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The 25 Most Promising Products for 2011


The gadgets you're most likely to buy, the technology that will change our lives.

This article by Drea Knufken was originally published on

There is nano in your future. Between nanotechnology and 3D, robots and mobile, cars and green technology, 2011 will be an exciting year for new products and technologies. Here are the 25 most promising products for 2011:

25. The Mint
The Roomba robotic housecleaner seems like a cool concept, until you see it miss spots and crash into walls. The Mint, a new robotic cleaner, ups the ante on the Roomba. It has a built-in navigation system that uses an infrared laser as a satellite-like reference point while mapping out a room, making for a more thorough, less epileptic cleaning job. All you have to do is stick a wet or dry Swiffer pad on your Mint, and let it do its job well. Take that, Roomba.

24. 3D Computer Monitor
The 3D revolution is on, and don't think that excludes the Internet. The DuraVision FDF2301-3D, by Japanese monitor maker EIZO, is 23 inches of HD 3D without glasses. You can choose from four different kinds of 3D settings on the monitor. The clincher: each monitor will probably cost somewhere upward of $25,000.

23. Infinity I-Kitchen
Admit it. All that's missing from your fridge is a touchscreen UI, one that lets you control its internal temperatures, make lists, find recipes, look up contacts, and basically contain all those other functions that used to live on and around your fridge door. Enlightenment Foundation Libraries' Infinity I-Kitchen scratches this itch by making fridges more high-tech. The open-source touchscreen computer lives inside your fridge, and, as a Linux-based app, is open for modification. The screen, though, will only live in an Electrolux fridge–take that as you will.

22. The Cow Manure Generator
Methane is one nasty greenhouse gas. It's over 20 times more potent to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. But Chinese innovators have figured out how to mitigate atmospheric damage while generating electricity with their new generator, which converts the methane gas from fermented cow manure into electricity. The power plant, which runs on GE gas-powered generators, will "generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 3,500 American-size households," according to MIT Technology Review. It also creates manure that is "safer than raw manure." You need an awful lot of manure to make this technology cost-effective, so Huishan Dairy, where the pilot project is taking place, is collecting additional bovine waste from 20 other nearby farms.

21. The Evolved Location-Based App
Location-based apps are still a little bit primitive, but they won't be that way much longer if Location Labs' Sparkle platform has its way. Its geolocation technology lets developers build smart apps that can find, identify, and detect motion and velocity of any mobile device. Combine that with Sparkle's geofencing and messaging technology, and you have something like location-based apps 3.0. Such apps could take customization to the next level, automatically letting you know when your kids are getting near your house, you're near a business that can give you a special discount, there's a home for rent nearby, etc. The opportunities are boundless.

20. The Home Wind Energy Generator
What if you could capture and generate energy with the same turbine? That's what Earthtronics' Honeywell Wind Turbine does, and it aims to redefine the wind power market with it. Magnets and stators in the turbine's outer ring "capture power at the blade tips where speed is greatest," according to the website, making the turbine productive even in low winds. The magnets on the turbine's blade tips pass through copper coils in the frame, allowing the turbine to generate electricity at the same time it captures it.

In return, the turbine offers the most bang per kilowatt-hour buck for its size and class. The Honeywell costs $6,495, but if you factor in government rebate programs of 30% or more, and the fact that the unit will produce roughly 20% of a single family home's energy in a relatively windy place in a year, according to this Inhabitat article, the price starts looking pretty good.

19. Samsung LED Thin 3D TV
There's 3D, and there's thin. It was just a matter of time before they came together; Samsung has done it with its 7.2mm (about 1/3 of an inch) thick LED LCD TV, the 9000 series. The set comes with glasses and lets you turn your 2D content into 3D, so you don't need to give up your favorite 2D shows.

18. Biofuel-Powered Commercial Flights
The world's first biofuel-powered passenger flights will happen in April 2011 between Frankfurt and Hamburg, courtesy of German airliner Lufthansa. The fuel will be a 50% vegetable oil blend thought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%. The biofuel flights are part of a six-month German government study on how biofuels impact aircraft performance in the long term. Other airlines, including Continental, Air New Zealand, Japan Air and KLM have been testing biofuels as well.

17. Bend Desk
This 2 projector, 3-camera curved screen transforms the traditional desk into a tactile computer. The BendDesk's "integrated workspace" lets you sort photos and files and play games with your hands, even along the unit's curved spine. Bonus: You can put coffee, papers and other stuff on the bottom half of the desk, just as you would a normal desk. It's like the upcoming Microsoft Surface tabletop computer, but cooler.

16. 3D HD Camcorder
All that was missing from 3D was a personal camcorder. Here it is, courtesy of Panasonic. It's basically a 2D camera with a 3D conversion lens. The lens mimics human eyes' natural visual disparity by recording left and right images simultaneously, the same way our eyes work in concert to perceive depth and solidity. Connect the video to a 3D TV, and you can watch your own life in three dimensions.

15. CO2 Electroreduction
Canadian startup Mantra Energy proposes to take popular "clean coal" technology carbon capture sequestration one step further. Their patented (electro-reduction of carbon dioxide) technology lets factories capture carbon dioxide, then reduce it into formate and formic acid, chemicals that factories can then sell for profit on the open market. Mantra even promises to take those chemicals off factories' hands. This new form of carbon capture with an integrated profitable vertical market just might be what carbon emitters are looking for.

For the rest of this list, including the number one most promising product for 2011, visit Business
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