“The Best 25 Inventions of 2016” blares the cover of the Nov. 16, issue of “Time.”
I don’t have the space to do injustice to all of them, but some of them just beg for comment.
Of course you may wonder why “Time” feels compelled to release its list with more than a month left to go in the year. Isn’t it possible that someone could unveil some brilliant labor-saving device or cultural milestone during the twelfth month?
Okay, truthfully, Kickstarter startups do tend to get pushed aside by all the holiday hubbub and year-end inventory reduction zaniness. The only thing that might be brainstormed in December is a 3D copier for use at the office Christmas party. (“My butt may be out on the sidewalk tomorrow morning, but at least I can sit in this butt!”)
The editors of “Time” shine a spotlight on Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G, an iPod-sized device that the magazine dubs “the artificial pancreas.” It’s a genuine boon for Type 1 diabetes patients, since it can help them regulate their sugar level. But look for money-grubbing copycat entrepreneurs to lobby for the use of “the artificial appendix” and “the artificial irregularly shaped mole.”
Kudos are given to “Barbies That Look More Like Real Girls.” In January Mattel introduced three additional body types of Barbie (petite, tall, curvy), boosting global sales by 44 percent! It’s somewhat less likely that anyone will introduce more body types for G.I. Joe. (“I don’t have to give you anything but my name, rank, serial number and a show-stopping tune from ‘Hamilton.’” “Ow! My back hair is tangling in the barbed wire!” “My Kung Fu Grip won’t turn loose of the Bud can.”Where’s my rifle??? Oh, it’s in this roll of belly fat...”)
Plentiful seawood is touted as the next big thing in the food world. Of course food companies will need your big brother for marketing it. (“Go ahead, take a bite. You’ll love it. It just lacks the tread marks of the last thing I con----er, convinced you to eat.”)
“Responsive clothing” is another innovation. Reminiscent of the 1959 Vincent Price horror film “The Tingler” (select theater seats were wired to give the audience a tingling sensation at appropriate moments), these high-tech garments would “send feelings.” For example, you could buy a sweatshirt that “hugs” your child. Employers would probably love to invest in company uniforms with the patented “Boss tore me a new one” sensation.
One of the most mind-blowing inventions is what “Time” bill as “the levitating lightbulb.” Flyte costs $349 and relies on electromagnetism to levitate and spin and “resonant inductive coupling” to shine. My son the future engineer tells me that gravity is a weaker force than electromagnetism. Great. The Flyte people are flirting with bullying lawsuits.
The idea for Flyte probably came from those lightbulbs over comic strip characters’ heads. Maybe someone should also develop a real version of “plewds” (instances of projectile sweating) and create ergonomic real “grawlixes” (those combinations of symbols that stand for profanity in the comics), so middle fingers could get a rest on the freeway.
The inventors of Flyte intend to introduce a “whole ecosystem of floating products.” The only gadget I would pay $349 for is one that yanks up the waistband of baggy pants ---- and keeps the contents far, far away from 3D printers!
Danny welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”