Popular Science has announced its Best of What's New awards for 2008; they are all brilliant inventions, but some are phenomenal! There were 11 categories of best invention awards ranging across a wide spectrum of technology, from automobile to security technologies. One of the 11 winners was named the Grand Award Winner... see if you can guess which one!
1. Popular Science Best of What's New 2008 Auto Tech Award: 2009 Nissan GT-R
One of the fastest cars on the road, the Nissan GT-R was rated as the "sports-car value of the year, if not the decade." Popular Science say that the 193 MPH, $77,000 sports car has at least the performance of a $200,000 sports car.
Extremely high performance, the GT-R revs up faster than a Lamborghini, going from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds. Twin clutch system, aluminum block engine that heats up fast, adjustable shock absorber, and a control panel that may tell you more than you need to know are just some of the extraordinary features of the 2009 Nissan GT-R. (See runners-up in this category.)
2. Popular Science Best of What's New 2008 Aviation & Space Award: NASA Mars Lander
Was there life on Mars? Well, we finally have a pretty strong clue that there may indeed have been life there (Martians, you think?), thanks to NASA's solar-powered Phoenix Mars Lander. The Lockheed Martin-built space craft was equipped with the most sophisticated robotic equipment ever to mount a spaceship, and was able to detect water-formed ice crystals just a few inches from the top of the soil. The robotic laboratory, including microscopes, electro-chemistry analyzers, high-temperature furnaces, and mass spectrometers broke down the materials all while on Mars, and (Beam me down, Scottie) sent the information back to the scientists at the University of Arizona. The Phoenix Mars Lander was also able to take the best photographs ever taken from space. The Martian may shut the spacecraft down for good, as Mars becomes totally dark for several months; however the solar-powered Lander has been outfitted with a "Lazarus mode," to help it survive the winter and bring it back to life in the spring. (See runners-up in this category.)
3. Popular Science Best of What's New 2008 Computing Award: Maxis Spore
Spore, the growingly popular computer game is the brilliant creation that allows players to create their own characters, one body part at a time, from a selection of body parts offered. Same is true for objects and surroundings. And once you have concocted your characters, Spore animates them for you, very intelligently, even giving your character a personality. Your character then gets to interact with other characters created from Spore's database of 30 million other creatures. (See runners-up in the Computing category.)
Spore was also named as one of Popular Mechanics10 Most Brilliant Gadgets of 2008. Spore is available for sale here.
4. Popular Science Best of What's New 2008 Engineering Award: Large Hadron Collider
Image The 'biggest experiment in the world," the Large Hadron Collider is a 17 mile circular tube that was built 300 feet underground by 10,000 engineers and physicists for $10 billion, by the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Residing on the Swiss-French border, the Hadron Collider's prime purpose is to prove or disprove the theory of the Higgs boson, the particle that is the basis for our current physical understanding of matter or mass. Though opened in September, the Large Hadron Collider, which contains 1,200 superconductive magnets, had a problem with two of the 35 ton magnets, causing a delay of several months in the re-opening. (See runners-up in the Engineering category.)