Best of What's New

Every December for the past 27 years, the editors of Popular Science have sought out and brought together the products and technologies poised to change the world.

This year, four of the 100 products chosen by the magazine are projects out of Carnegie Mellon.

The winners are LiveLight, software that deletes unnecessary sections of personal or security videos, the Flex System, a “snake robot” neck surgery tool, 360fly, a panoramic video camera, and 3D Object Manipulation Software, which is used for photo editing.

“The Best of Whatʼs New Award is the magazineʼs top honor, and the 100 winners—chosen from among thousands of entrants—each a revolution in its field,” says Cliff Ransom, editor-in-chief of Popular Science, according to a press release issued by Carnegie Mellon.

“Winners of Popular Science’s Best of What’s New Award tend to change what the future will look like,” Ransom says. “This year’s 100 honorees are no different: They are revolutionary in their respective fields.”

The Popular Science Best of What’s New winners are chosen from 12 categories: Aerospace, Automotive, Engineering, Entertainment, Gadgets, Green, Hardware, Health, Home, Recreation, Security and Software.

The 3D Object Manipulation Software uses “available 3D models of common objects” to manipulate 3D objects within a 2D zone, even exposing surfaces that were not available in the original photo. It won in the Software category.

The Flex System is a surgical device, allowing surgeons to locate and visual hard-to-reach areas in the head and neck. It was developed by Medrobotics Corp., a trio of professors and post-doctorates from both CMU and Harvard Medical School. The robot-assisted technology placed within the Health category.

LiveLight was developed by a student/professor team in the Machine Learning Department. The identification software can be used to edit together the most important or interesting parts of footage, producing a “mini-trailer” of its most exciting aspects (and thus eliminating redundant or “boring” footage). CMU says they have launched a startup company, PanOptus, that hopes to develop an application to scan security videos exclusively. It won in the Security category.

The 360fly camera is another product of the Robotics Institute at CMU. Their release says the company, formerly known as EyeSee360, is “producing a rugged, waterproof and lightweight camera that provides a unique, 360-degree horizontal and 240-degree vertical view of the world.” It won in the Gadget category.

For a full list of the Popular Science picks, check out their Best of What’s New section, and congratulations to all 2014 winners!

Rebekah Zook

Rebekah Zook is a Duquesne grad and all-around story-telling enthusiast. A former fellow at WESA, she worked as a production assistant for their daily talk show. Most recently, she taught in the Propel Charter School system as a visiting artist. When she isn’t writing, Rebekah is a trip leader for the local non-profit organization Venture Outdoors. You can usually find her in a bright yellow kayak.