Year in review: top 10 technology stories of 2021

New technologies often walks a tightrope in between the required and the unnecessary. With our reliance on electronic units ramping up around the class of the year, most of us favoured raw operation about eccentric kinds, as effectively as the likelihood to get absent from tech wherever doable. On the other hand, firms of all sizes observed new means to innovate, whether it was refining previous favourites, emphasising longevity in excess of disposability, or simply producing new types of surprise and delight. In no specific buy, the adhering to 10 tales are technologies editor Jonathan Bell’s favourite forays into the intersection of structure and the electronic planet, with a balanced dose of treatment, craft, and creative imagination thrown in. 

Leading 10 know-how stories of the calendar year

01. Transparent’s moveable Mild speaker gets the celebration glowing

The Light-weight speaker (photography courtesy of Transparent)

A moveable speaker and lamp in a single, the Light-weight speaker by Swedish technological innovation company Transparent attracts inspiration from the conventional lantern. Transparent might be compact but it has grand ambitions. Set up in 2011, the Stockholm-dependent manufacturer observed early fame with its signature Clear speaker, a placing piece of industrial style that lays its interior workings bare thanks to meticulous industrial design. Their new Gentle speaker pushes all our buttons. Writer: Jonathan Bell

02. Cosmo, the chopping-edge consider on the electrical guitar by Verso Instruments

The Cosmo As well as guitar (Photography courtesy of Verso Instruments) 

In the previous yr, we saw the electric powered guitar undertake one particular of its periodic revivals. Though the instrument is regularly prepared off as old and uncomfortable know-how, beloved by Boomers and irrelevant to present day mores, interest is normally sparked by revivals and returns, as effectively as a continuous stream of innovators who are ready to do new issues with six strings and a chunk of wooden. What not often improvements is the guitar’s variety element musical innovation does not necessarily need to have technological modify. This is where Verso Musical Instruments arrives in. Founded by the industrial designer Robin Stummvoll and based in Hessen, Germany, Verso Musical Devices builds electrical guitars with a change. Writer: Jonathan Bell

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

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

Swedish technology manufacturer Urbanista is trying to do something a little bit different. The company’s newest product or service is dubbed ‘Los Angeles’, an appropriately sunshine-drenched place for a pair of wi-fi headphones that can be charged utilizing the solar. We spoke to Anders Andreen, Urbanista’s founder and CEO, about this new tactic to power-conserving technological innovation and focus to element. ‘We make merchandise for fashionable urbanists,’ suggests Andreen. ‘Our brand name, items, and packaging have to all stand out, just like a fashion manufacturer. These headphones have to be some thing you want to have on.’ Writer: Jonathan Bell 

04. Digital supercars provide a new sort of driving expertise

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

Virtual supercars and the delights of sim racing signify you can check the restrictions of an Aston Martin Valkyrie or a Zagato, say, devoid of leaving the convenience of your gaming den. For all those with the area – be it in sitting down rooms, reports, garages, or even devoted gaming complexes – this new breed of electronic driving knowledge has been made in close collaboration with makers and designers. We located a fleet of digital supercars that are primed and completely ready to deal with the world’s trickiest circuits and most breathtaking streets from the consolation of dwelling. Author: Jonathan Bell 

05. Wallpaper* Wise Space Awards: finest new style and design and know-how for the property

Wallpaper* Smart Room Awards: the very best new style and engineering merchandise for the home (Images: Neil Godwin at Upcoming Studios)

In 2021 we unveiled the winners of our 1st-ever Wise Area Awards, a placing collection of the best new technology and style and design items for the residence. The panel of judges involved architect Tosin Oshinowo, of Nigerian follow CM Structure Atelier (aspect of our 2021 Architects’ Listing) artist, musician and designer Yuri Suzuki and Harrods’ retail manager Veronica Forin, collectively with Wallpaper*’s editor-in-main Sarah Douglas and transport & technologies editor Jonathan Bell. The five sifted by way of a significant pile of entries, hunting for objects that inspire, and engineering that is intended to very last. As constantly, the winners are incredibly Wallpaper*, a celebration of undeniable attractiveness, placing design and style and intuitive perform. Writer: Jonathan Bell 

06. Mod Devices’ open up-supply instrument pedals enjoy a unique tune

The MOD Dwarf (Pictures: Amos Fricke)

Berlin-dependent Mod Equipment produces a new era of multipurpose audio tools. The small corporation subscribes to the ethos that units must be open up to these with the time and capabilities to make a adjust. Mod builds effects processors for musicians of all stripes, with every single unit a building block for an unrestricted sonic globe. In layman’s terms, its digital bins sit involving instrument and amplifier, permitting gamers to layer unique consequences in infinite figures of techniques, as properly as generate their possess. Author: Jonathan Bell 

07. Minimalist speaker models blend audio with art

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

A new generation of audio design and style places overt know-how on the back again burner in favour of heat components, basic varieties and top versatility. We round up the finest approaches of bringing high-fidelity sound into your house with the ultimate levels of discretion and taste. From Bang & Olufsen to Bose, KEF, Braun and Seem-Aesthetics, these are speakers we’d be incredibly joyful to stay with. Writer: Jonathan Bell 

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

Fender Acoustasonic Jazzmaster (picture courtesy of Fender)

Fender’s Acoustasonic Jazzmaster is a hybrid layout with a constructed in ‘Acoustic Motor,’ a processor that transforms its clear but neutral tones into a range of various types of guitars. When it was released in 1959, Fender’s Jazzmaster was at first pitched at, unsurprisingly, jazz musicians. It quickly uncovered more favour as a twangy surf rock instrument just before going through a cult revival in the 1980s and 1990s. In Acoustasonic sort, it stays one particular of Fender’s most stylish styles, with a thin, speedy neck that suits any selection of actively playing kinds. Pair this instrument with a modern consequences processor, and you have a beautifully crafted all-rounder that flatters the daily player but seems very good enough to use professionally. Author: Jonathan Bell 

09. Syng is rethinking the art of speaker layout

Cell Alpha Speaker by Syng (picture courtesy of Syng)

Syng was started off by Christopher Stringer, a products designer with above 20 many years of expertise at Apple, where he worked on different iterations of the Apple iphone, iPad, MacBook, and Apple Observe. His co-founder, Damon Way, started skatewear professionals DC Shoes and was also a companion at add-ons specialist Incase. As Syng’s chief brand officer, he’ll set his substantial encounter with artist collaborations to use, when Stringer’s position as CEO and chief structure officer provides the new corporation a good grounding in design-driven merchandise, starting with the Cell Alpha Speaker. As perfectly as the solidity of the elements and enclosure, the Cell Alpha incorporates Syng’s ‘Triphonic’ sound, a way of mapping space to assist condition the audio, with the ‘Triphone’ 3-horned seem job at the centre of the item shaped applying 3D printing. Author: Jonathan Bell

10. Within Apple Park: first search at the style and design crew shaping the future of tech

Apple Park, Images: Jason Schmidt 

And ultimately, no apologies for mentioning one of our greatest tales of the yr, a world wide exclusive interview with the Apple Structure team. Led by Evans Hankey and Alan Dye, the Apple Design Team retains enormous sway above our evolving relationship with engineering. Opening the doors to their studio at Apple Park in Cupertino for the very first time, they presented us a deep dive into the performing procedures driving their most current creations. Author: Jonathan Bell 


Marcy Willis

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