From the rise of AI to the wacky gadgets, 2023 was an amazing year for tech geeks and tech fans.
From the AI-powered CEO that says she’s better than Musk to Dragon Ball-style spacecraft, these are the top 10 tech gizmos we weren’t expecting.
10. Space Balloons
Remember the space pods that Saiyan warriors used in Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT?
Well, they’re real now.
A tech start-up called Iwaya designed these helium-powered space pods.
Unveiled at this year’s Japan Mobility Show, these space pods are designed to take the everyday man to space.
They’re small but relatively comfortable, and more importantly – they’re capable of maintaining the same pressure and temperature throughout the journey in the stratosphere.
9. Subaru’s flying car
We’ve seen flying cars before but the Subaru Air Mobility stands out for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it’s made by Subaru, a ‘legacy’ auto brand, rather than a tech start-up most of us have never heard of.
Secondly, the shape is unique.
It’s halfway between a drone and a car, but it works more or less like an eVTOL.
This is just a prototype for now, but sooner or later this type of vehicle might hit our roads – or our skies.
8. A robotic ‘basketball player’ that never misses
Toyota woke up one day and thought: “What the world really needs is a robotic basketball player”.
So they built one.
It has a funny name, CUE3, and it set a Guinness World Record after 2020 (!) consecutive free throws.
7. The world’s most sophisticated bike
This is MOTOROiD2, and it is the world’s smartest motorcycle.
It recognizes its owner even before they’re anywhere near it.
As the owner approaches the motorcycle, it knows when to lift its kickstand and when it is being wheeled, rather than ridden.
6. Apple Vision Pro
No one was expecting Apple to launch a VR headset.
More to the point – no one was expecting Apple to launch a VR headset that costs the same as four iPhones.
The Vision Pro costs $3,499, which means it is seven times more expensive than its nearest rival, Meta’s Quest.
Last but certainly not least, people don’t know what to make of the fact that Apple CEO Tim Cook was never, not even once, seen or photographed wearing or using the headset.
5. Solana SAGA
The Solana Saga had such a weird trajectory, which is how it earned its place on the top 10 tech list.
Firstly, Solana Labs, the company behind the world’s fifth largest cryptocurrency, Solana (SOL), announced a new phone.
And everybody was like, “oh cool”.
Then they said it would include Web 3 apps and a crypto wallet, again everybody was like, “nice”.
The phone didn’t really do that well commercially, and the initial $1,000 price tag was very quickly reduced to $600 and then $500.
However, in recent weeks, people found out that with the purchase of a Solana Saga, the buyer would also receive a small amount of Bonk – a cryptocurrency that’s been skyrocketing as of late.
And so now the phone is sold out again, not because people want the phone, but because they want the crypto attached to it.
These are strange times.
4. AI Pin
This year, we were treated to yet another AI-powered tool that could potentially replace phones in the future.
It’s called the AI Pin, it costs $699, and it essentially relays information you’d normally get on your smartphone screen.. on the palm of your hand.
The AI Pin looks remarkably similar to the communication devices used in the Prime Video series Upload.
Maybe this is just a coincidence.
3. The AI influencer
Her name is Lili Miquela, she’s got close to 3 million followers on Instagram, and an eight-figure net worth.
So far, so normal.
Except Lili doesn’t actually exist – she’s an AI product.
Lili makes more money than most ‘humans’, with a reported fee of $10,000 per Instagram post.
2. The Cybertruck
A controversial addition to the top 10 tech list, but there are two reasons why the Cybertruck deserves to be here.
Firstly, yes, it is a truck, but it is also a piece of tech.
For example, Tesla had to develop a special type of stainless steel for the body.
But most of all, it deserves a spot on the list because it did catch everybody by surprise.
As in, when the year started, we’d sort of given up and figured the Cybertruck was just vaporware.
And when Musk said, “we’ll deliver it this year”, we all thought, “yeah right”.
But the Cybertruck is here at last.
1. AI-powered CEO
Meet Mika, the world’s first AI-powered CEO.
‘She’ (or it?) works for a drinks company and deserves the number one spot on the list.
Mika also has opinions.
For example, she believes she’s the perfect worker because she never asks for a raise.
She also claims to be a better CEO than both Musk and Zuckerberg because she, unlike them, doesn’t “waste time” talking about a fight that’s never going to happen.
Honorable mention – The Invisibility Cloak.