The Best Inventions of 2007

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Every year I’m called upon to help pull together a list of the best inventions of the year for Time. This is partly because advertisers like to advertise opposite happy uplifting technology coverage. But it’s also hella interesting.

Lot of good stuff happened in green and ultra-low-cost technology this year. And of course we’ll have to make room for the iPhone, and the $100 laptop. But so far the item I’m most charmed by is this: bendable optical fiber.

Corning’s breakthrough is based on a nanoStructures™ optical fiber design that allows the cabled fiber to be bent around very tight corners with virtually no signal loss. These improved attributes will enable telecommunications carriers to economically offer true high-speed Internet, voice and HDTV services to virtually all commercial and residential (apartment and condominium) buildings. Current optical fiber installations lose signal strength and effectiveness when bent around corners and routed through a building, making it difficult and expensive to run fiber all the way to customers’ homes.

Way to make something cool sound boring. What else cool got invented this year? Google Street View? The Boeing Dreamliner? This weird building made of water? The Matrix Goggles?

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