring a still lake with a snowcapped mountain. It would take ages to make that image by hand, but with Nvidia’s GauGAN software, you can essentially paint the basic shapes, then let its neural network render the rest in photo-realistic detail. The consumer preview version just does stills (and you’ll have to insert any character art yourself), but gaming giant Nvidia has already created a demo using solely AI-generated graphics. They hope to shave thousands of hours off development time for future designers.
Galaxy’s Edge theme park by Disney
The Star Wars universe IRL.
The Imagineers behind Disneyland would like you to forget that you’re in Disneyland. Their newest 14-acre stretch in Anaheim, California, which opened this May, instead places you on the built-from-scratch planet of Batuu, where you can share the streets with animatronic droids and whizzing lasers. Pilot the Millennium Falcon from a cockpit simulator or head off-planet in trackless escape pods that make you feel like you’re plummeting out of a Star Destroyer. With an amalgam of architecture, faux habitats, and fictitious languages, you’ll feel as if you’ve walked straight into the Star Wars universe.
A metal forest by Silicon Kingdom Holdings
The largest CO2 removal project to date.
A forest of 1,200 mechanical “trees,” designed by Silicon Kingdom Holdings and Arizona State University scientists, is poised to pull more carbon dioxide out of the air than any human-made endeavor before it. Instead of wood, these metal columns (the specific material remains under wraps) use discs made of sorbent, which can absorb three times its weight in carbon dioxide as the wind blows through it. A cluster of 12 can suck a metric ton of the gas out of the atmosphere every day; a full lot, like the pilot one SKH is planning to install in California, can remove up to 36,500 metric tons annually. That’s nearly 1,844 American households’ worth of emissions.
BLUE by UC Berkeley
A robotic arm you could actually afford.
For less than the cost of a couple of laptops, anyone can bring home a robotic arm with built-in algorithms that train it to fold laundry, clean the bathroom, or unload a dishwasher. What the bulky, low-powered arm lacks in precision, it makes up for it with uncanny, humanlike perception: It uses visual and tactile sensors to judge distances and apply gentle pressure through grippers. At the moment, Blue is exclusive to UC Berkeley labs, but it’s projected to ship to households in the next few years, where it might someday have as many uses as smartphones do today.
Sustainable dye by Tinctorium
It’s been decades since denim’s been dyed with plant-based indigo. Today, manufacturers use a synthetic powdered version that requires 100 times its weight in petroleum to produce. Fashion biotech company Tinctorium’s dye, on the other hand, comes from genetically edited E. coli bacteria, which take in sugar and release a molecular precursor to indigo. The substance is then combined with an enzyme to produce the actual chemical pigment. So far, it’s been used to color a scarf and cotton yarn; next year, Tinctorium will test it on pants, and after that, hopefully, those mom jeans you’ve got your eye on.
Project SVAN by Kongsberg
The first autonomous ferry.
On December 3, 2023, 80 passengers rode a ferry with no crew between two islands in a Finnish archipelago. The captain sat 31 miles away, on call in case of an emergency. By running point-to-point trips that don’t require complex directions, ferries could be the perfect incursion into an autonomous-driving world. The SVAN module, which uses lasers, radar, and computer vision to navigate waters, can retrofit onto any ship, which could help the shipping industry cut down on personnel costs. More importantly, the system could prevent the 75 to 95 percent of marine accidents that occur from human-operator error.
Eggs by Respeggt
Omelettes with ethics.
Male chicks are fairly useless to the poultry industry: They can’t lay eggs or fatten up quickly enough to churn out 5-cent wings, so farmers slaughter 6 billion of them for naught each year. Respeggt found a way around that: punch a 0.3-millimeter-wide hole in a shell, suck up a drop of embryonic urine, and test for estrone sulfate, a hormone only female chicks produce. Male embryos then get processed into animal feed, while ladies head to the hatchery. Berliners can already get cartons with the Respeggt seal, but the rest of the world is still on the waiting list.
Tights by Sheertex
“Nylons” you can’t wreck.
