The most spectacular inventions of 2016
They say you can’t reinvent the wheel. Are they sure?
In 2016, Goodyear proved them wrong with its vision of a tyre based on a complete sphere. But the manufacturer was not the only one to present groundbreaking new creations. Take a look back at some of the spectacular new releases of the last 12 months.
- Self-lacing Shoes
- VR Goggles
- 360-Degree Tyres
- Pocket Drones
Almost 30 years ago, Back to the Future II gave us a 1980s vision of October 21, 2015. Marty McFly’s time-jumping adventure was made in shoes that automatically closed themselves. In 2016, fiction became reality when shoe giant Nike presented the Hyperadapt 1.0, the first running shoe to tighten itself.
This piece of the future has been available since November and these type of trainers from Nike are just the beginning. For example, soon the shoes will recognise how firmly they must be laced and adapt accordingly. As Doc Brown would say, “Great Scott!”
Virtual Reality was among the keywords in tech circles over the past year. Well-known manufacturers revealed their latest models including the long-awaited Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. For gamers, the most interesting release may have been Sony’s Playstation VR Goggles. Smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and tech giant Google also managed cost-effective access to the virtual world, with users synching their smartphones to designated headsets. We’ll wait and see how this compelling software builds on this exciting concept, especially as graphically, there’s still much room for improvement.
Self-driving cars are no longer just a dream. Companies like Tesla continue to focus their efforts on modes of autonomous driving. Even tyre maker Goodyear has cast its eye towards the next generation of cars and surprised many with the Eagle 360, a tyre produced by 3D printers in the form of a sphere.
This tyre is based on magnetic levitation, which means it’s not in contact with the body of the car. With this ball concept, the car can move in all directions and turn 360 degrees. But to see this in action on the road still needs the right vehicle, something which it seems is still a few years away.
Drone manufacturers Dji scored a big hit with buyers with their Phantom 4. Then in September the Japanese company flipped the scene with the Mavic Pro. This quadrocopter is so small that, when folded, it almost fits in your pocket. Nevertheless, the DJI Mavic Pro still makes high-quality sharp images at incredibly stable flight attitudes.
Bluetooth headphones already exist but Apple has gone one better with the Airpods. Although they must recharge every five hours - meaning non-stop music enjoyment is not as possible - the playback quality is an upgrade. They connect quickly and easily with your devices, and unlike their competitors, they pause playback when you take them out. The earplugs also have a built-in microphone, and best of all, have no fiddly cable.