This Year's 25 Coolest Inventions

From a hoverboard to a sign-language translator
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2014 5:37 PM CST
This Year's 25 Coolest Inventions
In this Oct. 30, 2014 photo, Arx Pax engineer Shauna Moran demonstrates riding a Hendo Hoverboard in Los Gatos, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

With 2015—and another year's worth of exciting inventions—fast approaching, Time is taking a moment to look back at this year's coolest new gadgets and gear. They range from a Back to the Future prop made real to a tablet system translating sign language to spoken words.

  1. Hendo Hoverboard: Yes, it really looks like Marty McFly's transportation device, though it won't fly higher than about an inch and its battery lasts just 15 minutes. Still, the board heralds technology that could improve earthquake safety.
  2. 94fifty smart sensor: It's your own personal basketball coach, and it lives in the ball. The device tracks how well you're moving the ball, and it even shouts tips.
  3. Blackphone: The Android-based phone offers far more powerful encryption than what's standard for calls and texts, and it avoids features that involve the sharing of information.

  1. Coolest Cooler: This thing does a lot more than keep your drinks and food cool. It also sports a blender, a USB charger, and a Bluetooth speaker, among other features. It's essentially a party in a box.
  2. Ringly: Call it smart jewelry. This ring does more than just look pretty: It alerts purse-carrying wearers to communications on their phones, so that they don't have to hunt inside their bags all the time.
  3. Super bananas: Kids in sub-Saharan Africa often don't get enough vitamin A, putting them at risk of blindness. So a researcher decided to use his bioengineering skills to turn one of their most-eaten foods, bananas, into a vehicle delivering the vitamin.
  4. MotionSavvy UNI: A tablet-based system allows deaf people to turn sign language into spoken language and back again.
Click for the full list. (More hoverboard stories.)

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