Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards win by Amazon Kindle, Microsoft Photosynth, Pulse Smartpen and others

Popular Mechanics magazine will unveil its Breakthrough Awards, the publication's annual celebration of the brightest innovators and innovations. This year's winners include tech that lets you read books on a thin, digital device, see all around your car as you park, and explore outer space through your imagination. This year's awards go to these 10 products: […]

Popular Mechanics magazine will unveil its Breakthrough Awards, the publication's annual celebration of the brightest innovators and innovations. This year's winners include tech that lets you read books on a thin, digital device, see all around your car as you park, and explore outer space through your imagination.

This year's awards go to these 10 products:

  • The M-Spector Digital Inspection Camera, from Milwaukee Tools. This device is designed to give people trying to do home repairs a way to see behind walls without cutting holes first. It features a 17-mm-wide 2x zoom lens and a 2.5-inch LCD. It costs $259.
  • Spore, from Electronic Arts. The long-awaited evolution game from famous designer Will Wright tasks players with evolving from single-cell muck to outer space, with stops along the way as individual creatures, small tribes and city-size civilizations.
  • The Livescribe Pulse Smartpen. This pen-size device allows its owner to take notes on special paper while simultaneously recording audio. Later, by tapping on a specific section of notes on the paper, users can get a playback of that section of audio. It can also perform simple language translation as well as other functions.
  • Potenco's PCG1 power generator. This user-driven device allows anyone to power up small devices like mobile phones with their hands. Pulling on the unit's cord for two minutes provides 40 minutes of power-up.
  • Intel's Atom processor. Microprocessor powerhouse Intel has built a low-power chip designed to give high-performance capabilities to mobile devices and light laptop computers.
  • The Craftsman Nextec Multi-saw. The well-known toolmaker is giving buyers a combination jigsaw and reciprocating saw. It is powered by a 12-volt lithium-ion battery that can drive the unit to cut in a variety of places difficult to reach by any single tool.
  • Microsoft's Photosyth. This free software from Microsoft allows people to create a browsable 3D model based on a series of related photographs. The software stitches the pictures together, creating the model based on overlapping elements of the images.
  • Amazon.com's Kindle. An e-book reader from the famous online bookseller, the Kindle allows people to read books, newspapers, and other documents on a thin, light digital device. It has been panned by some, while others have written rapturously about it. Either way, it is sparking innovation in e-readers.
  • The Around View monitor from Nissan's Infiniti division is designed to give drivers a 360-degree view around their cars while parking and backing up. The system features a series of ultra-wide-angle high-resolution cameras that produced images that are aggregated to give the driver a top view of the car and the area around it. It is hoped that the monitor will save lives, especially those of children, who are difficult to see from inside a car, especially when they are behind a vehicle while a driver is backing up.
  • The Caroma Profile dual flush toilet. This system pipes gray water from a bathroom's sink into the toilet's tank, cutting down on water wastage.

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