Amidst election-mania, this week’s special double issue of Time includes the magazine’s list of the year’s 50 best innovations. Invention of the Year honors go to the retail DNA spit test championed by Google-funded 23andMe, but the list also recognizes some significant achievements in automotive design, architecture, and graphic design. Four cars made the cut: the Tesla Roadster (#2 on the list), the Chevy Volt (#7, pictured at left), the Aptera Electric Car (#46), and the Peraves MonoTracer (#41), a Swiss-engineered vehicle that looks like a cross between a Vespa and a SmartCar. Architecturally, the magazine spotlights David Fisher‘s wind-powered rotating tower in Dubai (expected completion: 2010) as well as the glass and steel triangle dreamed up by Herzog and de Meuron as a Parisian anti-skyscraper. Branding and identity design breaks into the tech-heavy mix with entry #22: “the branded candidate”:
Barack Obama hat: $15. Barack Obama special-edition Beyonce t-shirt: $60. Devising a system to make and sell your own swag and garner millions in profits, not to mention the phone numbers and addresses of hundreds of thousands of potential volunteers? Priceless.
Coming in at #34 is Dutch designer Agata Jaworska‘s “Made-in-Transit” concept packaging, in which food can continue to grow and ripen while being shipped to supermarkets so that it arrives at its peak freshness. Speaking of perfect timing, English inventor John Taylor‘s handless, numberless Corpus Clock (pictured at right) makes the list at #48. Unveiled by Stephen Hawking, the clock “is designed to express time’s irrevocability,” notes Time. “It is surmounted by an escapement in the form of a monstrous grasshopper that devours each second as it passes.”