The coolest gadget innovations of 2022

The coolest gadget innovations of 2022

Over the past 15 years or so, smartphones have consumed many familiar gizmos. Smartphones are now a common device that can be carried around with us: cameras, calculators, remotes for TVs, and even cameras. However, this trend has slowed in recent years. Smartphones are constantly improving with more precise updates. As more devices find their niche, the gadget and computer market is becoming more diverse. This includes hardcore computer hardware as well as VR and AR devices and smart-home tech. This year’s winner addresses the ever-present gap in how we use electronic devices. Because gadgets should ultimately allow us to interact with them as many ways as possible,

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Grand Award Winner: Adaptive Accessories by Microsoft: Making computers accessible to all

Microsoft’s Adaptive Mouse may not look very sophisticated. It’s a simple, rectangular device with two buttons and a scroll wheel. There are also several slots around its edges. However, you are not supposed to use it as it comes. This mouse is part of Microsoft’s Accessible Accessories. It can be connected to custom, 3D printed attachments to make it more accessible for people with different needs. The Microsoft Adaptive Hub allows users to connect up three Accessible Accessories to any computer. The compatible devices include an Adaptive Dual Buttons, an Adaptive D-pad and an Adaptive Joystick buttons. All of these can be used to accommodate people with limited mobility using the Shapeways 3D printing platform. The hub can be connected via Bluetooth wireless or USB-C, and can also integrate third-party accessibility devices with Microsoft’s accessories. The company plans on expanding the platform to ensure that more people can interact with their computers in new ways than with standard keyboards and mice.

C1 Webcam by Opal: A webcam that goes beyond its hardware

Computational Photography relies on software to improve camera hardware’s technical capabilities. This is what makes your smartphone camera so great at what it does. The Opal C1 heavily relies on computational photography to make webcams more efficient. It uses an imaging chip from a smartphone that was previously used in older Google Pixel phones. This is logical, as the Opal was created by Kenny Sweet, a former Google designer. The camera corrects common issues such as overly bright ambient lighting, heavy backlighting, mixed light (which can make you look sick), and excessive contrasty ambient lighting. You can also personalize the look based on your environment and personal preferences.

Arc GPUs by Intel: A new chip to shake up the graphics processor market

The market for graphics processing units (or GTS) isn’t very crowded. Nvidia and AMD have been dominant for decades. Chipmaker Intel abandoned its GPU ambitions more than 10 years ago–until this year’s release of its Arc hardware. These cards offer surprisingly powerful performance at surprisingly low prices. Their efficiency is the strength of the Arcs. The top-end A770 card isn’t meant to take on the most powerful models from other brands. Instead, at just $329, it provides 1440p gaming for players who might otherwise have to rely on wimpy integrated graphics or an older and outdated card. This should be a rallying call for gamers who want to enjoy solid graphics performance without spending a lot of money on expensive flagship graphics cards.

Ultra Reality Monitor by Brelyon: AR and VR without the headset

Virtual reality headsets that show each eye a different view of the same scene create shallow stereo depth. Brelyon’s Ultra Reality monitor uses a more complex phenomenon called monocular level modulation. This allows the eye to focus further into a scene, just like it would in the real world. Brelyon’s combination of optics and display tech fill a viewer’s field of vision with 3D images that simulate a 120-inch display–with a device the size of a typical gaming monitor. The display feels like it extends beyond the physical limits of the hardware by allowing the eye to focus at different depths within the scene. This tech could eventually create a Star Trek like Holodeck, which creates large-scale VR without the use of a headset.

Ryzen 7000 Series CPUs by AMD: A big leap in processing performance

CPUs, or central processing units, get faster every day. AMD’s latest Ryzen 7000 Series chips, however, represent more than an iterative jump of pure processing power. AMD’s Zen 4 architecture is the basis of these powerful chips. It is built using a 5nm process. This doesn’t reflect the actual size of the transistors but their density on the chip. AMD’s new architecture has produced the fastest CPUs for creative and gaming purposes. AMD’s plans for these chips extend beyond personal computers to include commercial data center hardware. They’ll be able to render Adobe Premiere edits in a matter of minutes.

OLED Flex LX3 TV by LG: A screen that goes from flat to curved and back again

Curved displays are a great way to immerse yourself in a viewing or gaming experience. However, if you are watching content with others, the curve can be a problem as the picture loses color accuracy and contrast for those who are not in the center. LG’s new 42-inch OLED, however, can rest completely flat for group viewing, then mechanically adjust its curvature with built-in motors. It curves all the way to 900R, which is just shy of the human eye’s natural shape. This TV is an OLED and offers excellent contrast and color reproduction, regardless of orientation. It also has a full range of advanced features such as HDMI 2.1 and an antireflective coating that will keep the picture clear.

