Best new products inventions of 2012

2012 was a good year for consumers. Many innovative new products inventions came out on the market and several more inventions were announced and are likely to hit our shelves in the next few years. While many of the new products are technology related, there are many innovative additions that are just plain good ideas for better products or improvement of existing ones.

Here is a sample of some of the best new products that were invented or so the light of day in 2012.

New products inventions #1: LYTRO’s light-field camera

LYTRO a new startup, which just launched this year, is promising to make all of us much better photographers with their new invention: the light field camera.

I am sure this has happened to you before: you take a shot quickly, hoping to get that one memorable moment eternalized, but once you hit the click – you realize the picture is out of focus, and should go to the trash. Not anymore. With Lytro’s new camera, dubbed by some as “camera 3.0”, the new generation of digital photography, each image records the entire light field, every ray of light traveling in every direction through a scene.

As a result the image that is recorded is not a flat 2d image, enabling the photographer, or anyone else who has the file, to focus and refocus at different aspects of the image, creating new different stories with a click of the mouse.

The camera also works with ‘live filters’ which allow you to manipulate the images you take, creatively.

The Lytro light field camera is the brain child of inventor Ren NG, who developed it during his PH.D. research at Stanford university. It took him 6 years to reach commercialization of the product as the CEO of Lytro.

If you can't wait to get your hands on one, fear not - it is already available to buy

New products inventions #2 - Google virtual reality glasses

It’s been the focus of a lot of speculation. Google project ‘glass’ is now out in the open – an android powered glasses like device, which superimposes computer sensory and data in front of the wearer eyes. You can think about is as a wearable computer that uses augmented reality to add layers to the way you view the world.

Imagine looking at the subway entrance and seeing warnings about delays. Google maps and arrows directing you where to go, on the street you are looking at. You could see vouchers and coupons when considering restaurants. The potential is endless, from looking out the window and seeing the temperature all the way to looking at a familiar face in the street and receiving his LinkedIn data or Facebook profile to remind you where you know him from.

The current prototype includes a small screen on the right top of the right lens, and a microphone, speakers and a camera.

The glasses are currently still in prototype stage, but rumors say they will be distributed to developers later in 2013.

And recently, Google founder Sergei Brin himself has been spotted wearing a pair on the NYC underground.  

New products inventions #3 – Self inflating tires

So simple and so needed. This new invention by tire manufacturer GoodYear might release you from the  need to check your tire pressure constantly and make filling them up redundant.

Their Air Maintenance Technology system, can detect when a pressure within a tire is low through an internal pressure regulator. Once the regulator identifies that the pressure has fallen below a certain point it opens to allow air to go into a pumping tube. The tube goes along the entire circumference of the tire, so that as the tire turns the tube is squeezed, effectively inflating the tires to the right pressure level.

Not just preventing the hassle of finding an external inflation source, the technology can also encourage fuel savings and CO2 reductions as well as improve the performance of a vehicle.

The tires are likely to be launched later this year for use on commercial vehicles.

New products inventions #4 – PuzzleCast – The modular cast

If you ever had the misfortune to break an arm or a leg, and not just figuratively speaking, you will appreciate the innovation of this product. The puzzlecast is a six piece modular cast that allows patients to remove different pieces, one at a time, to allow for movement of certain parts of the limb sooner, while allowing other parts to remain immobilized.

Casts are used to immobilize a broken limb, to allow broken bones to heal. However, the side effect is that the forced immobilization can often harm otherwise healthy muscles and joints.

This invention concept was developed by four students as part of an assignment in their biomedical-engineering course. They have designed a 6 part cast that can be assembled to fit the broken limb but at the same time allowing specific parts to be removed to allow movement earlier. The cast is expected to be commercialized in the next few years.

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