Flimsy bits of lingerie that you trash and replace every other week, sheer tights are bound to rip—unless they’re made from a featherweight polymer with a tensile strength rivaling that of steel. Sheertex’s proprietary fibers are spun from some of the same stuff in climbing ropes and bulletproof vests; they’re so strong, they require custom knitting machines (the standard ones broke from all the pressure). You could shove a high heel into the things without tearing them, making them a far better investment than the more disposable alternative—both for you and the planet.
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
The longest sea crossing on the planet.
A map of the HZMB looks almost like an amphibious racetrack. The 18-plus-mile roadway takes drivers from Macau and Zhuhai off the coast of China, across the bay to Hong Kong—or vice versa. The cars must cross two border checks and two artificial islands, then speed through an underwater tunnel while container ships float overhead. The entire bridge can withstand 125-mile-per-hour winds (that typhoon life) and magnitude 8 earthquake tremors. Other than those terrors, it makes for a leisurely ride over the South China Sea.
Wingsail by Bound4Blue
A boat that Greta Thunberg might get behind.
These sleek wingsails look nothing like their canvas forebears—and that’s a good thing. Their tall, broad profile enables them to capture wind from more directions, then shunt that energy into the motor. They won’t power an entire journey, but on average, they’ll reduce a vessel’s fuel consumption by 30 percent. If even a small portion of the world’s roughly 90,000 ships switched over, it could cut a significant chunk out of the more than 5 million barrels of bunker fuel that vessels burn through daily. And since the foldable sails can be retrofitted and run autonomously, they can help out on container ships and passenger boats alike.
Mjøsa Tower by Voll Arkitekter
The world’s tallest wooden building.
Most people might think of steel, concrete, and glass when they think of a quintessential skyscraper. But Mjøsa Tower, designed by Voll Arkitekter, defies that image: Its 18 stories are entirely wood. The Norwegian marvel, which holds luxury condos and sweeping offices, is made of laminated timber, a material of thin sheets of glued-together lumber. The construction adds fire resistance, and unlike steel, retains its structural integrity in blazes. Its renewable material also allows high-rise owners to slash their carbon footprint, and the lack of concrete reduces dependence on sand, a surprisingly limited resource.
You're reading The Most Important Engineering Innovations Of 2023
In space, no one can hear a probe smash into an asteroid—but that’s just what happened in September, when NASA’s successful DART experiment proved that it’s possible to reroute a space rock by crashing into it on purpose. And that wasn’t even the most important event to materialize in space this year—more on the James Webb Space Telescope in a moment. Back on Earth, innovation also reached new heights in the aviation industry, as a unique electric airplane took off, as did a Black Hawk helicopter that can fly itself.
Looking for the complete list of 100 winners? Check it out here.Innovation of the Year The James Webb Space Telescope by NASA: A game-changing new instrument to see the cosmos
Once a generation, an astronomical tool arrives that surpasses everything that came before it. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is just such a creation. After more than two decades and $9.7 billion in the making, JWST launched on December 25, 2023. Since February of this year, when it first started imaging—employing a mirror and aperture nearly three times larger in radius than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope—JWST’s vibrant images have captured the attention of the world.
The JWST can see deep into fields of forming stars. It can peer 13 billion years back in time at ancient galaxies, still in their nursery. It can peek at exoplanets, seeing them directly where astronomers would have once had to reconstruct meager traces of their existence. It can teach us about how those stars and galaxies came together from primordial matter, something Hubble could only glimpse.
While Hubble circles in low Earth orbit, JWST instead sits hundreds of thousands of miles farther away, in Earth’s shadow. It will never see sunlight. There, protected even further by a multi-layer sunshield thinner than a human fingernail, the telescope chills at -370 degrees F, where JWST’s infrared sight works best. Its home is a fascinating location called L2, one of several points where the sun and Earth’s gravities balance each other out.
