Naked Science presents the top 10 best gadgets of the year. The presented list includes: YotaPhone 2, iPhone 6, Pepper robot and much more.
It is not so easy to compose 10 of the most outstanding technical innovations of the outgoing year. Whatever one may say, but in any case there will be a couple of standing gadgets overboard. This is due to the incredible abundance of devices released this year. Along with the products of the largest companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, various “smart” devices from little-known developers were also presented.
The boom in wearable electronics has been largely due to crowdfunding platforms that help bring promising and outlandish projects to life. Among this abundance of gadgets, we tried to highlight the most interesting ten.
Amazon's smart Echo speaker
Among the dozens of "smart" devices that appeared in 2014, we decided to mention the Echo smart speaker. This device, developed by Amazon, is a worthy answer to "Chamberlain" - the voice assistants Siri and Cortana.
Echo is a music speaker with a voice assistant working on the principle of a question-answer system. A smart speaker that looks like a black cylinder can become an indispensable assistant in every home (at least that's what its creators say). Voice assistant Echo is activated by the keyword "Alexa". After that, the device can be asked any questions you are interested in, as well as make shopping lists with it or ask it, for example, to play a recalled musical composition.
Despite the "stoned" (this is the kind of fame he gained on the Internet) advertising video, the Echo column is definitely one of the interesting new products of the outgoing year.
"Emotional" robot Pepper
Not just a gadget, but a whole robot, and what kind. In the summer of 2014, the Japanese firm Softbank introduced a robot equipped with artificial intelligence that is able to perceive and respond to human emotions.
The robot, named Pepper, received such a "cute" appearance that even "robotophobes" should like it. Pepper's developers note that the principles of its operation are based on an "emotional engine" and artificial intelligence using cloud technologies that allow Pepper to analyze gestures, facial expressions and emotional color of the voice.
Pepper will not go on sale until February next year. However, everyone can meet and chat with him now. Nestlé has hired these emotional robots, and they are now selling new coffee machines in several Japanese home appliance stores.
Friendly, chatty androids tell customers about the characteristics of the new product, as well as answer any questions that come up.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
There are more and more haters of Apple products every year. However, despite this, the number of purchased smartphones of this brand is growing incredibly. You may not like iPhones, they can be broken, burned, boiled in suspicious substances and dropped similar videos on YouTube, but the fact remains - this is the most stylish and reliable phone of our time.
The new generation of Apple smartphones was presented to the public in early September. Whole odes have already been written about the technical characteristics of 4, 7-inch and 5.5-inch smartphones. Some people liked the new dimensions of the sixth iPhones, but there were also those who compared the devices with a shovel, and not the most durable one.
In addition to changes in appearance, the new items also got a new processor, which increased their performance by 20% compared to the previous model. Only the resolution of the camera remains unchanged - 8 MP. However, as Tim Cook noted, a new camera module, which will provide better image quality, can remedy this situation.
Despite all the ambiguity of the latest "brainchilds" of Apple, a huge queue lined up for the devices shortly after the presentation. The more compact iPhone 6 is still in great demand.
Smartphone Nexus 6
Google's Android series of mobile devices was expanded in October with the Nexus 6. This time the smartphone was produced by Motorola, while LG Electronics was responsible for the two previous models.
The Nexus 6 is equipped with a 5.9-inch display with a Quad HD resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor with a clock speed of 2.7 GHz and 13MP and 2MP cameras.
The design of the device turned out to be quite simple, but nice. The main features of the Nexus 6 include the fact that it is the first smartphone to use the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. The device also received the Turbo Charger function, which allows you to charge your smartphone in 15 minutes. It is noted that this charge will last for 6 hours of operation.
At the September presentation, Apple presented not only the new generation iPhone, but also the first version of the "smart" Apple Watch. Now is the time to exclaim: "Oh, how many iWatch concepts we have seen!". As a result, the developers managed to present something different.
Firstly, instead of the predicted name iWatch, the new watch was nicknamed the Apple Watch. Further - more: the watch was presented in two versions (with screens with a diagonal of 38 and 42 mm). The device received a rectangular touch screen, metal body, and an innovative interface. The smart watch has a special side wheel for scrolling and zooming on the screen. In addition, the gadget is equipped with many modern "bells and whistles".
Apple Watch got wireless charging and Siri voice assistant. The start of sales of the new gadget is scheduled for 2015. It is too early to judge whether the new device will be in demand or will take place next to the innovative Google Glass. But one thing is for sure - without the iPhone, the Apple Watch will not be able to be used.
Along with the Apple Watch and iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus, Apple also presented the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 tablets, the compact Mac mini computer, and the iMac with Retina display in October.
