Year in review: prime 10 technological innovation stories of 2021

New technological know-how often walks a tightrope between the necessary and the needless. With our reliance on electronic products ramping up above the system of the calendar year, most of us favoured uncooked functionality about eccentric varieties, as perfectly as the opportunity to get away from tech anywhere doable. On the other hand, companies of all measurements discovered new means to innovate, irrespective of whether it was refining outdated favourites, emphasising longevity over disposability, or merely generating new kinds of shock and delight. In no certain get, the pursuing 10 stories are technologies editor Jonathan Bell’s favourite forays into the intersection of style and design and the electronic globe, with a nutritious dose of treatment, craft, and creative imagination thrown in. 

Major 10 technological innovation stories of the calendar year

01. Transparent’s transportable Light-weight speaker will get the occasion glowing

The Mild speaker (pictures courtesy of Transparent)

A portable speaker and lamp in one, the Light speaker by Swedish technological innovation firm Transparent attracts inspiration from the classic lantern. Clear could be modest but it has grand ambitions. Proven in 2011, the Stockholm-centered manufacturer uncovered early fame with its signature Transparent speaker, a striking piece of industrial style and design that lays its interior workings bare many thanks to meticulous industrial layout. Their new Light-weight speaker pushes all our buttons. Writer: Jonathan Bell

02. Cosmo, the slicing-edge consider on the electric guitar by Verso Instruments

The Cosmo Moreover guitar (Photography courtesy of Verso Instruments) 

In the past 12 months, we saw the electric powered guitar go through one of its periodic revivals. Whilst the instrument is routinely composed off as aged and uncomfortable technologies, beloved by Boomers and irrelevant to fashionable mores, fascination is generally sparked by revivals and returns, as effectively as a consistent stream of innovators who are capable to do new items with 6 strings and a chunk of wooden. What hardly ever improvements is the guitar’s kind component musical innovation does not essentially need technological transform. This is where Verso Musical Devices will come in. Established by the industrial designer Robin Stummvoll and based mostly in Hessen, Germany, Verso Musical Devices builds electric guitars with a big difference. Author: Jonathan Bell

03. Urbanista’s new ‘Los Angeles’ headphones are photo voltaic-driven stars

Urbanista Los Angeles headphones in Sand Gold and Midnight Black (Images courtesy of Urbanista)

Swedish know-how manufacturer Urbanista is trying to do anything a minimal bit distinctive. The company’s most recent product is dubbed ‘Los Angeles’, an correctly solar-drenched destination for a pair of wireless headphones that can be charged applying the sunshine. We spoke to Anders Andreen, Urbanista’s founder and CEO, about this new solution to electric power-preserving technology and attention to element. ‘We make items for modern-day urbanists,’ states Andreen. ‘Our manufacturer, items, and packaging need to all stand out, just like a manner brand. These headphones have to be something you want to dress in.’ Author: Jonathan Bell 

04. Digital supercars present a new form of driving working experience

CURV x Aston Martin AMR-C01 (image courtesy of CURV Racing Simulators)

Virtual supercars and the delights of sim racing signify you can exam the boundaries of an Aston Martin Valkyrie or a Zagato, say, without the need of leaving the consolation of your gaming den. For all those with the area – be it in sitting rooms, scientific studies, garages, or even committed gaming complexes – this new breed of electronic driving experience has been made in shut collaboration with producers and designers. We uncovered a fleet of virtual supercars that are primed and all set to tackle the world’s trickiest circuits and most breathtaking roads from the ease and comfort of dwelling. Writer: Jonathan Bell 

05. Wallpaper* Wise Space Awards: finest new design and style and know-how for the residence

Wallpaper* Wise Area Awards: the very best new style and technological know-how goods for the home (Images: Neil Godwin at Foreseeable future Studios)

