The hottest list in tech town: Top inventions of 2012

It’s the list every inventor wants to be on. TIME magazine is the world’s largest circulation weekly news magazine, with a readership of 25m.

Widely regarded as one of the most popular magazines in history, and one of the most credible, it’s no wonder a mention in the publication is considered to be a golden ticket.

Annually, TIME pulls together what its tech experts consider to be year’s 50 best inventions. Now while some of these inventions are undoubtedly impressive, they’re way out of our price range – unless you happen to have $750,000 and want to buy a floating fish farm, or $8m for a deep-sea challenger submarine. So we’ve concentrated on those you may wish to put on your Christmas list.


If your kids have been hounding you for a dog, but you can’t deal with all the walks and picking up poop, TechPet may just keep them happy. It’s been created by Bandai, the company which gave us the 1990s phenomenon Tamagotchi. You download the TechPet app, dock your iPhone in the robotic dog frame and your phone is transformed into a cute canine.

Your dog needs feeding, just like a real pet, and can perform tricks triggered by voice and image recognition. It can also walk, wag its tail, dance and bark in time to tunes. There’s a happiness meter so, just as with Tamagotchi, youngsters can compete over who is taking the best care of their pet. But unlike its previous offering, Bandai has decided that TechPet can’t die as that was the most complained about aspect of the Tamagotchi. If you have more than one TechPet, they can even interact and play together using Bluetooth. RRP $59.99

Sony RX100 Digital Camera

The Sony RX100 was designed to bridge the gap between point-and-shoot compacts and professional quality digital SLRs. It doesn’t come cheap, at $649.99, but it’s sure to appeal to keen hobbyists who want something better than a regular point-and-shoot, but still want to be able to fit it into their pocket so they can easily capture the moment.

It offers exquisite image quality and high-end handling, with a 1 inch sensor and F1.8 lens. There’s also impressive ISO sensitivity so you get richly-detailed results.

Motion activated screwdriver

We know how most men, and lots of women, can’t resist a new power tool, even if they aren’t DIY aficionados, so this new one by Black & Decker is sure to be appealing. Sensors, of the like usually found in smartphones and controllers for the Nintendo Wii have been used in the cordless 4v MAX Gyro, which creators say is the world’s first motion-activated screwdriver. You tilt it right by a tiny fraction and it screws clockwise to tighten, turn it left and it goes the other way. It works by sensing wrist motions which change the drill’s speed and direction. RRP $40

Google glass

Google’s invention is a computer built into the frame of a pair of glasses. Users can see the 1.3cm display when they look up to the right. It allows you to take and share photos, video-chat, check your appointments and access maps, so you should never be lost again. TIME says the glasses will “make augmented reality part of our daily lives,” but costing $1,500, they will definitely appeal to a niche market. Google Glass should be on sale by 2014.

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