There is no denying that technology has progressed leaps and bounds in the last few decades. And arguably, the advances of the information age may be more pivotal to modern life than the industrial revolution. On a purely functional level, then, technology exists to make our lives easier – and that is exactly what these ingenious inventions are intended to achieve. You were probably previously unaware that you needed most of them, but you will soon realize how awesome they are…
20. The last word in straws
Have you ever been hiking in the wilderness only to realize that you haven’t brought enough water with you? Well, thanks to the LifeStraw, those bodies of seemingly undrinkable water – such as rivers and lakes – can now provide refreshment. Indeed, this inventive solution filters out any contaminants, making basically any water safe to drink.
19. Look – no helmet
Helmets are essential safety wear when you are riding a bike, whether motorized or pedal-powered. But some argue that they can be large, unsightly and totally ruin your hairstyle. Thankfully, then, a pair of European design students, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, put their heads together and came up with an “invisible” helmet that is worn around the neck. They called it the Hövding – which translates as chief – and it only deploys airbags in the event of a collision.
18. A brush with hi-tech
The manual brushing of teeth seems like the sort of mundane activity technology should have made easier ages ago. And now it has, thanks to the Amabrush. Yes, this automatic teeth-brushing device cleans a set of pearly whites in just ten seconds. And all the user needs to do is place it in the mouth and push a button.
17. Patch works on mosquito pests
Fending off mosquitoes can be a pain – literally. But no more, thanks to a solution developed by a team of scientists at the University of California. The Kite Patch was, in fact, partly funded by the Bill and Melina Gates Foundation. The device emits a harmless chemical mixture that prevents mosquitoes from detecting the wearer for up to two days.
16. A smart idea for recyclable phone batteries
While disposable phone batteries aren’t exactly brand new, the possibility of recycling them is. After all, the disposable batteries already sold in countries like Japan are typically made of plastic. However, these two-, four- and six-hour charging devices from designer Tsung Chih-Hsien are made of cardboard, meaning that they can be easily recycled.
15. Plugging into electrical Soccket
Soccer is said to be the most popular sport in the world, with a global following of about four billion people – more than half the planet. So it would be a real kick to be able to use a soccer ball as a means of generating electricity, right? This is exactly what U.S. company Uncharted Play has done. Indeed, its Soccket ball transforms into a lamp which can generate three hours of light after just 30 minutes of use.
14. Edible bottle is food for thought
Sure, this doesn’t really look anything like a bottle in the traditional sense. But that’s because it eschews our preconceptions of what packaging should look like – and is helping save the planet, too. Indeed, Ooho is biodegradable as it is made up entirely of plants and seaweed. Being totally edible means you can combine a snack with your drink as well. And don’t worry if seaweed isn’t your thing – Ooho can be flavored, too.
13. Take your seats for the waste bus
In a drive towards sustainable travel, a U.K. company has developed the BioBus – public transport that runs entirely on sewage and garbage. The effluent is converted into biomethane gas at a treatment plant, and a full tank of the fuel will take a bus 200 miles. The energy source is also being used to power more than 8,000 British homes.
12. Thumbs up for digital technology
Ever wondered what it would be like to have a third thumb? That idle speculation may soon become reality thanks to designer Danielle Clode. The New Zealander has come up with a concept for a 3D-printed attachable digit to complement our existing thumb. The faux thumb is controlled by sensors in the wearer’s shoes, taking full advantage of the kind of hand and feet co-ordination used while driving or playing piano.
11. Clean break from dirty bag odors
If you are sick of your gym bag emitting noxious smells post-workout, you will be pleased to hear that there is a solution on its way. Yep, press a button and the PaqSule will clean itself – including deodorizing the bag’s contents – to keep things smelling fresh. The really clever thing is that it achieves this funky breakdown using just light and oxygen.
10. Bobby’s got your back
Anyone who has ever fallen victim to a pickpocket will appreciate the Bobby – Dutch firm XD Design’s anti-theft backpack. The company claims that more than 400,000 pickpocket incidents happen each day around the world, so its potential client base is vast. This ingenious bag not only boasts great safety features, such as hidden pockets and cut-proof material, but it also packs a USB charging port.
9. Comfortably ending the nightmare of sleep apnea
Coping with sleep apnea – difficulty breathing while in the land of nod – can be a hassle. After all, the devices intended to help alleviate the condition feature all kinds of troublesome cords, masks and hoses. But now a start-up company is crowdfunding a solution that it calls Airing to end all that. The hope is that sufferers will find the simple device worn in the nose much easier and restful to use.
8. App replaces dental appointment
A visit to the dentist’s chair can be a figurative and literal pain. And if all you need is a simple check-up, surely there must be a less arduous way to go about it? Thanks to the disconcertingly named Yanko Design, there is – a use-at-home dental camera. Essentially, pictures from the device are sent via an app to a dentist so they can check for any teething problems.
7. Warm welcome for better sweater
Set to launch in early 2018, the Polar Seal self-warming sweater promises to heat things up in just ten seconds. Handily controlled by a button on its sleeve, the garment has three different temperature levels and two separate heating pads. Therefore, it is never too hot or too cold – even Goldilocks would appreciate this garment.
6. Road to enlightenment
LifePaint may be produced by Swedish motor manufacturer Volvo, but the reflective product is not made for cars. No, it is for applying to everything else on the road. Indeed, the temporary color can be sprayed on anything a car user would need to see better at night. The product is also invisible by day, but after dark it is illuminated by car headlights, lending greater visibility to hazards for night drivers.
5. Smart fork gives you something to chew on
From light bulbs to thermostats, it seems like everything these days is “smart.” So why should our cutlery be any different? And the electronic HAPIfork actually sounds pretty ingenious. After all, it’s an eating utensil that tracks your eating habits. Not only does it make sure you don’t make the mistake of eating too fast, but it can also help you lose weight by keeping count of how many forkfuls you’ve had.
4. Haute couture in a can
Ever wanted to be able to spray your clothes on? Perhaps if you were running late? Probably the answer is no; it’s not something that would occur to most people. But that’s exactly what London-based company Fabrican has come up with. The futuristic material is sprayed directly on to the body, and the fibers it contains bond together to create clothing.
3. Cooking up a great idea
Cooking steak or salmon can be a case of trial and error when it comes to getting the correct temperature and timing. Never mind that, though, Pantelligent is here to take all the hard work and guesswork out of the process. Yes, the pot talks to your smartphone and an app gives you precise instructions for heating, flipping and adding other ingredients. Evidently, sometimes technology just gives it to you on a plate.
2. Like a breath of fresh air
Air pollution is one of the many silent killers of modern society, so it’s worth knowing just where to go for the freshest oxygen your lungs can handle. TZOA – a wearable air quality monitor – helps you do just that. The device’s sensors track variable factors, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, ultra-violet light exposure and humidity.
1. Technology takes baby steps
Any parent will tell you that one of the trickiest parts of caring for a newborn is managing their sleep schedule – not to mention their own. In which case, the Sproutling may be just what the baby doctor ordered. This invention is a smart baby monitor which can learn your little one’s sleeping patterns, predicting when they’re likely to need a snooze and how they can get the best night’s sleep possible.