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Best of What's New 2005 132

Posted by Zonk
from the toys-and-loot dept.
mmoyer writes "Begin the onslaught of year-end roundups. Popular Science takes the early lead with their Best of What's New awards, a roundup of what they consider the top 100 products and technologies of the year. In addition to the obvious awardees like the PSP and perpendicular magnetic recording, there's interesting asides like the world's first programmable wave pool and colored toy bubbles made from disappearing dye."
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Best of What's New 2005

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  • by richdun (672214) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:40PM (#14037773)
    So how fun is that fiber-reinforced polymer bridge in Wisconsin?
    • Well Tacoma had a bridge that gave people quite a ride a few years back. Maybe they're just waiting for a windy day?
    • I rate it an 8/10.
    • So how fun is that fiber-reinforced polymer bridge in Wisconsin?

      You know. Bridge-like.

      What I don't get is the SAAB Biodiesel and the Mercedes Benz. About the Biodiesel:

      --it generates 148 horsepower on pure gasoline, but when it sniffs ethanol, it cranks up the turbocharger's boost pressure (ethanol can handle higher pressure better than gas) to lift output to 184 horsepower.

      Who writes this stuff? Ethanol burns faster, thus produces greater compression during the expansion phase. Since ICEs obtain their pow
      • by DG (989) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @04:19PM (#14038145) Homepage Journal
        Disclaimer: I build and race turbocharged race cars http://farnorthracing.com/ [farnorthracing.com]

        To oversimplify a complex subject, when you burn fuels in a spark-ignited engine, it is possible to get a kind of explosive combustion called "detonation" instead of a nice smooth rapid burn.

        Detonation is also sometimes called "knock" and it is an engine killer. Detonation is Not Your Friend.

        The things that tend to increase the liklihood of experiencing detonation are a lean fuel/air mixture, excessive ignition advance, localized hotspots in the combustion chamber, excessive static compression ratio, excessive intake temperature, or excessive intake boost pressure.

        The measure of a fuel's ability to resist detonation is its "octane" rating. The derivation of the term is an article in of itself... bottom line is the higher the octane, the lower the probability of detonation.

        My race car drinks 118 octane, because it uses a ton of turbo boost and a lot of ignition advance to make power. Most regular pump gasses are 87-89 octane, and premium runs about 91-94 octane.

        Ethenol is an octane booster (Sunoco's 94 octane fuel has a lot of it) so all else being equal, it is safer to run higher boost levels when there is ethenol present in the fuel.

        DG
    • The fact that it was filed under 'games' meant that my workplace banned it... weak!
  • What no.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by WalterODimm (894027)
    Magnetogravitaional Space Crafts?
  • by mister_llah (891540) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:42PM (#14037801) Homepage Journal
    Comparing a PSP or a Jeep to Neuro-controlled bionic arms and perpendicular magnetic recording?!

    haha!

    Excuse me for being a cynic, but the PSP/Jeep portion of the 'grand awards' just feels like advertising...
    • I dunno...being able to send power from 2 engines individually to 4 independent wheels which can steer at 45-degree angles -- forward or reverse, depending on which way you want to go -- sounds like quite a bit of achievement to me.
    • The accomplishment of being able to turn wheels independantly with great power transfer makes it worth mentioning.

      What should take it out of the list in my mind is not that it's like advertising - it's that you can't buy one! No fair comparing prototype cars with realy working stuff that you can actually buy.

      It's almost like anti-advertising as I'm annoyed with Jeep now for not actually producing one. And yes I'd actually use it for real off-road travel, not just trips to the mall.
    • What did you expect? It's sponsored by Microsoft.
  • How do they figure that colored bubbles qualify for a grand award? There might be some real applications for this technology, but somehow giving a grand award to soap bubbles seems pretty silly, to put it nicely.

    --
    The universe is a figment of its own imagination.

