Time magazine published its “Best Inventions of 2021”, the global groundbreaking inventions that are making the world better, smarter and a bit more fun. The top 100 list features technologies, products, and services across 27 categories including accessibility, artificial intelligence, apps and software, augmented and virtual reality, design, education, finance, food and drink, medical care, robotics, sustainability, toys and games, wellness, etc, that are changing the way we live, work, play and think about what’s possible. In 2021 the list of world-changing inventions includes COVID-19 vaccines, a toy robot to support hospitalized children, alternative proteins, waterless hair care products, a smart sneaker and more. Let us discover the details.
Robin the Robot, Robotics CategoryRobin is a robot with a friendly look, plastic, and huggable body, created to interact with children to ease their anxiety and loneliness in the hospital. The emotional-learning technology helps Robin to engage with children which is essential in times of the pandemic when physical isolation has become important for sick children, particularly those having immune systems disorders. Robin helps to deal with the feelings connected to being isolated. The artificial intelligence system was developed by Expper Technologies, a Silicon Valley-supported startup with roots in Yerevan, Armenia. Robin's technology creates associative memory enabling him to recognize a child's emotion by interpreting their facial expressions and building responsive dialogue based on previous experiences.
Everist, Beauty CategoryZero-waste beauty startup Everist launched waterless haircare products. The company has made a completely waterless shampoo and conditioner concentrate, which is activated by the water in the shower. Taking care of the beauty industry's impact on the planet, Everist designed its products as an alternative to traditional shampoos with a totally plant-based formula. The approach is not to focus on the desire of being conscious, but to make eco products for mass consumption. To avoid packaging wastes, Everist has opted for an infinitely-recyclable aluminum tube. Everist haircare products change the way people look at eco-beauty.
COVID-19 Vaccines, Medical Care CategorySince the start of the pandemic, no one could have foreseen how controversial a COVID-19 vaccine would become, dividing people into two opposite sides - the anti-science and anti-vaccine believers and those who were awaiting the COVID-19 vaccine’s discovery. The vaccine has been developed in record time and now is distributed globally to help fight the pandemic and help protect people worldwide. During this process, all steps have been taken to ensure its safety and effectiveness. The COVID-19 vaccines invention shared joint recognition on the list of groundbreaking innovations of 2021.
Mosquirix Malaria Vaccine, Medical Care Category
First Malaria Vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline has been approved by WHO. Malaria kills about 500,000 people in Africa each year, about half of them are children under 5. The new vaccine isn’t perfect, but experts believe that it will make a start to fundamental changes. The development of the First Malaria Vaccine will help to fight one of the oldest known and deadliest infectious diseases, and save tens of thousands of people’s lives each year.
The Learning Passport, Education CategoryThe Learning Passport brings together Cambridge’s expertise in education with UNICEF’s understanding of how to support children in need and Microsoft’s substantial technological capability. The aim of the program is to close the learning poverty gap that faces millions of children failing to achieve minimum proficiency levels in their education. Teachers around the world will receive access to a technology platform with learning materials and deliver them in the most effective way. It will also track the level of learned material so that children have a digital record of their progress accessible anywhere in the world. The platform will cover maths, science, literacy, and a specially-developed program designed to meet children’s social and emotional learning needs.
Nike GO FlyEase, Accessibility Category
Nike released its innovative GO FlyEase sneakers, which are designed to be quick and easy to get into without the help of hands. We designed the model for people with limited mobility. The design of Nike GO FlyEase sneakers resembles Crocs sandals. According to Nike designers, the sneakers were primarily designed for people with disabilities but can be used by everyone. There are many slip-on shoes on the market, but the FlyEase line is designed with both fashion and accessibility in mind.
Percepto AIM, Artificial Intelligence Category
Percepto AIM is an autonomous inspection & monitoring platform by an Israel-based drone company. The firm uses on-site drones and robots to automate inspections, emergency response, and security for critical infrastructure and industrial sites like power plants, refineries, and mines. Percepto’s AI framework offers visual data for each of the sector-specific solutions. Percepto is a new approach to industrial facility inspection and monitoring by integrating AI and autonomous robots with advanced visual data analysis.
Kuleana tuna, Food and Drink Category
This year alternative protein food techs are listed in the top 100 inventions for developing the alternative protein industry and building sustainable food systems. The food tech Kuleana tuna, producing plant-based sushi-grade tuna, has been included in the 2021 list. Animal agriculture is the second-largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas emissions and is the main cause of deforestation, water, and air pollution, and biodiversity loss. The production of alternative proteins can become a global climate solution.
Neeva, Apps and Software Category
Neeva, a company that created ad-free and private search, has been recognized for transforming search and creating a better internet experience for consumers. Google and the alike searches are free, but users pay by handing over their data and then have to view targeted ads on every website they visit. Neeva changed that, offering totally ad-free search apps. Traditional search systems democratize access to info for millions of people around the world, remaining an important service. But Neeva has created a private and simple solution, throwing away great amounts of unnecessary information that compete for our attention 24/7 to let the users find just what they want.
SupPlant, Sustainability Category
SupPlant, an Israeli agriculture startup was recognized for its unique agritech solution, which allows automating irrigation based on IoT. The company has created an AI-enabled sensor placed in soil that informs farmers when and how much to water plants based on an algorithm that calculates plant needs, soil moisture, climate conditions. The system offers low-cost irrigation solutions without the necessity of larger investments in hardware, allowing small growers to benefit from it. It is currently used by farmers in 14 countries, and tests in Mexico found it reduced water consumption for a mango crop by 15 percent. SupPlant’s technology aims to address the impact of global warming worldwide.