US dead-tree perennial Time magazine has revealed its 50 Best Inventions of 2010, a cavalcade of incredible innovations, gorgeous gadgets, and gobsmacking gizmos that prove living in 2010 really is living in the future.
At the top of the list is the tablet that opened a new market and spawned a thousand imitators: the Apple iPad. Also on the list is the Sony Alpha SLT-A55, which we certificated with one of our deeply lusted-after Editors' Choice awards.
Our favourite wotsit is the Power-Aware Cord, a power cable that lights
up brighter the more juice is flowing through it. Not only does it show
you how much electricity you're using -- or wasting -- but it also reacts to
music on a radio, flashing brighter with heavier bass.
Going green in 2010
Eco-friendly green gizmos feature heavily in the list, including the Orange Power Wellie, a humble Wellington boot that used the kinetic energy of Glastonbury festivalgoers to charge mobile phones. British company Xeros gets you in a spin with a washing-machine that uses stain-absorbing nylon beads to clean your smalls, needing just 10 per cent of the water your current machine uses.
An underwater Kite that harnesses the energy of the waves is set to be unveiled off the coast of Northern Ireland next year, while a yacht made of recycled bottles and cashew nuts rules the waves above. We're kept on the roads by car tech including electric car charging stations, and magnets embedded in roads to power cars as they drive along.
Less environmentally friendly are the war machines on the list, starting with a water pistol that disables roadside bombs in Afghanistan, body armour for buildings, and an X-51A WaveRider military drone that can attack anywhere in the world within an hour. Oo-rah.
There's plenty of android action too, with a robot that can lie, and a deeply, deeply disturbing droid that teaches English to South Koreans. Some people stand in the darkness, afraid to step into the light -- but not the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, also known as EMILY. It's a Baywatch-style lifesaving robot buoy that swims at 24mph and is controlled by an iPhone app, and it'll be ready, never you fear -- no don't you fear -- EMILY'll be ready, forever and always, EMILY's always here.
Fighting disease -- with lasers!
Disease is tackled by mosquitos bred to be both immune to malaria and also well 'ard, so they can go into the wild and duff up their malaria-spreading brethren. If that doesn't work, boffins have also developed a laser that can identify malignant mossies and blast them out of the sky.
On the software front, there's Flipboard for iPad, software that can detect sarcasm in Internet writing -- wow, dead good -- and Square, a mobile payment system that works by swiping your bank card through a piece of kit plugged into your phone.
Time also asked a few experts to nominate their world-changing wonders of the year. These experts came up with Avatar, Sarah Palin's Twitter feed, the guy out of The Hangover sparking up a doobie live on US TV, and a thing that makes your booze fizzy. Hey Time magazine, we suggest getting some new experts next year.
Back to the future
Many of the gadgets are just totally from the future. We reported on the Google self-driving car, the Martin jetpack, and the Terrafugia Transition flying car. Our minds are suitably boggled by fabrics grown from bacteria or sprayed on from a can, the eLegs exoskeleton for the disabled and the military XOS 2 power lifter suit. Then there's the NeoNurture Incubator, looking after premature newborn babies in an incubator built from old car parts -- complete with headlights keeping the ickle ones warm and indicators flashing when there's a problem.
But our brains actually exploded at the medical advances on the list, such as lab-grown lungs, EyeWriter glasses for paralysed people to write and draw with movements of their eye, and a 3D printer that prints out replacement organs. We'll say that again: a frickin' 3D printer that prints out replacement organs.
And the weird
And finally, there's the inventions that are utterly hatstand bonkers. Time salutes a train that runs on beef-flavoured BioDiesel, as well as Sugru, a squidgy substance that sticks to your stuff to let you improve the design, and the Antro Solo three-person car. The Antro can combine with another Solo "Transformers-style", to make a six-person Duo. Even that's topped by the Straddling Bus in China, a two-story bus that drives astride a lane of traffic, allowing other cars to pass underneath it between its legs.
Do you agree with Time's list? Our favourite invention was the official CNET UK facebook page -- it's chewy and tangy. More importantly, what do you think is the greatest gadget of the 21st century so far? Vote in our exciting face-off between the best bits of technology since the millenium and you could win yourself all kinds of cool new kit.