47 0 0 0 13 6. To determine TIME’s annual unranked list, best 3 year investment consider hundreds of inventions from around the world. In the past, we’ve featured everything from the floating lightbulb to the desktop DNA lab.
Here, the 25 inventions that made this year’s cut. Personal robots, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, have come a long way in recent years. But fundamentally, they’re still stationary speakers whose defining expression is a light that turns on when you speak. It’s not just that he—and I use the term he here, because that’s how Jibo refers to himself—looks like something straight out of a Pixar movie, with a big, round head and a face that uses animated icons to convey emotion.
It’s not just that his body swivels and swerves while he speaks, as if he’s talking with his nonexistent hands. And while that technology may seem merely amusing—or creepy, depending on your point of view—it could fundamentally reshape how we interact with machines. Jibo still has a lot to learn. 899, could make him a tough sell. But Matt Revis, the company’s vice president of product management, is confident Jibo will evolve. Now it’s part of the journey.
For the millions of people who are legally blind, navigation is a routine challenge. Though support canes and guide dogs can help, they cannot mimic actual vision. It sounds almost too good to be true: a flavor-packed, low-sugar ice cream with no more than 360 calories— per pint. On the latter point, there has been some debate. It can go from very subtle to a complete transformation.
But for many, that secret weapon is too secret: makeup companies often cater to women with light to medium skin tones, both in products and advertising, and sideline women of color. By one estimate, you have only about 37 seconds to enjoy the brew at an ideal level of warmth. What if elevators could move sideways, instead of just up and down? It’s a question straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Germany-based Thyssenkrupp has a real-life answer: MULTI, a system of elevators that ditches old-school pulleys for the same magnetic levitation tech that enables high-speed trains. But in order to make it all possible, Apple had to kill the home button, a popular all-purpose navigation tool.
Much like the company’s move to nix the 3. Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. I actually think the path of holding onto features that have been effective, whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure. It’s easy to imagine a future iteration with a screen that wraps around the entire device, or a camera that can detect gestures. But for now, Ive and Riccio won’t divulge specific plans. It’s tough to play sports in a hijab.
If the material is too heavy, it causes excess sweating. If it’s too light, it might fall off during competition. But what if both parties worked together to pre-empt medical issues as well? That’s the idea behind Forward, a new type of wellness clinic that works much like a high-end gym. Imagine a shoe that lets you run faster, pivot better and jump higher.
That’s the idea behind the Futurecraft 4D, a new sneaker from Adidas whose midsole can be expertly tailored to the needs of its wearers—not only in size and shape, but also in flexibility, impact type, cushioning and more. Electric cars typically have one of two problems: they’re either too expensive, or they have a too-limited range. Breastfeeding is easier said than done, especially for moms on the go. Most electric breast pumps use air-horn-shaped collection bottles, which are tethered to loud, whirring machines.
Willow is working to change that. Its battery-powered alternative is quiet and small enough so that women can slip it into their bra and pump wherever they want. Most home security systems are created to keep intruders out. Matt Rogers, choosing to focus just as much on making it simpler for its users to get in.
The train to Mars pulls out only once every two years. That’s how often Earth and its neighbor move into alignment for the quickest possible journey from one planet to the other. For all its futuristic hype, virtual reality is a fairly clunky technology: even the best headsets require extra gadgets, such as smartphones or laptops, to work. 199 wearable computer that operates entirely on its own. Airborne drones have exploded in popularity over the past few years, improving everything from mapmaking to search-and-rescue operations.
Most air filters improve air quality by trapping harmful pollutants in a filter. Molekule takes that idea one step further—by destroying them altogether. The key is its specially coated nanofilter, which is designed to react with light in a way that prevents toxins, including mold and bacteria particles, from growing back. In the future, our cars will be smart, and our tires will be smarter.