    • I think the award was more for the dye then the bubbles.
    • The real technology being given the award isn't the bubbles. It's the dyes themselves, which are as close to a programmable pigment as we're going to get. From the sounds of it, the pigments are even non-toxic, making it a rather amazing invention for someone who just wanted to make colored bubbles.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Yeah, but wonderful technologies like this can be used for good, evil, and gross. From the article:
        the temporary washable color may soon show up in other products, including a bathroom wipe that leaves a momentary trail of color to show you where you've cleaned,

        Great. Ass dye. We have attained the singularity. [wikipedia.org]

        • Yeah, but wonderful technologies like this can be used for good, evil, and gross.

          Ever hear of a company called "DuPont"? FYI, they're on the cutting edge of technology. Believe it or not, a lot of that technology goes right into making your home a better place to live, regardless of how "gross" it may be. If I were you, I'd be thankful for all these "gross" technologies. Without them we'd still be living in high maintenece homes that required a full repainting every year, had removable (for cleaning) carpe
    • by Z0mb1eman (629653) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:54PM (#14037909) Homepage
      If you'd RTFA, you might find your answer.

      The colored bubbles are cool because no one's successfully done it before, getting the dye to spread uniformly over the entire bubble (as opposed to just flowing to the bottom) isn't trivial, and it took the guy about 10 years to actually get it done.

      But my guess is the grand award part comes in because of the specific dye they developed in the process. Specifically, this dye disappears after at most half an hour - faster if it's subjected to friction (eg. you can just rub it off your skin, out of your clothes, or whatever it lands on). The article claims (I'm not a chemist, so I don't know how true it is) that this is an entirely new type of dye.

      One of the applications they listed was toothpaste that colors the inside of a kid's mouth a bright color until they've brushed the necessary 30 seconds.

      All in all, to me it sounds like it deserves it - it's a new concept that opens up entirely new fields of innovation, rather than an iterative improvement over previous technology.
    • This is Popular Science. The translation of that title is "Stuff we think is cool because the press release told us it is.... and pretty pictures too."

      I'm being a little cruel, I know. They're not really so horrible. They helped get me interested in technology when I was a teenager. But after I got out of highschool I graduated to mags that were much more in depth and took the time to actually reasearch and even use the products in question. I'd take anything on this list with a grain of salt.

      TW
  • by Otter (3800)
    Yeah, I remember reading the CNN article on Versareef [cnn.com], illustrated with what looks to be Jaws at 35-40 feet. I was thinking "Gee, that's quite a wave pool they have there!" before reading the caption.

    Somehow, I'm thinking the Versareef won't be quite that big!

  • by Prince Myshkin (931140) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:46PM (#14037838) Homepage
    "...a toothpaste that turns kids' mouths bright pink until they've brushed for 30 seconds."

    If there's one things kids HATE, it's bright pink mouths...
    One of the more bizarre products I've heard of. Should do well in Japan.
    • Perhaps it is more of an indicator for parents. Watch them start brushing, then check them again later for pink mouth to make sure they did a good job.
    • Re:Dyed Toothpaste (Score:3, Informative)

      by pbhj (607776)
      Dentists used to have things called "disclosing tablets" that I got given as a child (about 1985-ish) they turned your mouth bright pink and where way coool ... it looked like you were a vampire that had just finished feasting!

      You'd brush away the dye to show that you've cleaned properly.

      FWIW
    • On an not entirely unrelated side note... is it just me, or is 30 seconds not really a long time when it comes to brushing your teeth? I got taught to brush mine for five minutes after each meal when I was a kid.
      • 5 minutes is extremely excessive. You're probably brushing away enamel well before you hit the 3 minute mark, but I can't remember where I read the study on that, so I won't claim to know the specifics.
  • by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:48PM (#14037851) Homepage Journal
    Then Sony's new Rootkit with DRM goodness should get a prize in 2005. It helped dozens or thousands of WoW cheaters to evade The Warden. Now that's cutting edge gaming technology!
  • Hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ted_Bell111 (931287)
    "Best of Whats New.... Sponsored by Microsoft" And I thought it was the XBox's slim and compact design that won it the Grand Award!
    • Choice quote:

      "The Xbox 360 easily maintains the cred the original Xbox earned in 2001 when it crushed rival PlayStation with superior graphics and performance."

