If there ever has been a year that called for innovation, it was 2020.
That perspective helped shape the annual Time magazine list for its top 100 innovations of the year. The list is another wide-ranging group of creative, ambitious innovations that change the way we work and play, but face masks and more pandemic-related concepts cracked the list for impact.
Here are some examples of innovations for 2020:
Krisp is a noise-cancelling app to quiet the background sound for your video conference.
Frontline workers were helped by Virti, an augmented reality and virtual reality platform for training, and IntubationPod, a personal bubble.
Meeting Owl Pro created a 360-degree tabletop camera that is ideal for virtual students to follow a teacher in a hybrid classroom model.
Animal Crossings: New Horizons is the Nintendo Switch game that gave 26 million players a pandemic escape to a world where they designed a home and managed a community on an island.
When you could not go to the gym, the Supernatural virtual reality fitness app for Oculus Quest provided workouts on Mars, by a volcano or in the Galapagos Islands.
Researchers were able to develop COVID-19 vaccines faster than vaccines in the past because of messenger RNA (mRNA), which allows scientists to simulate genetic sequencing instead of growing the virus.
One non-pandemic invention was LUCI, the smart wheelchair technology that adds new stability to powered wheelchairs. Nashville songwriter Barry Dean and his brother Jered, an engineer, began pursuing the invention three years ago after Barry’s daughter, who has cerebral palsy, was injured when her wheelchair tipped. It uses cameras and sensors to monitor the chair’s position in its surrounding environment, collecting data to adjust to a safer path and even slow down the chair when navigating slopes.
Whether it be COVID-19 or a family injury, crisis is the best motivator for invention.