Best Inventions of 2018        

Best Inventions of 2018

November 20, 2018

As the year is quickly winding down, we look back at the best inventions of the year according to Time Magainze. Their list is comprised of medical breakthroughs, unique toys, and nifty gadgets that were chosen based on category and editor and correspondent input.  You can read more on what made the cut here, and please continue reading below to see a few that stood out to us:

Fundamental Surgery

Everyone wants their surgeon to be perfectly prepared, but there are few affordable ways for medical residents to practice without putting patients at risk. Virtual-reality simulators help, but they have at least one major limitation. “You can’t touch the environment in a meaningful way,” says Richard Vincent, CEO of FundamentalVR, whose VR surgical simulator fixes that by incorporating haptic feedback (similar to a smartphone’s vibration) so doctors can “feel” their actions as if they were really performing surgery. Crucially, the system uses hardware-agnostic technology and costs as little as $8,000—far less than traditional training systems—which makes it more accessible to surgeons around the world. Some 50 hospitals are already using it, including big names like the Mayo Clinic. Reminds us of an advanced, high tech version of Operation…

ICON Vulcan 3-D Printer 

Earlier this year, Texas startup ICON turned heads after building a 350-sq.-ft. dwelling in 48 hours from start to finish. Its not-so-secret weapon: the Vulcan 3-D printer, a groundbreaking machine that erects the basic structure of a home, layer by layer, from concrete—at a fraction of the material and labor costs of traditional methods. ICON, which spent nine months developing Vulcan, has raised $9 million to improve its functionality, aiming to print a 2,000-sq.-ft. house in just 24 hours. ICON is also working with New Story, a housing nonprofit focused on Latin America and the Caribbean, to bring Vulcan to regions in need of cheap, durable housing solutions. But eventually, CEO Jason Ballard envisions a future in which anyone can build a custom abode. “This isn’t science fiction,” he says.

Eargo Max

Almost 48 million Americans suffer from some sort of hearing loss—and while many could benefit from a hearing aid, some are reluctant to wear them for aesthetic reasons. “There is a lot of stigma around hearing loss,” says Christian Gormsen, whose company, Eargo, spent eight years building a device that works almost entirely out of sight. Eargo Max ($2,450) is a rechargeable hearing aid made specifically for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Traditional hearing aids wrap around the ear and typically require several fittings and appointments with audiologists. Eargo Max, by contrast, fits comfortably inside the ear and can be bought online with help from a specialist. So far, customers have been receptive: Eargo expects to end the year with 20,000 active users.


Beyond Meat 

In recent years, alternative beef—a.k.a. real-seeming burger patties made from plant oils and proteins—has started popping up on menus at restaurants from Bareburger to White Castle. Now Beyond Meat, the company behind the Beyond Burger, is experimenting with a different alternative-meat product: sausage. Its new Beyond Sausage ($9 for a pack of four) looks and tastes surprisingly close to the real thing. It’s also leaner, with 43% less total fat and 38% less saturated fat, and much more sustainable than actual meat. (By one estimate, the global livestock industry is responsible for nearly 20% of human-caused greenhouse gases.) Earlier this year, the company opened a second plant to meet demand. —Alejandro De La Garza


Family and Friend Finder

Who hasn’t worried about getting separated from friends at a crowded event or losing track of a loved one on a family vacation? LynQ ($209 for two), a new location tracker, offers a fix. Using a combination of GPS technology and long-range radio frequencies, LynQs can find other LynQs up to three miles away; an onscreen dot then points each user in the right direction, like a compass. As a bonus, parents or pet owners can also set up “safe zones” to be alerted when a wandering child or animal leaves a given area. Unlike smartphones, LynQ doesn’t require a cell signal or monthly subscription, and it’s easier for kids to use than full GPS handsets. “We always say LynQ solves the three W’s,” says co-founder Drew Lauter, whose startup has raised more than $1.5 million to mass-produce the device. “No more worrying, wandering or waiting around.” —Alejandro De La Garza


Please note, the original article and content was written and released through Time Magazine and can be read in full here.

Up Down