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Best Gadgets 2020

The plan to write a set of instructions for the human brain takes shape. Google seemed to have made progress when it unveiled its Duplex system in 2018. An add-on for its Assistant app, Duplex employs more sophisticated types of AI to understand and use natural language to book restaurant tables and hair appointments, or ask about a business’s opening hours.

  • The fans last between 7 and 30 hours depending on how high they’re turned up, and the battery can be recharged via USB.
  • Seemingly out of left field, Hyundai launched its all-new Santa Cruz, a compact pickup meant for urban-dwellers who need a bit more utility.
  • Well before the 916, in 1992, Ducati created a racebike called the ‘Supermono’.
  • We love bonfires (and barbecues!) but it does get tiresome having to dance around the fire all evening to dodge the eye-watering smoke.

Microsoft’s accessibility kit for its Surface computers takes that kind of hacking off their hands. While none of these simple add-ons are engineering marvels, they represent an effort to make Surface computers accessible to more people—without sending them out into the unpredictable world of kludgy third-party accessories. To earn a spot among the 100 technologies on this list—a roundup we’ve argued over annually since 1988—every winner convinced us of its role on our shared path to a healthier, safer, smarter, and happier tomorrow. Across all our 10 categories, gains in efficiency showcased our collective drive to optimize our world. And, all the while, our push against the pandemic netted gains in prevention, testing, and treatment that will form the backbone of our resistance to the disease for years to come.

Science & Tech

While the Oura Ring Generation 3 offers a fairly standard raft of health monitoring features—from sleep tracking to activity logging—it represents a significant improvement in reproductive health. It monitors fluctuations in body heat to predict when users will start menstruating, up to 30 days in advance. Based on the well-established connection between body temperature and ovulation, the Oura Ring is a major step ahead of most available period trackers, which are generally just calendars that rely on user input. In the future, a similar device could bundle fitness tracking with fertility analysis to lower or raise the odds of conception. In spring of 2021, America’s best-selling pickup started the transition away from combustion.

New Tech

Outside of just green tech advancements, these technologies reveal safer ways to mine, introduce AI that can untangle hidden mysteries of DNA’s structure, and provide a much-needed dose of high-flying fun. To navigate space, probes fire their thrusters and spew a trail of hot gas behind them. But the shoebox-sized Near Earth Asteroid Scout, which NASA engineers readied for launch in July, will traverse tens of millions of miles pushed along almost entirely by sunlight. The spacecraft’s school bus-sized solar sail is made from a tough, Saran-wrap-like plastic that catches sunbeams as the probe leaves our planet behind. This tech builds upon previous prototype demonstrations in low Earth orbit, such as LightSail 2. It costs around $30 million, roughly a tenth the price of a bigger, fuel-laden mission.

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