Photo by smeadli via Flickr Creative Commons
Tech and gadget news is always interesting, and every week has its next-big-thing announcements. But there were a few stories and trends that really stood out from the crowd during 2010. Yes, that includes the iPad -- but also a ton of other neat stuff. Check out some of the most popular news stories on TreeHugger from the past year.
Photo by bfishadow via Flickr Creative Commons
The iPad, Of Course
Possibly the biggest bit of techy news this year was the emergence of the iPad. The device is not just another gadget, though to many, it may seem like just a giant version of the iPhone, or an energy hog of an ereader. But rather, it is a device with the potential to change the way we interact with information, from reading news to studying in college courses.
The iPad does indeed have the potential to shift how our society interacts with technology, but whatever advancements it represents, it can still bring out the ape in us, as noted when a handful of teens decide it'd be more fun to smash it than use it productively.
In Other Tech News
The iPad wasn't the only amazing thing happening in technology this year. Right at the start of 2010, the YoGen made a name for itself at the Consumer Electronics Show, proving to be an incredibly popular pull-string charger for off-grid electricity.
A lot happened in solar power as well. Caltech created a solar cell made of 98% plastic that can capture 96% of incident light. Impressive! Meanwhile, IBM created solar cells out of earth abundant materials, making them even cheaper thanks to more plentiful ingredients.
And pushing the envelope even further, researchers figured out how a humble weed can revolutionize cheap solar cells.
Image via Yanko Design
Popular Concept & Prototype Ideas
Two stories of almost-tech were big hits with readers this year. The first is a concept device -- a shape-shifting battery that smooshes to fit sizes AA through D. Likely to come to market? No. Awesome minimalist idea anyway? Yes.
The second story is slightly more gruesome. Researchers have figured out a way to power the small devices we often use to keep our hearts ticking and our bodies kicking by using the body's own blood and fluids. The researchers created a prototype fuel cell powered by rat blood. Yup...gruesome, yet one day possibly live saving.
Seeing The World Differently
One of the beautiful things about technology is it helps us see the world in new ways. Especially when it comes to maps. Here are 22 incredible maps that helped us look at the world differently.
And of course seeing the world differently includes analyzing ourselves. Stephen Hawking made news when he warned that aliens are likely to be a whole lot like us, and therefore if we find one another, we should keep our distance from them. Talk about taking a critical look at our species!
Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch
In Low-Tech News
Our most popular stories also involved the low-tech side of life. Wildly popular was a post on how to de-gadget yourself and be a DIYer through 6 awesome moleskine hacks.
Taking DIY a leap beyond the trusty moleskine, a father and son duo filmed outer space, all with a backyard balloon and camera set-up.
In low-tech-improves-high-tech news, researchers discovered that the simple addition of some beautiful Mozart music can make microbes eat sewage faster. And a basic travel cookstove was redesigned to not only use half the usual amount of fuel, but also generate electricity from the fire's waste heat.
TreeHuger Gets Techy
And finally, TreeHugger made it's own little techy advancement this year. We created our own iPhone app! You can now get top stories and information right on your phone every day, listen to favorite podcasts, or even follow along on Twitter. Sweet.
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