The Sunday Feed

Brand New World

We can always debate whether technological innovations are good or bad. One thing is for sure though. No one wants to be left behind when it comes to reaping the benefits that it gives us.

It is believed that there were about 100 practical innovations made in 2020. Here are my top picks:

1. Accessibility: Power chair for the immobile by LUCI

The problem: Wheelchairs can be a lot more dangerous than they look. The devices, which weigh up to 400 lb., are prone to tips and collisions, sometimes resulting in serious injuries like broken bones

The Solution: LUCI, a power-chair accessory that uses sensors to monitor the chair’s environment and reduce accidents

2. Beauty: Climate specific skin care by ManiMe

The problem: Weather can come with a mix of variables like it can be hot and dry, hot and humid, cold and dry or cold and humid.

The solution: Adjusted to account for factors like humidity, temperature, altitude and more — ­whether they’re in dry desert heat or a frigid northern forest. One kit includes a balancer, a serum and two day creams.

3. Connectivity: Linking health care workers — Health badge by Vocera

The Problem: At critical moments while caring for patients, doctors and nurses must drop what they’re doing if they need to call a colleague

The Solution: Worn like a necklace or pinned to scrubs, the device lets clinicians reach other team members using voice-activated commands. “You never have to stop what you’re doing, reach in your pocket and pull out your phone, or take off your gloves to interact with another device

4. Design: Greener running shoes made from plants — Allbirds tree dasher

The Problem: Joggers are incredibly wasteful, relying heavily on oil-based synthetics like plastic.

The Solution: The Allbirds Tree Dasher is made almost entirely from natural materials, with a carbon footprint estimated at almost a third lower than that of the average sneaker. Using eucalyptus, merino wool, castor-bean oil and sugarcane actually boost performance: the eucalyptus fibres are cooling, the wool regulates temperature, and the sugarcane midsole provides performance cushioning.

5. Experimental: Hydrogen power for planes by ZeroAvia

The Problem: In 2019, passenger airlines emitted a record 915 million tons of CO² into the atmosphere.

The Solution: ZeroAvia’s zero-emission hydrogen-electric power train, which substitutes hydrogen fuel cells and electric motors for conventional fossil fuel powered engines. The tech predicts that it will be able to power a 20-seat aircraft with a range of 500 miles within three years and a 100-passenger jet within 10

6. Finance: Remitly Passbook

The Problem: A bank account is key to financial security and success in the US. But for many immigrants, barriers to entry like Social Security numbers and steep fees put opening an account out of reach.

The Solution: Passbook is an app that allows customers to open a bank account using a range of identification options, including an immigration ID or a passport, without any banking fees. Clients can also use the account, which comes with a Visa debit card, to transfer money to families abroad

7. Health: Hands free brushing by Willo

The Problem: Brushing can be a not so pleasant task to do soon after you have woken up. Ask a child how they feel and you will know.

The solutions: Created by a French dentist, Willo makes even the fanciest electric toothbrushes seem analog. The device pumps in water and specially formulated toothpaste then pulls it from the tray through a tube into a sink. No rinsing required. The undulating bristles do the work of a team of toothbrushes, and the pumping action, which feels like a gum massage, is effective at removing plaque.

8. Medical: At home Covid-19 sampling by Roche

The Problem: As things tend to open up after vaccination, people tend to drop their guard and relax. This exponentially raises the chances of someone acquiring the virus.

The Solution: The Roche Covid-19 Nasal Rapid Antigen Self Test Kit is a lateral flow test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antigen in human nasal samples. This test is used to detect antigens of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in individuals suspected of having COVID-19 and is designed as a self-test for the general public.

Photo: Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels

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