Popular Mechanics announced its picks for the 2008 Breakthrough Awards awards in what the publication called The 10 Most Brilliant Gadets of the Year. Here’s the list of international winners; you may be surprised at the gadgets on the list.
1. Microsoft Phyotosynth
If you haven’t heard about “synthing,” you haven’t been following what’s happening in photographic software. This free downloadable product from Microsoft, actually rummages through your still photos, finds the ones you took at the same locale or of the same person and arranges your shots for you. Wait… The Photosynth software, arranges the shots in a browsable 3-D format, so you can see and share photos in 3D!
The much anticipated Sport video game did not disappoint. Actually, Spore has grown and before you know it, Spore will have more episodes than Seinfeld. Available in PC, Mac, Nintendo and mobile applications, Spore players get to populate and take over new universes with each game. Popular Mechanic says the attraction to Spore is that players get to create their own characters to interact with each other, rather than relying on stock characters stored in an animation library. Sound like fun!
3. Amazon Kindle
You can read almost any popular book, newspapers from all over the world, or Internet blogs from Amazon’s Kindle reader. You can read the Kindle anywhere; it’s wireless, but there are no wireless fees. Instead of WiFi, Kindle uses EDVO like the advanced cell phones, so you don’t have to search for a hot spot. Carry this 10.3 ounce gadget with you and you’ll always have something to read. You can even purchase more reading material directly from the Kindle.
4. Livescribe Pulse Smartpen
The Livescribe Smartpen lets you combine voice recording with note-taking, and if you’ve ever been a student or an interviewer, you know you need both. With PC software (only works with PC right now), a special notepad, and of course the Smartpen, you can take notes with the internal recorder picking up the sound at the same time. When transferring your notes to the PC, you can tap the Smartpen on your notes to get the audio pertinent to those specific notes!
5. Craftsman Nextec Multi-Saw
This 12-volt saw is a “new breed of saw,” according to Popular Mechanics gadget pickers. It’s both a jigsaw and a reciprocating saw that “gets into tight spots, powers through touch jobs and can operate at 2000 strokes per minute.
6. Potenco PCG1 Power Generator
The PCG1 is a power generator for small gadgets like cell phones, GPS devices, and MP3 players. It is powered by human energy, making zero toes on a carbon footprint. Pull the cord for a minute, store the power on the PVG1 NiMh battery and convert your energy into 20 minutes of cell phone talk time.
7. Nissan Around View Monitor
Nissan’s new navigation system enables the driver to see the surroundings of his car as he parks… all sides, 360 degrees around your car in one view. Using cameras positioned on all four sides of the car, Nissan’s system synthesizes all views into one on the navigation screen. The things that are possible!
8. M-Spector Digital Inspection Camera
If you’ve ever had to break through a big patch of drywall in your home just to find out what was on the other side, you will love this M-Spector Digital Inspection Camera. The LED-lens is at the end of a three foot cable. Send it into a small hole and rotate it, The lens will pick up what’s behind the wall and beam it back to the 2.4 inch LCD. It will help the pros and the DIYers to find leaks, trace wiring, and maybe even see the trail of your TV cable wire!
9. Intel Atom Processor
Don’t let the size of the above picture fool you, the Intel Atom Processor is not called “Atom” for nothing. It has 47 million transistors on one 26 x 26 millimeter chip! Intel intends to use this little tyke in a new generation of mobile phone-computers and maybe automobiles (just kidding about the cars), for even greater potential.
10. Caroma Profile Smart Dual Flush Toilet
Here’s a great idea for conserving water — a toilet with a built-in sink. Wash up and then the water gets reused to move waste in the toilet. (Let’s hope the flow doesn’t get mixed up.) The Caroma toilet is only available in Australia now, but is scheduled to come to North American in 2009.