All this might just be JWST’s prologue. Since the telescope used less fuel than initially anticipated when reaching its perch, the instrument might have enough to last well past its anticipated 10-year-long window. We can’t wait to see what else it dazzles us with.Parallel Reality by Delta: A screen customized for you
You’ve probably found yourself running through an airport at some point, squinting up at a screen filled with rows of flight information. A futuristic new offering from Delta and a startup called Misapplied Sciences aims to change that. At Detroit Metro Airport, an installation can show travelers customized information for their flight. A scan of your boarding pass in McNamara Terminal is one way to tell the system who you are. Then, when you look at the overhead screen, you see that it displays only personalized data about your journey, like which gate you need to find. The tech behind the system works because the pixels in the display itself can shine in one of 18,000 directions, meaning many different people can see distinct information while looking at the same screen at the same time.Electronic bag tags by Alaska Airlines: The last tag you’ll need (for one airline)
Believe it or not, some travelers do still check bags, and a new offering from this Seattle-based airline aims to make that process easier. Flyers who can get an electronic bag tag from Alaska Airlines (at first, 2,500 members of their frequent flier plan will get them, and in 2023 they’ll be available to buy) can use their mobile phone to create the appropriate luggage tag on this device’s e-ink display while at home, up to 24 hours before a flight. The 5-inch-long tag itself gets the power it needs to generate the information on the screen from your phone, thanks to an NFC connection. After the traveler has done this step at home, they just need to drop the tagged bag off in the right place at the airport, avoiding the line to get a tag.Alice by Eviation: A totally electric commuter airplane
The aviation industry is a major producer of carbon emissions. One way to try to solve that problem is to run aircraft on electric power, utilizing them just for short hops. That’s what Eviation aims to do with a plane called Alice: 8,000 pounds of batteries in the belly of this commuter aircraft give its two motors the power it needs to fly. In fact, it made its first flight in September, a scant but successful eight minutes in the air. Someday, as battery tech improves, the company hopes that it can carry nine passengers for distances of 200 miles or so.OPV Black Hawk by Sikorsky: A military helicopter that flies itself
Two pilots sit up front at the controls of the Army’s Black Hawk helicopters, but what if that number could be zero for missions that are especially hazardous? That’s exactly what a modified UH-60 helicopter can do, a product of a DARPA program called ALIAS, which stands for Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System. The self-flying whirlybird made its first flights with zero occupants on board in February, and in October, it took flight again, even carrying a 2,600-pound load beneath it. The technology comes from helicopter-maker Sikorsky, and allows the modified UH-60 to be flown by two pilots, one pilot, or zero. The idea is that this type of autonomy can help in several ways: to assist the one or two humans at the controls, or as a way for an uninhabited helicopter to execute tasks like flying somewhere dangerous to deliver supplies without putting any people on board at risk.Detect and Avoid by Zipline: Drones that can listen for in-flight obstacles
As drones and other small aircraft continue to fill the skies, all parties involved have an interest in avoiding collisions. But figuring out the best way for a drone to detect potential obstacles isn’t an easy problem to solve, especially since there are no pilots on board to keep their eyes out and weight is at a premium. Drone delivery company Zipline has turned to using sound, not sight, to solve this conundrum. Eight microphones on the drone’s wing listen for traffic like an approaching small plane, and can preemptively change the UAV’s route to get out of the way before it arrives. An onboard GPU and AI help with the task, too. While the company is still waiting for regulatory approval to totally switch the system on, the technique represents a solid approach to an important issue.DART by NASA and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory: Smashing into an asteroid, for good
Earthlings who look at the sky in fear that a space rock might tumble down and devastate our world can now breathe a sigh of relief. On September 26, a 1,100-pound spacecraft streaked into a roughly 525-foot-diameter asteroid, Dimorphos, intentionally crashing into it at over 14,000 mph. NASA confirmed on October 11 that the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)’s impact altered Dimorphos’s orbit around its companion asteroid, Didymos, even more than anticipated. Thanks to DART, humans have redirected an asteroid for the first time. The dramatic experiment gives astronomers hope that perhaps we could do it again to avert an apocalypse.CAPSTONE by Advanced Space: A small vessel on a big journey
Some lunar craft fill up whole rooms. On the other hand, there’s CAPSTONE, a satellite that can fit on a desk. Despite control issues, CAPSTONE—which launched on June 28—triumphantly entered lunar orbit on November 13. This small traveler is a CubeSat, an affordable design of mini-satellite that’s helped make space accessible to universities, small companies, and countries without major space programs. Hundreds of CubeSats now populate the Earth’s orbit, and although some have hitched rides to Mars, none have made the trip to the moon under their own power—until CAPSTONE. More low-cost lunar flights, its creators hope, may follow.The LSST Camera by SLAC/Vera C. Rubin Observatory: A 3,200-megapixel camera