      Priceless...
  • Just a note (Score:5, Informative)

    by FST (766202) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:49PM (#14037860) Journal
    For those of you that don't know what perpendicular magnetic recording is, it is basically a new technology recently introduced by Toshiba into their line of MP3 players which is a way of stacking the bits perpendicular to the hard disk rather than laterally. Conventional HDD can hold up to 400 GB while this new technology allows for 10 times the storage per square inch. Many of the hard disk drives plan to introduce a new hard disk in pc's by 2007.

    In my opinion, with this new jump in technology, the future is secure with HDD of similar size, yet 10x the capacity.
  • by tcd004 (134130) * on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:50PM (#14037861) Homepage
    Why don't people ever do these kinds of lists?

    I can think of a few. Cellphone spam, Sony DRM, the EU trying to take over the internet, T.O. What else?

    And of course Small Town Misfit [smalltownmisfit.com] (plug for my website)
    tcd004

  • by simcop2387 (703011) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:50PM (#14037866) Homepage Journal
    http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/research/recording_h ead/pr/PerpendicularAnimation.html

    a very informative animation explaining how to do Perpendicular Magnetic Recording
  • by lbmouse (473316) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @03:58PM (#14037942) Homepage
    ?? As opposed to colored military-grade bubbles.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Its one-teraflops processing speed, fueled by three 3.2-gigahertz processors (think: three desktop computers), may make the 360 the most powerful computer you've ever used. Now all those flying chunks of decimated buildings and exploding monster heads can be uniquely generated based on your actions, delivering the most realistic console-gaming experience ever--and in a full 1,080 lines of high-def resolution. The 360 is also the first Media Center extender that receives and plays back HDTV from Media Cente
  • by StarsAreAlsoFire (738726) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @04:03PM (#14037995)
    Kiss of Death awards.

    Honestly now, how many Best of What's New features have YOU seen in real life? Bet you can count them on one hand..... ;~)
  • by toupsie (88295) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @04:06PM (#14038024) Homepage
    Not one listing for Digital SLRs just some crappy point and shoots with superfluous features, printers and camcorders. Why not a video section instead of the camcorders? 2005 has unleashed some great SLRs from Nikon and Canon. The Nikon D200 and Canon 20D are two great examples of consumer level Digital SLRs that will blow the doors off a Kodak Easyshare-One or Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-R1 in image quality, speed, CMOS/CCD size and focal range. I would talk about the Canon EOS 1Ds but I would short out my keyboard from the drool.
    • That might just be because the majority of consumers won't spend more than a $1000 on a camera, not to mention lenses, filters, extra batteries and whatnot. While Nikon and Canon have both stepped up the quality/price ratio of their consumer end digitals, most people don't fork over large sums of cash for something they might struggle to use. When it comes to cameras an easy learning curve is often more influential than image quality.
      • You can picture up the Nikon D50 or Canon 350D (Rebel XT) with "kit lenses" for less than the Sony or Kodak camera. You miss out on some of the higher end features but they will still spank both those point and shoots in quality. Both cameras have settings that do most of the work for you so you don't have to understand shutter speed, aperture or focus. Just point the camera and shoot but with much better results.
        • ou can picture up the Nikon D50 or Canon 350D (Rebel XT) with "kit lenses" for less than the Sony or Kodak camera.

          It's still vastly higher than most consumers are willing to spend though. I just recently bought a Canon A610 -- it's certainly not a DSLR, but I'm very pleased with it, particularly for the price.

          I do find the inclusion of the Canon SD550 odd, as is Adobie Elements. And I think a Wifi enabled camera is more "gimmick" than goodness.
    • The Nikon D200 and Canon 20D are in a very different category than the Sony R1. They also cost quite a bit more (D200 street price around $1700, the 20D is a few hundred less). And that's just for the body; no lens included with those, so the price goes up quite quickly. You also have to worry about getting dust on the sensor when changing lenses, which you don't with the R1. Yeah, there are many MANY benefits to going with a DSLR, but not everyone needs that much camera. Personally, I'm dying for a D200, t
      • I thought this was the "Best of What's New 2005" not "What the Average Joe Can Handle 2005" from Popular Science. The section is Photography and it should have had the really Best of the field. Not one mention either of the Medium Format digital cameras that are out there.

