While technology is constantly evolving and researchers are hard at work everywhere, trying to develop new gadgets that will help make all our lives simpler, there are still tiny issues in our daily lives we would like to see fixed. We all have our pet peeves, such as going to the doctor, or not feeling safe in a dark alley at night, or having to spend lots of time, energy and money just to print out a page. This list, featuring some of the best inventions of 2011 is here to show you that, unbeknownst to you, brilliant minds worldwide are trying to take care of all these things (and a whole host of others) without you even knowing it.
1. The BodyGuard
It took David Brown seven years to develop the BodyGuard, but single females everywhere, as well as all other living in unsafe areas, will surely thank him once this gadget hits mass production. The BodyGuard is essentially an armored glove equipped with a camera and a wrist mounted stunner. There’s lots of room for adding further features, but with what it’s got so far, the BodyGuard is sure to defend you against any dark-alley robberies. The BodyGuard was unveiled at the May 2011 U.S. Department of Justice’s Mock Prison Riot, a training and technology-assessment event held in a former prison in West Virginia.
2. The PrintBrush
“How cool would it be to just point a camera at anything, click, shoot and then print? Not just on paper – on any surface!” That’s probably the initial thought process that led Alex Breton to come up with the PrintBrush 4X6, a pocket-sized printer with a built-in camera. You can carry it around with you in any laptop bag and it weighs under a pound. Use it to print on any flat surface: wood, fabric, plastic, cardboard or paper. It took Alex eleven years to develop this gadget, scheduled for release early next year. The version set for release includes a memory card, a 5M pixel camera and is connectible to all USB 2.0 ports.
3. Dynamic Eye Sunglasses
One day, Chris Mullin was on his regular commute to work. It was nice, warm and sunny outside, but, to Chris’s aggravation, his regular sunglasses couldn’t block out the sun. That’s when he came up with the concept for the Dynamic Eye Sunglasses. The technology behind them is based on liquid crystal lenses, that go dark at the very spot where the sun shines its brightest on the lens. A fund raising campaign for identifying early adopters of the technology was initiated in November, 2010.
4. The Bed Bug Detective
This device was created by Chris Goggin, a self-professed “innovator” located in Wilmington, North Carolina. What it does is simple enough: locate pesky vermin, which can hide virtually anywhere, in any fold or crack, no matter how minute, and does not respond to poison or bombs. Hunting them down and getting rid of them can prove virtually impossible and can take up to an hour per room. Not with Goggin’s Bed Bug Detective, which takes care of business in no more than a quarter of an hour. It’s basically an electronic dog, sniffing out the bugs and locating them with pinpoint accuracy.
5. Kymera Motorized Body Board
Wouldn’t it be cool to speed around on the surface of a lake without a boat? How about surfing – wouldn’t it be so much more fun, if it didn’t require all that effort? Jason Woods did think so, and actually took matters into his own hands to solve the problem. He came up with the very lightweight Kymera Motorized Body Board, which can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. It took Woods eight years to perfect his product, which is now available for $40,000.
6. Katal Landing Pad
Aaron Coret and Stephen Slen lived through the former’s snowboarding accident before they came up with this amazing invention. It has thus far been used during the 2010 Winter Olympics. It’s basically a giant cushion which softens the fall for snowboarders, in a creative effort to make the sport safer and more enjoyable for amateurs and pros alike. The two Canadians worked on their innovative product for no less than six years and its current cost is undisclosed.
7. The Medical Mirror
This invention can prove to be particularly useful as, with no more technology involved for the end-user than a webcam behind a mirror, it can tell you your heart rate just by the variations in the light reflected off your face. An algorithm translates those variations into heartbeats. This invention was developed over one and a half years by Ming-Zher Poh and MIT Media Lab grad student John McDuff.
8. Automobile Entertainment System
Audiovox, an automobile entertainment system developed by Christopher Vitito, won a top innovation award at CES 2011. Basically, it’s a video system with a flat screen, mounted inside a headrest. Forget about long drives during which the kids in the back seat cause ruckus out of boredom. Just pop in their favorite DVD and you won’t get another sound from them for hours.
9. Flooring System
Daniel M. Joseph at Disney Enterprises came up with an invention that does what Disney is best at. It creates an illusion, a natural environment, such as snow, sand or a forest. When one walks across, the specific sound is recreated, which basically means you can have your very own snow-covered field right at home, no matter the season.
10. Modular Camera Assembly with a Compact Printer
In yet another effort to make printing mobile and less cumbersome, Kia Silverbrook and Tobin A. King of Silverbrook Research came up with a compact printer able to print full-color, business card-size documents from a device about the size of a pen. Just point, click, shoot and print. Your contacts will never get your information wrong again, nor will you have to worry about forgetting your business cards at home, when you go to important meetings.