Very soon, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in the high desert of Northern Chile will provide astronomers with what will be nearly a live-feed view of the southern hemisphere’s sky. To do that, it will rely on the world’s largest camera—with a lens 5 feet across and matching shutters, it will be capable of taking images that are an astounding 3,200 megapixels. The camera’s crafters are currently placing the finishing touches on it, but their impressive engineering feats aren’t done yet: In May 2023, the camera will fly down to Chile in a Boeing 747, before traveling by truck to its final destination.The Event Horizon Telescope by the EHT Collaboration: Seeing the black hole in the Milky Way’s center
Just a few decades ago, Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at our galaxy’s heart, was a hazy concept. Now, thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), we have a blurry image of it—or, since a black hole doesn’t let out light, of its surrounding accretion disc. The EHT is actually a global network of radio telescopes stretching from Germany to Hawaii, and from Chile to the South Pole. EHT released the image in May, following years of painstaking reconstruction by over 300 scientists, who learned much about the black hole’s inner workings in the process. This is EHT’s second black hole image, following its 2023 portrait of a behemoth in the galaxy M87.Starliner by Boeing: A new way of getting to the ISS
After years of budget issues, technical delays, and testing failures, Boeing’s much-awaited Starliner crew capsule finally took to the skies and made it to its destination. An uncrewed test launch in May successfully departed Florida, docked at the International Space Station (ISS), and landed back on Earth. Now, Boeing and NASA are preparing for Starliner’s first crewed test, set to launch sometime in 2023. When that happens, Starliner will take its place alongside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, and NASA will have more than one option to get astronauts into orbit. There are a few differences between the two: Where Crew Dragon splashes down in the sea, Starliner touches down on land, making it easier to recover. And, where Crew Dragon was designed to launch on SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rockets, Starliner is more flexible.
All 100 innovations for Best of What’s New 2023, this way.
Doctors and researchers spend hours attempting to understand, troubleshoot, and treat maladies. Some diseases are harder to dissect and design medications for, while others are ignored for years. This year’s newly approved drugs, treatments, and health gadgets shine a light on a few of these oft-neglected conditions and bring renewed vigor to more-mundane ones. These innovations include the first-ever drug designed specifically to treat a type of depression common in new mothers, a far better form of toothpaste, and a gadget that makes checking and controlling your blood pressure easier than ever. They also highlight our ever-improving understanding of how the human body works.
Innovation of the Year: Zulresso by Sage Therapeutics
The first medicine for postpartum depression.
Within days of giving birth, a woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels quickly drop, leading to chemical changes in the brain that might give rise to shifts in mood. In fact, as many as three in four mothers experience symptoms of depression soon after childbirth. But for one in nine mothers, those symptoms result in a more serious, longer-lasting, and potentially life-threatening condition known as postpartum depression. The disorder, which manifests as a significant change in mood within hours to weeks of giving birth, is the most common complication of pregnancy. Currently, the depression drugs used to treat it take weeks to months to kick in—time that new mothers (and their infants) can’t afford. Zulresso is the first FDA-approved medication designed to tackle postpartum depression, and it does so at speed. The drug is a synthetic form of allopregnanolone, a hormone that dampens neural activity and eases depression symptoms when estrogen and progesterone levels dip. In double-blind control studies run by the creators at Sage Therapeutics, Zulresso worked within 60 hours. Right now, the drug is administered via a 60-hour intravenous infusion (common among new medicines), but alternative treatments, including a pill form, are currently in clinical trials.
Vaxelis by Sanofi and Merck
Fewer booster shots for kids.
Getting kids to the doctor for their scheduled vaccinations can be a figurative and literal pain. But missed or delayed shots might put children—and their friends and classmates—at risk of contracting dangerous infectious diseases. Vaxelis by pharma giants Sanofi and Merck is the first shot that protects against six different transmissible diseases: Haemophilus influenzae type b, poliovirus, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. It’s given in three doses when infants are 2, 4, and 6 months old (kids up to 4 years old can still get it). Compared to current regimens, it demands up to four fewer injections, letting pediatricians give more attention to other childhood needs.
HeartGuide by Omron
A blood pressure monitor on your wrist.