Inspire 1 Convertible Drone
If this is not the era of drones, then what is it? In the future, every average inhabitant of the planet, along with a toaster, a vacuum cleaner and a smartphone, will also have a drone. Such a small aircraft with a fixed camera capable of a number of feats.
In 2014, DJI, famous for its Phantom drones, presented its new creation - the Inspire 1 modular drone. The new product turned out to be surprisingly budgetary and, as you would expect, with advanced functionality.
The modularity of the drone lies in the features of its body. If desired, the owner of the Inspire 1 can remove the swashplate and camera from it. This is probably done so that in the future these elements can be replaced with improved ones. The main feature of the Inspire 1 is its “legs”, on which the screws are fixed. When the drone takes off, these "limbs" rise higher, thereby not blocking the view of the camera, and after landing, they come to their original position.
The use of carbon fiber in the creation of the drone body allowed the developers to reduce its weight to an impressive 2.9 kg. With this weight, it can reach speeds of up to 4 m / s and fly away to a distance of 4.5 km.
In order to become the main innovation of the year, the Miracle Machine lacked quite a bit, namely, believability.
In March of this year, the world's leading media picked up the news about the creation of the Miracle Machine, which turns water into wine in three days. The authors of the device noted that for the production of wine, users only need to load the device with the necessary ingredients from a special bag, pour water, select the desired type of noble drink and start it. And it was proposed to track the fermentation process in real time through special applications for iOS and Android.
All this sounded truly exciting and did not raise any doubts.However, after some time, the authors of Miracle Machine reported that the miracle machine was just a brilliant joke, so well prepared that thousands of people fell for it.
This whole scam was carried out by Kevin Boyer and Philip James, but not in order to mock the media and the public, but for good intentions. The fact is that the creators of the fake device work for the charitable organization “From Wine? water”, which tackles drinking water scarcity in developing countries. Thus, they wanted to draw attention to this problem and to their organization dealing with it.
Nokia's N1 tablet
When it seemed that Nokia was slowly but surely approaching the end of its existence, the company's developers presented the ultra-modern tablet computer N1. It became the first device released by Nokia under its own brand after the sale of the mobile division of Microsoft Corporation. Therefore, the interest in this new product was increased.
After the presentation of the device to the public, it was dubbed "the likeness of the iPad mini 3". But, despite the external similarities, the devices have some differences, for example, these gadgets run under competing operating systems.
The N1 tablet received a display with a diagonal of 7.9 inches with a resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels, a 64-bit Intel processor with a frequency of 2.3 GHz, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory.
The body of the gadget running on Android 5.0 Lollipop is made of anodized aluminum. It is also worth noting that the tablet has a built-in double-sided USB type-C connector, which allows you to insert the cable into it either side.
The start of sales of the Nokia tablet computer is scheduled for the end of February. The price for it will be approximately $ 249.
The world's first 3D-printed laptop
At the end of this year, UK startups launched a fundraising project on a crowdfunding platform for a first-of-its-kind laptop that you can assemble or fix at home.
The Pi-Top laptop quickly gained popular recognition and, thanks to this, is already under active development. The kit for self-creating Pi-Top laptops includes templates for printing the case, a display, a miniature Raspberry Pi computer, which should become the main "stuffing" of the device, as well as some other elements necessary for its operation.
The main highlight of the Pi-Top is that its owner can literally print a computer in their living room. It is also worth emphasizing that the price of this device is approximately two times cheaper than that of standard competitors with the same performance parameters. The only problem is that the future owner of the Pi-Top will need to have a 3D printer the size of a coffee machine in order to print the device case on their own.
At the beginning of this month, the YotaPhone 2 “two-faced” smartphone was officially presented in Moscow. The device turned out to be so interesting and extraordinary that Forbes magazine called it “the breakthrough of the year”. In addition, the new product, like the first generation of Yota Devices phones, was warmly received by the public and has already won several awards.
The main feature of the devices of this brand is the presence of two screens (on the front and back of the case). It is because of this detail that the media called YotaPhone smartphones "two-faced". The new version of the flagship Russian device can boast not only an attractive appearance, but also a modern "filling". The device is equipped with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with a clock speed of 2.3 GHz, cameras with a resolution of 2 and 8 megapixels. The amount of RAM and internal memory is 2 and 32 GB, respectively. The gadget runs on the Android operating system.
You could buy a new product at the start of sales for 32,990 rubles, but recently the device has risen in price to 39,990 rubles. According to the latest data, after 1, 5 years, the release of the third generation of the Russian YotaPhone smartphone should be expected.