The 9th Annual Crunchies are fast approaching, with the event best described as the Oscars of Startup and Technology taking place on February 8 at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House. Some of your favorite startups, entrepreneurs and investors will be competing to win a coveted Crunchie award in one of 12 categories up for grabs.
The Best Technology Achievement Crunchie goes to the products that reflect true excellence in their fields, products that made waves in the tech landscape in 2015. There are several great products up for the award this year, so let’s take a look at this year’s finalists, as well as those companies that have won the award in previous years.
The 2015 Nominees
Apple’s 3D Touch
With the launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Apple fundamentally changed the way we interact with our iPhones with 3D touch. The iPhone’s screen now recognizes how much pressure you apply to your phone, and lets you essentially preview and act on things like emails, photos, addresses and more without ever leaving the app you’re using. For example, when in Mail, you can lightly press and hold to preview an email, then either let go to return to your inbox or press a little harder to open it.
If there’s one product that is ushering us into our Minority Report-like future, it’s Microsoft’s HoloLens, the company’s “holographic” computing wearable headset. HoloLens users use gestures to interact with a 3D virtual world, letting them work and play in multiple dimensions. Basically, it’s a computer that you attach to your face that overlays images and objects in your living room.
SpaceX Falcon 9
Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX to transport satellites and the company’s Dragon spacecraft into orbit. The Falcon 9’s first stage rocket is designed to be reusable, and in December, the Falcon 9 achieved a huge milestone by successfully launching and landing the rocket on land for the first time.
Tesla Over-The-Air Autopilot
Back in October, Tesla rolled out an over-the-air update for the company’s fleet that brought a desired new feature to the company’s vehicles: autopilot. Tesla’s vehicles can now change lanes, keep a safe distance from other vehicles and maintain your speed. You can see our hands-on (or hands-off?) with Tesla auto-pilot here.
Transatomic Power is a company that’s looking to bring nuclear power back, but in a much safer way. The company is currently working to develop a waste-annihilating molten salt reactor, a reactor that converts high-level nuclear waste into clean, carbon-free electric power that eliminates the awful waste generated by most nuclear reactors.
Earthmine – 1st Annual Crunchies Winner
Earthmine was a company that used vehicle-mounted camera systems to capture 3D, spherical street-level images similar to Google Earth and Google Street View. The service was acquired by Nokia on November 2012.
Windows Live Mesh – 2nd Annual Crunchies Winner
Windows Live Mesh was an early cloud storage service from Microsoft that let users sync files, folders and other things across multiple PCs and in the cloud. It was, in essence, a precursor to what SkyDrive is today, and the company shut down Live Mesh in 2013.
Chrome OS – 3rd Annual Crunchies Winner
Unlike the first two winners, Google’s Chrome OS is still around, and Google says it’s alternative desktop and laptop operating system is here to stay. The operating system is basically a spiffed up version of the Chrome browser, but also runs several apps from the Chrome Web Store, as well as a smattering of Android apps.
Google Self Driving Cars – 4th Annual Crunchies Winner
Google wowed the world with its secret fleet of automated Toyota Priuses in 2010. The company’s self-driving vehicles may look a lot different now, and it definitely drives like your grandparents, but the company is aggressively moving self-driving car technology forward so that your next vehicle might actually drive itself.
Siri – 5th Annual Crunchies Winner
Apple’s Siri digital assistant needs no introduction — chances are you’ve either used Siri at some point today or have been around someone who for some reason decided to use Siri with the volume cranked way up. iPhone users can use Siri to do all sorts of things like making dinner reservations, finding out what movies are playing, and even controlling your HomeKit-enabled accessories.
Mars Curiosity Rover – 6th Annual Crunchies Winner
NASA’s Curiosity rover is a roughly car-sized robotic rover exploring the Red Planet of Mars, looking at things like the Martian climate and geology, determining if the planet was ever able to sustain life, and figuring out whether the planet is habitable for future human exploration. You can follow the Curiosity rover on Twitter, if you’re so inclined.
Bitcoin – 7th Annual Crunchies Winner
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer digital open-source payment system that is officially categorized as a decentralized virtual currency by the U.S. Treasury. The currency has been doing pretty well of late, now hovering above the $400 mark for the first time since 2014.
Stella Solar Powered Car – 8th Annual Crunchies Winner
Stella is a four-seater, solar-powered vehicle that, unlike most solar vehicles out there, is designed to be a normal family car. It took first place at the World Solar Challenge in 2013, and it can run for 500 miles on a single charge from the large solar panel on the top of the vehicle.
Which of the projects up for the Best Technology Achievement award will join the prestigious class of past winners? The winner will be announced at the 9th Annual Crunchies on February 8, and if you somehow don’t have your tickets yet, they are still available on our ticketing page for as low as $115.
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