Popular Science promises "the future now", and they're a fantastic source for all things tech, from pop culture to conceptual design. Their December issue was an "exhaustive guide" to the greatest creations of the year which indicate "where technology is headed in the future."
PopSci has been choosing the best technological innovations for 23 years now, and its interesting to see how the categories evolve over the years.
For 2010, the choices are grouped into 11 categories: auto tech, aviation & space, computing, engineering, gadgets, green tech, health, home entertainment, home tech, recreation and security.
We've chosen five of our favorites.
Our favorite, Computing: Swiftpoint Mouse
A tiny mouse designed for use on airplanes or cramped spaces, it isn't cheap at $70. But it uses the standard optical sensor, and works on the small, flat surface next to your laptop's trackpad. If you absolutely have to have a mouse on a plane, this is the one to get.
Our favorites, Gadgets: Tie - E Ink Pearl display, Nikon D3S
This year, advances in E Ink displays were developed in partnership which chipset makers for better performance at lower cost. The improved chemistry allows 50 percent greater contrast.
The Nikon D3S is a beautiful camera, with a 12.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and a massive light-sensitivity ISO setting. Currently $5,200, a commenter on PopSci recommends waiting to buy the new model next year, which will boast double the light-sensitivity, or at which point the price of the D3S comes down. But until then, we can marvel at photos taken by the camera.
Included in their gadgets category this year, but perhaps warranting its own in 2011 were the best apps of the year. Check 'em out.
Our favorite, Green Tech: Groasis Waterboxx
We've written about garden gadgets before, since we're getting into gardening in a big way. The PopSci choice for green tech, the Groasis Waterboxx, is an irrigation-free plant incubator, basically "an exceptionally well designed bucket", which sells at $275 for 10. With the Groasis, you water a plant once, and the bucket keeps the plant alive long enough to reach the water reservoir deep below the surface of a dryland. It worked 88% of the time in the Sahara.
Our favorite, Home Tech: Kenmore Connect
This line of Kenmore washers and dryers does over-the-phone diagnostic reporting through a series of beeps. A simple and ingenious way to maintain the life of your appliances.
So, those are our favorites. What are yours? Check out the list and let us know in the comments below.