Gordon Cheng, © Astrid Eckert /TUM

In this season of lists and reviews, the editors of Innovation Origins have made an overview of the most striking innovations of 2020. Readers were able to choose which of these developments they thought were the most important. The polls revealed that IO readers preferred innovations in which people’s well-being was central.

Artificial bone and artificial intelligence

The editors looked back on the four themes of mobility, digitalization, health and sustainability. Of course, the corona epidemic also dominated the news in our coverage. Nonetheless, a large majority of respondents believed that developments such as the ability to print artificial bone and organs and artificial intelligence systems that assist doctors to be far more important than the development of the coronavirus.

Alternative fuels and sustainable construction

In terms of sustainability, the votes were fairly evenly divided. One third of the participants considered alternative fuels for heavy machinery, food and shipping to be an important development, one third opted for sustainable building and one fourth opted for making the consumer market more sustainable by using biodegradable packaging materials, for example. The remaining votes went to new ways of growing food such as aquaculture and greenhouses in supermarkets.

Safety for people

Robotics in companies and households are apparently less interesting to IO readers (30 percent of the votes) than the emergence of systems that can save lives, such as a drone that keeps an eye on things in nursing homes. More than half of the participants in the poll voted for the latter. The development of digital techniques that help with learning and studying received over 16 percent of the votes.

Electric driving is the future

The choice of the participants in the poll on mobility was very clear. Nearly 65 percent of the votes went to the topic of “increasing the power of batteries and rechargeables for a range of up to 1,000 kilometers,” followed by over 20 percent for the development of driving support by AI systems and useful apps. The electrification of air traffic and a new mobility concept such as hyperloop, both with seven percent of the votes, were significantly less popular.

Want to read the articles again? You can find them all here:
Flying cars and high-speed hyperloop travel are still in the future
Drones, supercomputers, the rise of robotics and loads of smart apps

Healthcare provider is getting increasingly more help from smart devices

Plenty of techniques for a more sustainable world, but it’s about time we started using them

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About the author

Author profile picture Arnoud Cornelissen has for many years been writing about science and technology in, among others, various Dutch newspapers.