Popular Mechanic's Breakthrough Awards focuses on the technology and innovations that push the boundaries of design and innovation. The project finds innovators and students who have helped make the world a better place and congratulates them.
Among that list for 2016 was Microsoft's HoloLens. The Augmented Reality device was praised primarily for its application in learning, able to take complex problems and break them down into visual elements.
Home Improvement Using HoloLens
Editor Roy Berendsohn sees a lot of potential in the headset:
“I can tell you that this new HoloLens from Microsoft fills in the crucial missing links that occur when you're trying to explain something complicated to somebody, he says. “The HoloLens is the next best thing to an expert guiding you through. As the teacher, you can see what your pupil is doing. You can draw imaginary circles in the air around the wire he is supposed to choose—and he can see it!”
He envisions a world where you can call a mechanic and have them guide you through tasks with varying degrees of complexity, and believes this feature is among the most exciting.
Other Award Winners
HoloLens stood among some huge innovations this year. One of these was the Esko GT exoskeleton, which focuses on the world beyond the military.
Rather than helping create new injuries, the GT helps those who have already sustained them. Specifically, it will help stroke victims to walk again.
The suit was the first to get FDA approval for stroke victims, and will mean therapists can treat twenty times more patients.
Another Breakthrough Award winner was one of Microsoft's greatest competitors: Google. Popular Mechanics praised their SyntaxNet software, which breaks down sentences into a format computers can analyze.
The software diagrams sentences, working out the context behind them. Google named the English version of the plugin Parsey McParseface, and despite its humorous name, it's no joke. It can read at 94% accuracy, and continually learns from its mistakes.
You can read the full list of award winners on the Popular Mechanics website.