It is fast approaching the time of the year when we get all the lists and top of everything for 2013. Popular Science seems to be first out of the blocks with their best of everything for 2013. Divided into 12 categories (Aerospace, Auto, Engineering, Entertainment, Gadgets, Green, Hardware, Health, Home, Recreation, Security and Software). We mention their Best Gadgets of 2013, head over to the Popular Science site for the rest of the categories.
Would this be GeekShizzle’s Best Gadgets of 2013? We don’t necessarily agree with all the gadgets here, perhaps we should make our own list.
1. Canon EOS 70D
Autofocus on most consumer D-SLRs isn’t quick enough to keep up with moving subjects. Canon engineers combined the autofocus and image sensors on the EOS 70D to shorten focus time. Each of the 20-million-plus pixels has two photodiodes—typically there’s only one—each of which records light. The design allows the sensor to quickly determine how the lens needs to adjust to match up the diodes’ signals, which snaps the subject into focus.
2. Brunton Hydrogen Reactor
A single Hydrogen Reactor cartridge carries a week’s worth of smartphone power—more juice than any other portable source. When a user inserts one of the 3-inch cartridges into the Reactor, a catalyst frees electrons from hydrogen. The freed electrons move into a circuit that delivers power to gadgets over USB. The remaining hydrogen reacts with oxygen to produce the process’s only byproduct: water vapor.
3. Occipital Structure Sensor
The Structure is the easiest way to digitize the world. The iPad-mountable 3-D scanner uses diffracted laser light to create a depth map, which it can merge with an image from the tablet’s camera to create 3-D renderings of objects. Three apps currently work with the Structure—one scans objects, one maps rooms, and one is an augmented-reality game—but Occipital also released an SDK to developers, so they can make even more applications.
4. Qualcomm Toq
Amid a flurry of text and e-mail alerts, designers tend to forget something critical about smartwatches: They still need to show the time. LCDs wash out in the sunlight, and e-ink is blank in the dark. The Toq’s Mirasol display is the only full-color one that’s always visible. Each pixel is a tiny glass pane; as charge moves through the screen, the pane moves to reflect different ambient light wavelengths—red, blue, or green—to the viewer. An LED provides the necessary light when it’s dark.
5. Brinno TLC200 Pro
Creating a time-lapse video usually involves a DSLR and pricey image-processing software. The TLC200 camera is so simple that anyone can plop it down and end up with a high-quality time-lapse. The image sensor has larger-than-normal 4.2-micron pixels, so images are bright—even at night. The camera takes up to five images per second for a day, and onboard software stitches them into a 720p video.
6. Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-QX100 Sony
No matter how much smartphone engineers manage to shrink image sensors, they haven’t found a good way to downsize a quality lens, so images suffer. The QX100 is an entirely new approach to the cameraphone. The f/1.8 Carl Zeiss lens contains all the components of a high-end point-and-shoot—a full-frame 20-megapixel image sensor, a shutter, and an image processor—and attaches onto a smartphone, which serves as its viewfinder and memory.
7. Motorola Moto X
You can ask your smartphones to do a lot of things—remind you to pick up the dry cleaning, check for traffic on your commute home. But with the Moto X, you don’t have to ask. The handset uses your preferences and Google Now to learn your patterns and cater to them. It may mute notifications when you don’t need to see them or respond to text messages while you’re driving. The more you use it, the better it gets.
8. Google Glass
When the Google Glass concept debuted in June 2012, it became one of the most anticipated gadget launches ever—rivaling the first iPhone. For all intents and purposes, Project Glass, as it was then called, promised Terminator vision, a hovering overlay of information as crisp as a 25-inch HDTV. Impossible as it sounds, the product, which came out as a developer version in April, goes beyond that pledge: It’s like wearing a piece of the future.
Glass is, in essence, a consumer head-up display. Incoming calls, messages, and calendar alerts pop up just above eye level. It also has a videocamera, turn-by-turn navigation, voice search, Google Now, and partner apps, including Twitter, Facebook, and The New York Times. With such a basic set of features, it would be easy to write Glass off as a novel accessory, but the fact is that we’ve only just begun to tap into its potential. About 2,000 developers are working to broaden its uses before the final consumer version arrives next year. Glass—like the PC and the smartphone before it—represents a new way to display and transmit information. How we’ll use it from here is anyone’s guess.