About 75 million American adults have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But only about half that group have the condition under control, even though it puts them at risk of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. Constant vigilance can help: With HeartGuide, the first FDA-approved smartwatch, people can track their pressure at any time. The device features an inflatable strap that functions just like a blood pressure cuff. It registers readings in 30 seconds, and saves the last 100 stats so users can see trends and share them with their doctors.
Aemcolo by Cosmo Technologies Ltd.
Drug on the go for a common traveler woe.
Vacations are one of the finer pleasures in life, but hitting the road often comes with risks. Traveler’s diarrhea, though common and inconvenient, can lead to more-serious conditions if not treated right away. To do so, doctors often turn to broad-spectrum antibiotics, which, when used inappropriately, can lead to resistance. Aemcolo is an antibiotic pill that is now approved in the US to counter the most common noninvasive strains of E. coli, which are the most frequent causes of traveler’s diarrhea. It targets the colon rather than the bloodstream to keep resistance down.
Cerene Cryotherapy Device by Channel Medsystems
A minimally invasive way to prevent traumatic periods.
Menstrual bleeding that’s heavy or lasts for more than a week can lead to iron-deficiency anemia, a potentially dangerous condition. Usually, methods to treat it include surgical procedures performed under general anesthesia, but Channel Medsystems offers a new option that skips the scalpel. The Cerene Cryotherapy Device freezes areas of the uterine lining to significantly reduce bleeding during future periods. The procedure is just as effective as current methods and can be performed safely in a gynecologist’s office without anesthesia.
Sickle cell treatment by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics
A potential (and potent) fix for a serious mutation.
Since CRISPR—the easy-to-use gene-editing tool—first blasted onto the biotech scene, experts have been employing it in research to attempt to treat mutation-based diseases. In July 2023, a team edited the DNA of an American woman with sickle cell anemia—a first. Individuals with sickle cell lack the protein necessary to produce healthy red blood cells, which makes it hard for oxygen to flow through the body. Doctors first removed stem cells from the woman’s bone marrow. Then, they genetically modified them using CRISPR to make them produce a protein that makes healthy red blood cells but whose production is typically shut down shortly after birth. The procedure was successful, but researchers need time—at least two years—to know how it will hold up in the long run.
Annovera by The Population Council Inc.
A more autonomous form of birth control.
Birth control pills are incredibly effective at regulating hormones and preventing pregnancy—but they can also be a hassle. The daily synthetic hormones require repeated trips to the pharmacy and a tight regimen; and other forms of birth control, like IUDs or implants, often entail long, multi-year commitments. Annovera is the first year-long reusable implant that women can remove and reinsert on their own and when they chose. It’s an about 2-inch-wide vaginal ring that releases synthetic forms of estrogen (which suppresses ovulation) and progesterone. The device remains in place during sex and lasts for a full year, providing more autonomy over when and how users choose to utilize it.
Total SF by Colgate
The most potent toothpaste yet.
Dentists are right: Fluoride is great for your teeth. It strengthens and remineralizes enamel, which prevents cavities and even reverses early tooth decay. Currently, most toothpastes come with a fluoride formulated with sodium. Colgate’s Total SF contains stannous fluoride, a far more potent version of substance, which in addition to strengthening enamel, acts as an antimicrobial against the bacteria that lead to bad breath, and protects teeth and gums from tartar buildup, gingivitis, and sensitivity. Until now, researchers have been unable to stabilize stannous fluoride without making the product stain teeth yellow and dark brown. Total SF uses a unique system of inactive zinc phosphate to handle the tricky element. This ensures your pearly whites stay both cavity-free and bright.
Spravato by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.
A new antidepressant, finally.
For the one in five people in the US whose depression defies all treatments, a new medication is here. This year, the FDA approved the drug Spravato, the first new drug for severe depression in decades and a derivative of the powerful anesthetic ketamine. While the mechanism is still not completely understood, researchers think it helps depression symptoms by restarting the growth of synapses, which connect neurons. It takes effect far more quickly than current antidepressants such as Prozac, which target serotonin receptors and take weeks or months to kick in. Currently, the Spravato nasal spray is being used for treatment-resistant depression in conjunction with these traditional antidepressants. Patients had a greater reduction of their symptoms at four weeks compared to those who took traditional antidepressants only.
