47 0 0 0 13 6. To determine TIME’s annual best physical investments 2017 list, we consider hundreds of inventions from around the world.
In the past, we’ve featured everything from the floating lightbulb to the desktop DNA lab. Here, the 25 inventions that made this year’s cut. Personal robots, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, have come a long way in recent years. But fundamentally, they’re still stationary speakers whose defining expression is a light that turns on when you speak. It’s not just that he—and I use the term he here, because that’s how Jibo refers to himself—looks like something straight out of a Pixar movie, with a big, round head and a face that uses animated icons to convey emotion.
It’s not just that his body swivels and swerves while he speaks, as if he’s talking with his nonexistent hands. And while that technology may seem merely amusing—or creepy, depending on your point of view—it could fundamentally reshape how we interact with machines. Jibo still has a lot to learn. 899, could make him a tough sell. But Matt Revis, the company’s vice president of product management, is confident Jibo will evolve. Now it’s part of the journey. For the millions of people who are legally blind, navigation is a routine challenge.
Though support canes and guide dogs can help, they cannot mimic actual vision. It sounds almost too good to be true: a flavor-packed, low-sugar ice cream with no more than 360 calories— per pint. On the latter point, there has been some debate. It can go from very subtle to a complete transformation.
But for many, that secret weapon is too secret: makeup companies often cater to women with light to medium skin tones, both in products and advertising, and sideline women of color. By one estimate, you have only about 37 seconds to enjoy the brew at an ideal level of warmth. What if elevators could move sideways, instead of just up and down? It’s a question straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Germany-based Thyssenkrupp has a real-life answer: MULTI, a system of elevators that ditches old-school pulleys for the same magnetic levitation tech that enables high-speed trains.