        P.S. Though I am a Canon man, the 18-200VR lens rocks. I have tried it out on a friends D70.

        • Another thing to note: the Canon 20D came out in 2004, so it doesn't really qualify for Best of 2005. Now, the 5D - _that's_ certainly worth a mention. It's 2x more expensive than I can afford, but it's still an achievement in the field of full-frame sensor DSLRs. Someday they'll be affordable. I hope.

          I can see why no mention of the Nikon D200 - it's not even out, yet. But then again, neither is the Sony R1, though the D200 specs _just_ came out last week, whereas the R1 specs have been known for quite awhi
  • by Absolut187 (816431) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @04:09PM (#14038052) Homepage
    The article says that the whole industry will have moved to perpendicular recording in the next few years.
    But my guess is that it will be solely Toshiba until around - and I'm just guessing here - September 13, 2022.

    US Patent No: 6,942,936 [uspto.gov]

    Perpendicular magnetic recording medium and magnetic recording/reproduction apparatus

    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba (Tokyo, JP);
    Issue Date: September 13, 2005
    • But my guess is that it will be solely Toshiba until around - and I'm just guessing here - September 13, 2022.

      US Patent No: 6,942,936


      My guess is that every HDD manufacturer that it's Toshiba realizes that if they can't keep pace with Toshiba's increases in data density, they are going to go out of business, and therefore open their wallets wide and license the technology for their own products.

      My guess is also that due to these licensing costs, you shouldn't expect desktop drives to drop much below 50 cents
    • Manufacturers regularly license patents from one another. I wouldn't be surprised if Toshiba actually licenses it out to the highest bidder first rather than directly develop a product.
    • I'll put $100 on Sep 14th, 2022.

      But really, I'm sure they'll license the technology to other companies.
      • Why would they license it out? They have already brought it to market, which the other poster would know if he RTFA. Theoretically they could refuse to license to rivals, and charge monopoly prices (or close to it, since old tech. would be a partial substitute) right? Wouldn't monopoly prices gain more profit than licensing out the tech and competing with a rival? I mean no rational firm would pay more for the license than the prospective profit in that market, and the total industry profit in the market g
        • Well, in most cases it's better to get a little money from everyone's sales than all the money from your own. I mean, theoretically Phillips (or whoever patented CDs) could've chosen not to license their patent too. The advantage of licensing is that other people can sink their own money into product production and marketing, and whether or not they sell, you still win. Most patents in the media sector (no pun intended), with the exception of iOmega, have licensed their technology. Let me rephrase that.
    • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:11PM (#14040745)
      2.88MB 3.5" floppy drives used perpendicular recording.

      Although they were done by Toshiba also, there's no way this 2005 patent is the canonical patent for perpendicular recording, as there is obvious prior art.

      http://www.intel.com/design/archives/periphrl/docs /7281.htm [intel.com]
  • ...was the best product of 2005, in my opinion. Cellphone with 2 Mp autofocus Sony camera and MP3 player with support for MemoryStick Duo cards.

    Granted the W800 is (though the same phone, really) a bit better with minijack for headphones and, apparently, better MP3 software. Still, the K750 was the first _good_ MP3 cellphone :)

    ObDisclaimer: I have one, of course.
  • by The I Shing (700142) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @04:32PM (#14038287) Journal
    I mean, c'mon, how can you call it "What's New" and not have Phil & Dixie hosting it?
  • Irrelevant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @04:35PM (#14038318)
    So what. They are just ads in disguise. They awarded the lame ROM exercise machine ($14000 a pop) a few years back. It does nothing that you can't do for free or with $500 in equipment. Their basis for choosing the "best" things is pretty skewed.
  • Where's my flying car?

    This is the future, and I was promised a flying car, not some Jeep.
  • Too Early? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SnarfQuest (469614)
    Seem to me that declaring the XBox360 as a "best of" is a little bit early, as not a single unit has yet been sold, afaik.

    If it turns out that it has any "minor" defect, like an exploding power supply that causes thousands of homes to burn down, then it will likely need to be dropped from this list.