SoToxa by Abbott
It’s easy for a police officer to quickly identify drunk drivers with a breathalyzer, but checking for other illicit drugs poses more of a challenge: It requires a blood test that takes hours to analyze off-site. But what if a little spit could seal the deal? SoToxa is a handheld diagnostic tool that officers can use to test saliva for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and benzodiazepines in the field. The results arrive in about five minutes. In a pilot test on 92 samples, performed through the Michigan State Police program, SoToxa proved to be just as accurate as independent blood tests.
Palforzia by Aimmune Therapeutics
The country’s first treatment for food allergies.
Peanut allergy is the second-most common food allergy for kids in the US, and the affected population continues to grow. It’s also the most likely to cause anaphylaxis, but no treatment currently exists. Aimmune Therapeutics’s Palforzia is a daily pill that contains small doses of the peanut protein that many people have a deadly reaction to. The amount is steadily increased over months so that the body can tolerate it in larger concentrations, such as in trace amounts in food. The drug won’t cure the allergy, but it will significantly reduce the chances of a life-threatening reaction. An FDA committee recommended the drug for approval for ages 4 to 17 in September, which means it should be prescribable for nearly 1.6 million kids soon.
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All 100 innovations for Best of What’s New 2023, this way.
You don’t need to stuff your house full of smart gadgets to surround yourself with cool gear. Sure, this list features an omniscient light that matches the sunshine streaming through your window—but there’s also a super-rugged tape measure, as well as a stroller that’ll do some of the pushing itself. Mix and match however you please.
Grand Prize Winner: Free P-series by Leatherman
Magnetic multitools you can wield with one hand.
Lightcycle by Dyson
A smart fixture that burns on for decades.
If you enjoy changing light bulbs, this is not the lamp for you. Dyson’s Lightcycle desk and floor lamps channel heat away from their bulbs with a heat pipe in the arm, technology that extends the life of their LED bulbs to 60 years. The fixtures also sense changes in ambient light to keep your work space at a constant brightness, no matter the time of day or type of weather brewing outside. Connect the Dyson Link app to have the lamp mimic the movement of the sun in your location, emitting warmer beams in the mornings and afternoons and cooler ones later in the day.
STUD tape measure by Milwaukee
A ruler that can take a beating.
Tape measures take a lot of abuse on the job site; they get bent, snapped, dropped, maybe even kicked down a flight of stairs. The STUD is built to endure all that; its thermoplastic rubber-covered frame can survive an 80-foot drop. The 33-millimeter-wide blade is also coated in high-density nylon to protect it from ripping and wearing, and it curves deeply in several strategic locations, meaning it’ll extend up to 14 feet until it flops. Handy if you can’t get somebody to hold the other end for you.
V11 vacuum by Dyson
Savvy, self-aware cleaning.
The fifth iteration of Dyson’s V-series knows how to adapt to its environment. Sensors in the cordless stick vacuum’s brush bar measure tension and determine whether it’s moving over a smooth hardwood floor or thick carpet, adjusting battery power accordingly. The wall-charged V11 can run for more than an hour on “eco” mode, and can level up to “medium” or “boost” for more heavy-duty cleaning if you’re willing to sacrifice battery life. An LCD screen at the top of the vacuum shows how much juice you’ve got, along with essential diagnostics like airflow blockage and whether you’ve done a bang-up job (kidding on that last one).
Power Clean faucet attachments by Moen
Powerful sink sprays for any mess.
Pots and pans come in a variety of sizes, but faucets rarely get to spice it up. Moen’s new kitchen faucets come with three snap-on attachments to help clean the toughest gunk and hardest-to-reach spots your cooking gear has to offer. The targeted spray acts like a pressure washer to remove stuck-on food; the four-corner spray takes the place of unwieldy bottle brushes; and the broad spray rinses stuff with wide, odd-shaped bases, like tea kettles. The attachments also blast water 50 percent faster than Moen’s standard faucets.
E-Priam stroller by Cybex
Power up all the hills.
