We’re almost at the end of this often weird, occasionally wonderful year which means it’s time to put on the rose-tinted glasses, adopt a glass-half-full mindset and look back at the year that was 2021. While it’s difficult to look past the tough times that this year in particular threw our way, we’re using this time to weed through the negatives and focus on the better things the year churned out with our M2 Best of 2021 round up.
Sure, there are a lot of problems in the world, but there’s also a heck of a lot of great minds out there coming up with creative ways to fix them. 2021 was another great year for innovation and saw a boatload of new ideas become reality and make an immediate impact on our world. Here is part one of our best inventions from the last 12(ish) months.
Recycled Material LEGO
Anytime a company looks to innovate to make their product range and practices more sustainable, it should be worth commending. Danish toy heavyweight LEGO joined the litany of companies making the transition in 2021, unveiling their new PET (polyethylene terephthalate) LEGO bricks made entirely from recycled plastics. LEGO are pushing forward with the new formula in the coming years and aiming to fully replace their existing range by the year 2030, making a significant difference in the sustainability of their production line.
As much as we love all love to bag on Apple for thoroughly homogenising the personal tech landscape, you can’t deny they come up with some pretty great products. The AirTag is so simple yet genius and is designed to solve genuinely one of life’s most consistent and frustrating problems; where did I leave my damn keys?! It’s a simple tracking device that attaches comfortably and discreetly onto any keyring or into your wallet and functions essentially the same as Apple’s Find My iPhone feature. No matter how far away, you can track the AirTag’s whereabouts, saving you pulling apart your entire house in desperate search of whatever you’ve attached it to.
COVID-19 Home Testing Kits
We could go the obvious route and point out that COVID-19 vaccines are probably objectively the years’ most impactful invention in a landslide, but honestly, that feels like a cop out. At the same time, it feels wrong to ignore the myriad of other solutions that innovators offered up to help the world push through the unprecedented circumstances. While they never made it to our shores here in New Zealand, COVID-19 home testing kits were a massive development in the battle against the virus earlier this year, providing the general public the ability to test their symptoms with an easy to use, at home kit without having to sit in line for hours and wait days for results. The kits, released by numerous different brands and operating with a roughly 90% accuracy, were undoubtedly a meaningful creation, playing a big part in slowing down the spread of COVID-19 in a number of struggling countries.
Now we’re onto the serious stuff. Nothing, I repeat, nothing, is worse than when your takeaway arrives at your door a soggy mess. It‘s a problem that has plagued us for a generation. Well, let it plague us no more, as the SAVRpak is a little peel and stick patch designed to put an end to takeaway sogginess forever. The patch works by absorbing the moisture from the hot air coming from the piping food, preventing condensation from forming on the food containers. A simple, straight forward innovation, designed to keep our takeaways fresh. That’s an elite invention in my book.
The heavy dose of work-from-home has been a double-edged sword for most of us. One of the most difficult aspects of the circumstances is staying focused in an environment where so many distractions are pulling us away. The TimeChi was created to block those distractions out for good, a small device that sits right on your desk and acts as a do-it-all focus enhancer, with numerous features designed to cut out unwanted interruptions, including enabling ‘Do Not Disturb’ modes on your apps and devices at the click of a button. It doesn’t do the work for you unfortunately, but the TimeChi is a brilliantly timely modern invention.
Look out for part 2 of our M2 Best of 2021 next week.