Until a company convinces us to collectively install Matrix-style data jacks in the backs of our skulls, headsets will be our way into the metaverse. Meta’s new flagship headset offers capabilities well beyond its Quest 2 VR headset that earned a Best of What’s New award in 2020. The Quest Pro has front-facing cameras that add mixed-reality to the overall experience. It can combine digital elements with real-time outside information to create high-resolution displays. You can replace your desk with a virtual workspace. Get real-time instructions on how to fix a piece or machinery. You can play amazing games in a hyper-realistic environment. Meta is a step closer to realizing this AR/VR synergy. We’ve seen similar devices before.

Z9 Mirrorless Camera by Nikon: A professional camera with almost no moving parts

Take the lens from a high-end mirrorless camera, and you’ll still see a mechanical shutter that moves up or down when you take a photo. Nikon’s Z9 is different. This pro-grade mirrorless camera relies entirely on a super-fast, stacked imaging sensor that’s capable of shooting up to 30 fps at its full 45.7-megapixel resolution or up to 120 fps if you only need 11 megapixels. Nikon made this switch to increase the camera’s speed and remove its largest moving part. This is often the first thing that breaks after heavy use. The Z9 can capture high-resolution raw files for the studio as well as super-fast bursts for sports and 8K video for cinema shooters. It can also shoot the most amazing selfies you have ever seen.

Single-point routers have fallen out of fashion thanks to the popularity of mesh Wi-Fi systems, but TP-Link’s AXE200 Omni could change all that. Each of the four antennas can automatically move to optimize the signal depending on the location you are using the internet most. Positioning router antennas has been annoying for nearly 20 years, so it’s refreshing to see a major networking company take the hassle out of it. There are many options available to scatter signals evenly across an area or divert antennas to focus coverage in a specific direction. Under the hood, the AXE200 is a monster of a router. By adopting Wi-Fi 6e, the router can reach speeds of up to 11 Gbps, and its eight-core processor manages antenna movement and enables HomeShield, a built-in security system.

Matter Smart Home Platform by the Connectivity Standards Alliance: Sync your whole smart home

Smart gadgets can be stubborn and territorial. They can be stubborn and territorial, which can cause problems in the construction of an automated electronic home. The Connectivity Standards Alliance is working to change this with Matter. It is a set of standards that ensures smart devices, even those designed to work with certain smart assistants, can talk to one another during setup and in daily use. Smart plugs, thermostats and lights are all included in the first iteration. The standards will evolve as devices become more advanced, so you won’t have to deal with a slow setup or unresponsive device ever again.

12S Ultra Smartphone by Xiaomi: A smartphone camera with evolved hardware

Smartphone camera rely heavily upon processing and AI to make videos and images that perform beyond the limitations of the built-in hardware. Xiaomi has taken a different approach with its 12S Ultra Android phone, however. It boasts a remarkable array of 1-inch and half-inch sensors, with lenses from the legendary German manufacturer Leica. It still offers the AI and computational capabilities that you would expect from a flagship phone camera. However, it supports the processing with hardware far beyond what you will find in a typical smartphone. The 50-megapixel main camera takes full advantage of a 1-inch Sony sensor–similar to what you’d find in a dedicated camera. Both the ultra-wide and telephoto cameras have 1/2-inch chips, which is larger than most smartphones. This extra real estate allows for better light gathering, overall image capture, and before the computing hardware crunches one pixel.

Phone (1) by Nothing: Light-based notifications help kick the screen habit

From the front, Nothing’s debut smartphone looks very much like a typical flagship Android phone. You’ll be able to see Nothing’s light-based notification system. It allows users to know what’s going on in their phone without ever having to look at it. You can change the colors of the lights (Nothing calls them “glyphs”) in an astonishing number of ways. Individual contacts can create their own light patterns that flash when they call. The device’s bottom has a strip of LEDs that can be used to indicate battery status or provide feedback to the Google Assistant. The Qi wireless charging pad is surrounded by a circular ring of lights that surround it. These lights can charge up a pair earbuds. The lights can be customized to provide additional functionality. Future updates will add more functions. We are all happy with anything that makes us look at our phones less.

Car Crash Detection by Apple: Smart sensors that can save a life in an accident

The company hopes that you won’t ever need to use one of the most advanced features on the iPhone and Apple Watch models this year. Car Crash detection uses an iPhone 14 Pro’s or Apple Watch 8’s upgraded gyroscope, which can measure up to 256 G of force, and checks for changes 3,000 times per second. This data can be combined with information from an accelerometer or the built-in barometer to detect changes in car’s cabin pressure due to a deployed airbag. If the watch detects a crash, it will send emergency services to your location if there is no response within a few seconds. If you are conscious and need assistance, your device will give you the option of calling emergency services manually. This feature is automatically enabled and any information that your phone collects is never shared by Apple or any third parties.

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