You know that Back to the Future meme that periodically shows up on your Facebook news feed? The one with the wrong date? Well, when the real date of 21 October 2015 comes around, I’ll be ready. Because this year, the future finally became the present. The hoverboard has been invented! Well, it only rises 1 inch off the ground and currently costs US$10,000 for one, but it’s definitely one of the Best Inventions of 2014.
Can’t afford the hoverboard? Here are 5 of the Best Inventions of 2014 you can buy, and why.
1. For the art enthusiast – Electric Objects EO1 / US$399
Imagine how much you’d pay for all the artwork you admire. Then imagine all the wall space you’d need for them. Cry. Now imagine if you could just buy one screen that would be able to display any piece of art you want. That’s what the EO1 from Electric Objects is.
Now, this may look like little more than a glorified digital photo frame, but that’s only if your imagination is limited. Unlike the cheap-looking digital photo frame, the EO1 is designed for a community that creates and appreciates art. The EO1 works like a standardised canvas for digital artists to create works that are meant to be seen on a wall-mounted 23” high definition screen.
The EO1 unit claims to use as much power as a lightbulb, despite involving some impressive technical specifications which include a 1Ghz Dual ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 1 Gb of RAM and a 3D graphics accelerator with 4 shaders. It is intentionally designed to be as unlike a computer as possible. There is no option for audio or speakers, no USB port or SD card slot. Instead, it involves technology that minimizes screen burn, simply because you’re meant to display your art semi-permanently.
It’ll be the computer you never realise you needed.
2. For the party organiser – Coolest Cooler / US$299
Nothing says party like a cooler full of alcohol, but what about a cooler that is literally all you need for a party? The Coolest Cooler boasts an inbuilt 18V ice-crushing blender, waterproof Bluetooth speakers that can play music from your smartphone, and a USB charging station.
It also comes with a cutting board, storage for plates and a knife and a bottle opener. That means you’re covered for the lime and lemon slices, as well as all the beer bottles you need for the best party ever. Frozen margarita parties, complete with Latin music, are now possible with just a single cooler.
People loved the idea so much they funded the Coolest Cooler on Kickstarter to the tune of almost US$13.3 million, making it the most funded project of all time.
3. For the sporty – 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball / US$250
Basketball players practice for hours to improve their game, but still rely on a certain amount of intuition, skill and sheer dumb luck to perfect their shot. Having a coach helps players to improve, but short of committing your moves to muscle memory, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get better.
The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball aims to change all that. It uses nine sensors embedded into a regulation ball. This way, the ball can detect force, speed, ball rotation and ball arc. It then uses a Bluetooth chip to send performance data to your smartphone. The smartphone app has “skills training” and “workout” modes. “Skills training” involve improving shot arc and backspin, while “workout” is focused on reducing release time and increasing accuracy. There are also other modes that help with dribbling and passing.
The best feature about the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball is the real-time advice that it can give, allowing you to improve your game, shot by shot. With its US$250 price tag, however, it’s clearly meant for players who are serious about playing and serious about improving.
4. For the fashionista – Ringly / US$195
Your smartphone’s vibration mode isn’t going to help you if it’s at the bottom of your handbag. Neither is it going to hide your face when your Taylor Swift ringtone suddenly sounds in the middle of an important meeting. A discreet, fashionable solution came about with the Ringly.
Essentially, it’s a piece of costume jewellery that can subtly tell you when you have a notification on your phone. With 4 different vibration patterns and 5 available colours, you’ll be able to customise how your notifications reach you. For example, a phone call could be a short, soft vibrating buzz, while an email could be a discreet flashing of a green light from the bulb on the side of the ring.
The Ringly will even warn you if you’re more than 5 metres away from your smartphone, meaning you’ll never leave your phone behind again.
5. For the young parent – Osmo / US$79
If you’ve ever given your child a tablet to occupy her, you know what a big mistake you’ve made. Not only have you started your child’s device addiction early in life, you’ve probably also confined her to a life of social ineptitude and future heart problems.
Introducing Osmo, a set of iPad games that involve the front-facing camera and some real-world puzzle pieces. Now, the games require a tabletop surface, so it won’t work very well in the car or MRT, for example. That said, the amount of space needed isn’t much, so it’s perfect for keeping your child occupied while waiting for your dinner at a restaurant.
The Osmo games cater for a range of ages. The young reader will enjoy Words, a guessing game that gives you a picture and requires you to describe it – like a cross between Hangman and 4 Pics 1 Word. Tangram, as the name suggests, is a puzzle game that requires the player to make shapes using puzzle pieces. Newton is the most interactive game. The goal is to direct a series of balls from the top of the screen onto a target, using any creative solution you can think of. Think of it as a freeflow physics game, in the same vein as The Incredible Machine series of games, Where’s My Water or Cut the Rope.
Which of these Best Inventions of 2014 interest you most? Let us know in the comments.
Picture credits: coolest.com
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