The first electric stroller of its kind in the US, Cybex’s e-Priam can help you shuttle your kid around when the going gets steep. Sensors in the handlebar detect how hard you’re working, and then power the wheels to make the job less strenuous. Take on slopes as steep as 14 degrees with the added assurance that you won’t lose control downhill (the sensor-applied brakes will smooth out the roll). The wheels also assist when you’re crossing rough terrain, so you won’t have to struggle across the beach or through your untamed lawn. The stroller’s battery can last anywhere from a 10K to a marathon, depending on the load it’s carrying and the road ahead.
TrueHVL cordless worm drive saw by Skilsaw
A wireless boon for shop nerds.
The motor of a worm drive saw is located slightly to the rear, meaning its internal gears run perpendicular to each other. That gives the tool more power than its direct drive “sidewinder” relatives, at the expense of RPM. The tool’s narrow, elongated shape also lets you cut in tight spaces and provides extra reach when ripping wide sheets of wood. Plus, its blade is positioned to the left, so righties will be able to see where it’s cutting. The cordless part is clutch here: It’s hard to unplug with a worm drive because the gearing requires more oomph. Skilsaw found a way, though, by developing its own powerful battery.
Egg Timer with Piercer by OXO
Boiled to perfection.
You can’t just plop eggs in some boiling water and hope for the best. You need an impeccable sense of timing, too. If you weren’t born with it, give OXO’s egg timer a try. Just crank it to your desired doneness level (there are seven), tell it how big your eggs are, and it’ll let you know exactly when they’re ready to pull out of the pot. Plus, a lighted progress bar shows you how much time is left in the cooking process—useful for when you have to step away to put on pants. The pear-size gadget also has a built-in piercer that makes peeling shells an absolute thrill. Remember to run the eggs under cold water after boiling, though; otherwise all that punctuality will be in vain.
Sony PlayStation 5 review: A beautiful, speedy upgrade from last-gen, and yet more praise for the DualSense controller — by Sarah Chaney.
Samsung Q950T soundbar review: at $1,800, this would want to be good, but thankfully it is —by Chris Thomas.LG: Wing
The novel phone with a swiveling display offered something truly different from LG’s usual flagships. The LG Wing showed that LG can create what we called an engineering marvel in our review, with brilliant hardware and capable software.
Plenty of phone makers are willing to show off prototypes that never see the light of day. LG went for it. At $999, it was far cheaper than other first innovations from others, too.
I didn’t buy one in 2023, but it’s possible LG’s Explorer Project lineup can shake up smartphone design in the same way that Samsung is trying with its foldables. Speaking of…Samsung: Galaxy S20 FE
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 confirmed that Samsung really can make outstanding innovations that last. After a mixed reception for the original Galaxy Fold, its impressive follow-up sets the stage for the series to be a big part of Samsung’s future.
But the future often takes longer to arrive than we might think. The Galaxy S20 FE, though, is right here and now. It wowed reviewers, and buyers snapped it up. The Galaxy S20 FE returned Samsung to its winning Galaxy S10e formula. It took all the important bits from the Galaxy S20, made a few minor compromises, and dropped the price to compete with OnePlus and more in the affordable flagship segment.
That refreshing approach came as both the Galaxy S and the Note series struggled to differentiate themselves from each other, while moving even further out of reach for buyers unwilling to stretch to that $1,000 mark.Google: Pixel 4a
The Pixel 4a arguably represents the strongest Pixel product Google has ever put forward. The price tag at $350 made it super attractive, and amazingly, went on sale with better specs and a cheaper price than the Pixel 3a. The flagship camera and Google’s software easily made up for some missing features.
Personally, I bought the Pixel 4a 5G, because I was happy to pay a little more for some of those higher-end features including the better processor, 5G, and the additional wide-angle camera. But the Pixel 4a was even on sale for as little as $299 this year at time.
What a bargain, and what a no-brainer for those looking for the best of Google on a budget.Apple: iPhone SE (2023)
Apple cramming flagship speed and top-notch features — including IP rating and wireless charging — into an iPhone SE at $400 changed smartphones in 2023. At that low price, this became a default upgrade for many Apple-friendly consumers, and even Android fans were quick to appreciate what was on offer. Apple’s 2023 edition of the iPhone SE sold well all year, but it was especially relevant during the early pandemic period back in April.