In 2021 we unveiled the winners of our very first-at any time Good Space Awards, a hanging variety of the greatest new technological know-how and style and design items for the residence. The panel of judges incorporated architect Tosin Oshinowo, of Nigerian follow CM Layout Atelier (component of our 2021 Architects’ Directory) artist, musician and designer Yuri Suzuki and Harrods’ retail supervisor Veronica Forin, collectively with Wallpaper*’s editor-in-chief Sarah Douglas and transport & technological know-how editor Jonathan Bell. The five sifted as a result of a sizeable pile of entries, looking for objects that inspire, and technology that is designed to final. As generally, the winners are really Wallpaper*, a celebration of plain attractiveness, putting structure and intuitive functionality. Author: Jonathan Bell 

06. Mod Devices’ open up-source instrument pedals participate in a distinctive tune

The MOD Dwarf (Photography: Amos Fricke)

Berlin-based Mod Equipment results in a new generation of multipurpose audio resources. The little firm subscribes to the ethos that programs ought to be open up to all those with the time and expertise to make a alter. Mod builds outcomes processors for musicians of all stripes, with each unit a building block for an unlimited sonic earth. In layman’s conditions, its electronic bins sit in between instrument and amplifier, making it possible for players to layer unique outcomes in infinite figures of techniques, as very well as develop their have. Author: Jonathan Bell 

07. Minimalist speaker styles mix audio with artwork

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Stage (graphic courtesy of Bang & Olufsen)

A new generation of audio structure places overt technological know-how on the again burner in favour of heat materials, simple forms and greatest overall flexibility. We spherical up the very best techniques of bringing high-fidelity seem into your property with the final levels of discretion and flavor. From Bang & Olufsen to Bose, KEF, Braun and Audio-Aesthetics, these are speakers we’d be pretty happy to stay with. Writer: Jonathan Bell 

08. Fender seems to be forwards with a new hybrid guitar style and design

Fender Acoustasonic Jazzmaster (impression courtesy of Fender)

Fender’s Acoustasonic Jazzmaster is a hybrid style with a designed in ‘Acoustic Motor,’ a processor that transforms its apparent but neutral tones into a range of diverse sorts of guitars. When it was launched in 1959, Fender’s Jazzmaster was originally pitched at, unsurprisingly, jazz musicians. It shortly uncovered additional favour as a twangy surf rock instrument before going through a cult revival in the 1980s and 1990s. In Acoustasonic variety, it remains one of Fender’s most elegant styles, with a thin, rapid neck that fits any number of enjoying types. Pair this instrument with a present day results processor, and you have a beautifully crafted all-rounder that flatters the each day player but appears good adequate to use professionally. Writer: Jonathan Bell 

09. Syng is rethinking the artwork of speaker design

Mobile Alpha Speaker by Syng (image courtesy of Syng)

Syng was started off by Christopher Stringer, a product designer with over 20 decades of working experience at Apple, wherever he worked on various iterations of the Apple iphone, iPad, MacBook, and Apple Observe. His co-founder, Damon Way, started skatewear professionals DC Shoes and was also a companion at components expert Incase. As Syng’s chief model officer, he’ll set his substantial working experience with artist collaborations to use, when Stringer’s role as CEO and main design officer offers the new company a strong grounding in style-pushed solutions, starting off with the Mobile Alpha Speaker. As effectively as the solidity of the factors and enclosure, the Mobile Alpha incorporates Syng’s ‘Triphonic’ seem, a way of mapping place to help condition the sound, with the ‘Triphone’ 3-horned seem project at the centre of the object shaped employing 3D printing. Author: Jonathan Bell

10. Inside of Apple Park: first glimpse at the style and design staff shaping the long run of tech

Apple Park, Images: Jason Schmidt 

And lastly, no apologies for mentioning one of our most significant stories of the year, a worldwide distinctive interview with the Apple Style and design workforce. Led by Evans Hankey and Alan Dye, the Apple Style and design Workforce holds massive sway more than our evolving romance with engineering. Opening the doors to their studio at Apple Park in Cupertino for the 1st time, they made available us a deep dive into the operating processes behind their most up-to-date creations. Writer: Jonathan Bell