New York, NY — We could brag and say our 30th annual list of the most transformative products and discoveries required trucks full of experts, hours of toil, and countless friendship-ending debates. That’s true, but you just want the good stuff (page 7). Winners include:
- June Intelligent Oven Pop a tray of any food into June, an intelligent convection oven, and an interior camera recognizes the grub. Based on what it sees, the oven heats to a preset temperature and sets an automatic timer; for tricky proteins like chicken breast and salmon, a digital thermometer double-checks doneness, and it’s learning new skills all the time. $1,495
- Novartis Kymriah The FDA just approved the first human gene-edited therapy for cancer, a treatment that modifies a patient’s T cells. In trials, 83% of patients were in remission after 3 months. Kymriah is incredibly customized: The modified cells are specific to both the patient and their disease. It’s now treating a type of leukemia in young people, Kymriah and drugs like it could one day treat many other cancers, changing medicine’s approach to the disease for good.
- Elan Ibex Tactix Skis are cumbersome – they sometimes don’t fit in the trunk of a car. Elan created a pair that fold in half without compromising performance. The key to the system is the 2-foot-long aluminum- alloy base plate that swivels out of the way to let the skis fold, and locks them solid and flat when they’re extended. Folded, they take up only about 3 feet on adventurers’ backs.
- LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox Thanks to STEM toys like this friendly robot, Vernie, fifth-graders are officially eclipsing your coding skills. The LEGO Boost system lets kids aged 7-12 code simple programs in an app that controls creations like Vernie, a guitar, a cat named Frankie, and even a forklift-style construction vehicle. The robotic pieces—like the small motor and the infrared sensor—are compatible with standard Lego bricks, allowing kids to toss the instructions and build the rolling robotic dragons and lunar rovers of their dreams. $160
- La Roche Posay My UV Patch Most people don’t apply ample sunscreen, and even if they do, they forget to reapply. My UV Patch is a wearable decal that warns when rays are getting through. Photosensitive dyes change from a dark blue to a lighter one with more sunlight; it adheres to the skin for up to five days. Free with related La Roche Posay products ($19-$43)
Still the Best (and Some Not So Much) Some great ideas never get old. Over the past 30 “Best of What’s New” issues, Popular Science recognizes that we owe a lot of some of the alumnae that have graced past issues, from the SpaceX Dragon to Bluetooth to Dolly (the first cloned mammal!), we revisit some of our greatest hits. Also, of course no one is right all the time (ever taste calorie-free snacks made with Olean? We hope not.), so we’ve included some the winners that haven’t withstood the test of time (page 71).
Tales from the Field A Boeing flight test engineer tests out how astronauts will go to the bathroom in a newly-designed space suit; a home theater designer who can put an IMAX in your living room; a JetBlue airport ops crew member who’s at the forefront of face recognition technology that could someday replace airplane boarding passes, and more (page 76).