Also: It alone may have been a catalyst for Google’s attractive Pixel 4a price, and may have driven OnePlus to debut its OnePlus Nord line at under ~$400 in Europe and other markets. But I’m only giving it a side-mention because the Nord didn’t hit the US. Instead, OnePlus kneecapped it , and brought out the almost bad Nord N10 in North America instead, leaving the true Nord for everyone else.Giveaway
This month, we’re giving away three prize packs! Enter the December giveaway for your chance to win.
First prize: An Xbox Series X and an AA hoodie
Second prize: A Google Pixel 4a 5G and an AA hoodie
Third prize: A Garmin Vivoactive 4 and an AA t-shirt
Knowing the Note limits, lucky 888 for Qualcomm, and more
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The Weekly Authority: Galaxy S21 all-access, tech that shook 2023, and more
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Certifications that will tell you if App designers are worth their salt
Finding a mobile application developer has never been easier. All it takes is a quick search on a freelance website to find hundreds of app designers who are ready to take on your project at a budget-friendly price. Oh, – if only life was that easy.
Out of those hundreds of potential candidates, only a handful actually have the qualifications and experience to build a fluid app that works well across multiple operating systems.
Don’t trust your project to a low-cost amateur; you’ll almost certainly wind up wasting your time and money. Instead, look for a developer who has the certifications that match your needs. Let’s take a look at some of the most sought-after certs, and why they’re so important:App Certifications That Convey Talent, Experience and Reliability
Information technology is an expansive and constantly evolving field. There’s a world of difference between a certification in Systems Administration and a certification in Programming and Development.
Plenty of developers offer app creation, website design, e-commerce and a suite of other features, but just because a developer has experience in a particular facet of digital marketing does not necessarily mean that he or she has the qualifications to produce next-level results.
Here are a few certifications you should look for when hiring an app developer:
Android Certified App Developer;
MCSD: Windows Store Apps;
MTA Mobile Development Fundamentals;
Oracle Java ME Mobile Application Developer;
Mobile Development Institute (MDI); and
And Java Technology for Wireless Industry (JTWI).
So which certifications are most important? Well, the answer really depends on your specific needs. Although these certifications all relate to app development, each of them conveys a unique skillset.App Development Certifications
On which operating system will your app be available? What programming language will it use to run? If you want a versatile app that can reach the largest possible audience, then you’d better find a developer with the skills to make it happen.Android Certified Application Developer
According to a Tom’s IT PRO study that compared job board search results, the most sought-after app developer certification is the Android Certified Application Developer.
Candidates must pass an exam that tests their experience and knowledge of a broad spectrum of topics related to Android application development. According to the Android Application Development guide, this certification demonstrates that a developer can:
Build a complete Android app.
Maintain and debug an Android app using various plugins and tools.
Explain the lifecycle and main components of an Android app.
Use Android persistent storage techniques
Utilize Android’s background processing techniques.
The bottom line: If you want your app to work well on an Android operating system, then find an Android Certified Application Developer.MCSD: Windows Store Apps
You should find a developer with this certification if you want an app that functions on Windows 8. As Microsoft explains, there are two paths to acquiring this certification: using C# or HTML5. These are different programming languages, but for most companies, it really doesn’t matter which language your developer uses.
Developers with the MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5 certifications have demonstrated their abilities to:
Developers with the MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C# certifications have demonstrated their abilities to:
Program in C#
Develop a Windows Store app using C#App Security Certifications
Is app security a major concern for your business? It better be if users are sharing personal or financial information.
You should never underestimate the ability and willingness of hackers to steal your app users’ data. CIO recommends that you find a developer with a certification in app security.
The CompTIA Mobility+ certification requires specialization in network administration, mobility engineering and app security. Candidates must pass evaluations related to troubleshooting, network infrastructure, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other digital technologies.
Another highly-reccomended certification for app security is The Certified Professional – Mobility (CCP-M) from Citrix. The certification tests candidates’ knowledge of application and mobile device management, IT compliance and security. This is an expensive certification – costing up to $5,000 – so it’s a positive sign that developers are worth their salt.
Finding a top-tier app developer isn’t easy, but doing your research is certainly worth the effort. Hiring an application designer with the right certifications will give you peace of mind and confidence that your project is in good hands.
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