    I wonder if such an occurance is covered by their EULA? (873. Explosions and/or fires, including those involving lethal casualties, caused by this device, or any other devices supplied by MicroSoft, are the respo
    • I wonder if such an occurance is covered by their EULA? (873. Explosions and/or fires, including those involving lethal casualties, caused by this device, or any other devices supplied by MicroSoft, are the responsibility of said purchaser. Said purchaser hereby absolves MicroSoft, and its affiliates, from any legal action.)

      Hah, you were so shocked by 873 that you never read 874!

      874. NDA Purchaser will not make or disclose any statement, comment, or report about this product, or any other devices supplie

  • Funny, I submitted this same story on November 7th.
  • Anyone know where I can get this outlet [popsci.com]? Google reveals nothing.
  • Sikorsky X2 (Score:3, Informative)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @05:30PM (#14038820) Homepage
    The counter-rotating blade concept isn't new by any means.. Many early helicopter designs used the concept to cancel torque, but tail rotors proved to solve the issue of torque while also adding a high degree of control.

    In helicopters, 180MPH is generally the speed limit, because that's when the aircraft's airspeed approaches the angular velocity of the rotor on it's rearward sweep. If the aircraft is traveling forward at roughly the same speed that the rotor is sweeping backward, it can't generate any lift on that side. It seems like increasing the rate of rotation would solve the problem, but the short answer is that that introduces even more problems.

    Most twin-blade craft use tandem or intermeshing props, like the Chinook or V22. I'm guessing the coaxial counter-rotating design hasn't been popular because it's orders of magnitude (Score: 5, Used "orders of magnitude" in a sentence) more complicated than a standard prop. One of the main concerns in warfare is equipment reliability -- things working when you need them most. If coaxial designs are significantly less reliable in practice, that's a tremendous offset to any possible tactical advantage.
    • Yes, the idea of counter-rotating blades has been around for a long time. However this is innovation, because it has actually been implemented correctly.
      To draw a comparison, the idea of quantum computing has been around for a while, but they have yet to be implemented properly. When quantum computers begin to roll off of the production line, that will certainly deserve an science award of some type.
      • Sorry, I meant to say that the implementation of counter-rotation has been around for a while. It was basically abandoned with the invention of the tail rotor, for the sake of simplicity. Now that stronger matierals and better manufacturing processes are available, it's easier to implement co-axial counter-rotation, but that doesn't make it a new invention. If anything, the front-to-rear aligned tail rotor is innovative, but there were those things called airplanes which have been using them since, oh, t
  • Am I the only one that gets angry at comments like this? (from TFA)

    "Sony PlayStation Portable The introduction of Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) was the moment portable game consoles stopped being toys ..."
    • I didn't. I just read that statement as "Sony PlayStation Portable The introduction of Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) was the moment portable game consoles failed at their primary function ..."

      So I bought a Nintendo DS. It is for games. It has brought me great joy through incredible game design and pure innovation. Kirby's Canvas Curse is a platformer where you DRAW the platforms. Nintendog's is not an game but a weird experience into digital empathy. Advance Wars II is an old school difficult t
  • Movies, Music, Gaming . . . Is There Anything the PSP Can't Do?

    Beat its only rival?
  • Life imitates Star Trek yet again. Hope they can use this for other things besides vaccines. I Can't stand shots. http://www.popsci.com/popsci/bown2005/personalheal th/8407ee82ea447010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html [popsci.com]
  • We finally have a decent stereoscopic 3d Head mounted display under a thousand dollars and nobody takes note?

    The emagin z800 [emagin.com] is 20 years of geek dreams finally made a reality and not even a nod from Popular Science?
  • This article seems poorly written to me. These pop science magazines used to be appealing to me but now I'd rather read real research or go to colloquiums even if I don't completely understand everything.

    From the article on the "Emissions Neutral Vehicle..."

    "It breaks down hydrogen into electrons, which power the electric motor, and protons, which interact with oxygen taken in through the ENV's nosecone and are released as Earthfriendly water vapor and heat."

    They make it sound like fuel cells actually rip
  • No iPod Nano? *gasp* Heresy!!

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