12 months in overview: top 10 engineering stories of 2021

New know-how generally walks a tightrope between the needed and the unnecessary. With our reliance on electronic devices ramping up more than the class of the year, most of us favoured raw performance around eccentric sorts, as effectively as the opportunity to get absent from tech anywhere achievable. On the other hand, firms of all dimensions identified new approaches to innovate, whether or not it was refining previous favourites, emphasising longevity more than disposability, or merely generating new varieties of shock and delight. In no specific get, the pursuing 10 tales are technology editor Jonathan Bell’s favorite forays into the intersection of style and the digital environment, with a wholesome dose of treatment, craft, and creativity thrown in. 

Top rated 10 technology stories of the calendar year

01. Transparent’s transportable Light-weight speaker receives the social gathering glowing

The Light-weight speaker (photography courtesy of Clear)

A transportable speaker and lamp in just one, the Gentle speaker by Swedish technological innovation agency Clear attracts inspiration from the classic lantern. Clear may possibly be compact but it has grand ambitions. Set up in 2011, the Stockholm-dependent brand observed early fame with its signature Clear speaker, a putting piece of industrial design and style that lays its inner workings bare many thanks to meticulous industrial design. Their new Gentle speaker pushes all our buttons. Author: Jonathan Bell

02. Cosmo, the slicing-edge just take on the electrical guitar by Verso Instruments

The Cosmo Furthermore guitar (Images courtesy of Verso Devices) 

In the previous year, we noticed the electric powered guitar bear 1 of its periodic revivals. Whilst the instrument is regularly published off as old and embarrassing engineering, beloved by Boomers and irrelevant to present day mores, interest is normally sparked by revivals and returns, as nicely as a constant stream of innovators who are ready to do new things with six strings and a chunk of wood. What rarely variations is the guitar’s variety component musical innovation doesn’t necessarily have to have technological alter. This is exactly where Verso Musical Devices will come in. Founded by the industrial designer Robin Stummvoll and based mostly in Hessen, Germany, Verso Musical Instruments builds electric guitars with a variation. Writer: Jonathan Bell

03. Urbanista’s new ‘Los Angeles’ headphones are photo voltaic-run stars

Urbanista Los Angeles headphones in Sand Gold and Midnight Black (Images courtesy of Urbanista)

Swedish know-how model Urbanista is trying to do something a minimal little bit various. The company’s latest solution is dubbed ‘Los Angeles’, an correctly solar-drenched vacation spot for a pair of wi-fi headphones that can be billed applying the sunlight. We spoke to Anders Andreen, Urbanista’s founder and CEO, about this new method to electricity-conserving know-how and consideration to element. ‘We make solutions for modern day urbanists,’ states Andreen. ‘Our brand, items, and packaging have to all stand out, just like a trend brand name. These headphones have to be a thing you want to don.’ Writer: Jonathan Bell 

04. Digital supercars supply a new variety of driving encounter

CURV x Aston Martin AMR-C01 (graphic courtesy of CURV Racing Simulators)

Digital supercars and the delights of sim racing necessarily mean you can take a look at the restrictions of an Aston Martin Valkyrie or a Zagato, say, with no leaving the comfort of your gaming den. For individuals with the room – be it in sitting down rooms, studies, garages, or even devoted gaming complexes – this new breed of digital driving knowledge has been produced in close collaboration with manufacturers and designers. We observed a fleet of virtual supercars that are primed and all set to deal with the world’s trickiest circuits and most impressive streets from the consolation of household. Author: Jonathan Bell 

05. Wallpaper* Sensible Area Awards: most effective new design and know-how for the house

Wallpaper* Wise Place Awards: the best new design and style and engineering goods for the dwelling (Pictures: Neil Godwin at Future Studios)

In 2021 we unveiled the winners of our very first-at any time Clever House Awards, a hanging assortment of the greatest new technological innovation and style products for the home. The panel of judges involved architect Tosin Oshinowo, of Nigerian practice CM Design Atelier (portion of our 2021 Architects’ Listing) artist, musician and designer Yuri Suzuki and Harrods’ retail manager Veronica Forin, with each other with Wallpaper*’s editor-in-chief Sarah Douglas and transport & technological innovation editor Jonathan Bell. The five sifted by way of a significant pile of entries, hunting for objects that inspire, and technological innovation that’s made to last. As generally, the winners are extremely Wallpaper*, a celebration of simple attractiveness, placing design and style and intuitive functionality. Writer: Jonathan Bell 

06. Mod Devices’ open-resource instrument pedals engage in a distinct tune

The MOD Dwarf (Photography: Amos Fricke)

Berlin-based mostly Mod Devices produces a new generation of multipurpose audio applications. The small business subscribes to the ethos that methods really should be open to those with the time and capabilities to make a transform. Mod builds outcomes processors for musicians of all stripes, with every product a building block for an limitless sonic earth. In layman’s phrases, its electronic bins sit between instrument and amplifier, permitting gamers to layer unique outcomes in infinite figures of techniques, as nicely as develop their possess. Writer: Jonathan Bell 

07. Minimalist speaker types blend audio with art

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Level (graphic courtesy of Bang & Olufsen)

A new era of audio style and design places overt know-how on the back burner in favour of heat elements, easy varieties and top flexibility. We spherical up the greatest means of bringing superior-fidelity sound into your property with the final levels of discretion and flavor. From Bang & Olufsen to Bose, KEF, Braun and Audio-Aesthetics, these are speakers we’d be extremely joyful to are living with. Writer: Jonathan Bell 

08. Fender seems to be forwards with a new hybrid guitar design and style

Fender Acoustasonic Jazzmaster (graphic courtesy of Fender)

Fender’s Acoustasonic Jazzmaster is a hybrid design with a crafted in ‘Acoustic Engine,’ a processor that transforms its clear but neutral tones into a variety of distinct styles of guitars. When it was introduced in 1959, Fender’s Jazzmaster was initially pitched at, unsurprisingly, jazz musicians. It quickly uncovered extra favour as a twangy surf rock instrument prior to undergoing a cult revival in the 1980s and 1990s. In Acoustasonic sort, it stays a person of Fender’s most stylish designs, with a skinny, quick neck that satisfies any number of playing models. Pair this instrument with a modern day effects processor, and you have a wonderfully crafted all-rounder that flatters the each day player but sounds excellent more than enough to use skillfully. Author: Jonathan Bell 

09. Syng is rethinking the art of speaker design and style

Cell Alpha Speaker by Syng (image courtesy of Syng)

Syng was started off by Christopher Stringer, a item designer with about 20 many years of expertise at Apple, in which he worked on different iterations of the Iphone, iPad, MacBook, and Apple Look at. His co-founder, Damon Way, established skatewear professionals DC Sneakers and was also a partner at components professional Incase. As Syng’s main manufacturer officer, he’ll put his intensive knowledge with artist collaborations to use, though Stringer’s function as CEO and main style and design officer provides the new company a strong grounding in structure-pushed products, setting up with the Cell Alpha Speaker. As nicely as the solidity of the factors and enclosure, the Cell Alpha incorporates Syng’s ‘Triphonic’ audio, a way of mapping area to help shape the seem, with the ‘Triphone’ a few-horned seem venture at the centre of the object formed working with 3D printing. Author: Jonathan Bell

10. Within Apple Park: initially glimpse at the layout group shaping the long term of tech

Apple Park, Pictures: Jason Schmidt 

And ultimately, no apologies for mentioning 1 of our major stories of the 12 months, a global unique job interview with the Apple Style and design staff. Led by Evans Hankey and Alan Dye, the Apple Design and style Staff holds enormous sway over our evolving connection with technologies. Opening the doorways to their studio at Apple Park in Cupertino for the initially time, they made available us a deep dive into the performing processes guiding their most up-to-date creations. Author: Jonathan Bell