Best of CH 2022: Cars + Tech

Milestone developments in automotive, sound, invisibility and beyond

With another year of technological and automotive innovation behind us, we’ve grown closer to recyclable cars, far-reaching exploration of the cosmos and even an invisibility cloak. Along with time behind the wheels of game-changing vehicles and moments testing future-forward devices, 2022 saw technologies emerge to make the world safer and more empathetic. The following highlights only scratch the surface of what happened around the world and what we covered in 2022, but they give ample reason to be excited about what may emerge next year.

Courtesy of Apple

Apple’s Alan Dye and Craig Federighi on Dynamic Island

Looking at Apple’s new iPhone 14 generation of devices side by side with the iPhones 12 and 13, snap critics will say there’s not much new about them. While the form factor is essentially the same, there are some serious innovations impossible to miss once you look under the hood. Among the new features, Dynamic Island—an upgrade of the previous phones’ “notch”—is the magic we count on from Apple. We’ve been testing the iPhone 14 Pro models for a couple weeks now and are enamored with this feature. The upgraded camera system, alway-on lock screen, updated material treatments and new emergency features round out the reasons why the 14 Pro is a significant upgrade… Read more.

Courtesy of Humane and Ryan Staake

A First Glimpse at What Tech Company Humane is Developing

Founded by Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, two pioneering former Apple employees, Humane has been an innovation initiative in development for several years now. Though the organization has garnered attention for its top talent (Chaudhri invented the user interface on the iPhone and holds thousands of patents, while Bongiorno was responsible for iOS and macOS software project management and held a crucial role in milestone projects like the launch of the original iPad), little has been revealed about what technologies they’re attempting to advance or what product they intend to release. That is, until today, thanks to a powerful, poetic teaser trailer directed by Ryan StaakeRead more.

Courtesy of Pro-Ject

Pro-Ject’s E1 BT Turntable Makes Vinyl More Approachable

There’s a commonly held belief that vinyl fans favor mystique over clarity, but Pro-Ject’s new entry-level turntable, the E1 BT, rebukes that—and will ultimately appeal to enthusiasts and those just starting their record collection. Pro-Ject, an Austrian company founded in 1991 that makes some very high-end audio products, will tell you that the E1 BT is for the toe-in-the-water crowd precisely because it’s not priced at a tier that feels like a big commitment—the E1 BT costs around $499. Also, it’s already unorthodox; the “BT” stands for Bluetooth, enabling users to throw in a pair of wireless earbuds or pair their turntable directly to a Bluetooth speaker… Read more.

Courtesy of Hyundai

Designing the Retrofuturistic 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6

“I’m excited and nervous,” says SangYup Lee, Hyundai’s design chief and a star within the auto design world. “It’s been three years of hard work.” This is just before the silk slips off of his latest creation: the culmination of a thousand days of countless micro-decisions, renderings, adjustments, collaboration, effort and toil, all tucked under a veil in London’s Shoreditch Studios. The Ioniq 6 arrives on the heels of the Ioniq 5, which won the World Car of the Year for design, as well as overall World Car of the Year for 2022… Read more.

Courtesy of Royal Enfield

Designing The Royal Enfield Scram 411

Royal Enfield, a 121-year-old company with roots in England, has been making bikes in India since the 1960s, and the past five years—with managing director Siddhartha Lal at the helm—has seen the company’s sales skyrocket. Most of that success has been within India, but North America is now the company’s biggest export market and, as such, the brand is focusing more on designs that will appeal to a customer who wants a motorcycle for leisure rather than for commuting… Read more.

by Steve Benisty, courtesy of Lexus

Miami Art Week 2022: Suchi Reddy’s Ethereal “Shaped by Air” Collaboration With Lexus

Mist, leaves, sunlight and shadows all play intrinsic roles in artist and architect Suchi Reddy’s latest work, unveiled today at ICA Miami. While they might not be elements often conjured up when thinking about cars, the project is a collaboration between Reddy (along with her NYC-based studio Reddymade Architecture and Design) and Japanese carmaker Lexus. Informed by movement and emotion, the immersive work—called “Shaped by Air”—is one that Reddy hopes will evoke a reminder of just how enmeshed we are with our environment. “We are one and the same,” Reddy says… Read more.

Courtesy of Vollebak/Sun Lee

Vollebak’s Thermal Camouflage Jacket Proves the Viability of an Invisibility Cloak

From launching the world’s first solar jacket that can store and re-emit light to creating the first jacket made from the aerospace material graphene, Vollebak revolutionizes clothing through science and technology. Today, they set a new precedent once again as the creators of the world’s first Thermal Camouflage Jacket, a computer-programmable piece of outerwear designed to make the body disappear in front of infrared cameras. While the development is still a prototype, the jacket lays the foundation for and proves the viability of an invisibility cloak…read more.

Courtesy of General Motors/Lockheed

Behind The Scenes of General Motors and Lockheed Martin’s Lunar Rover

General Motors designed the original lunar rover that was used during the Apollo space program of the early ’70s in partnership with Boeing. Now the Detroit-based carmaker hopes to return to the moon with a new rover—or Lunar Mobility Vehicle (LMV)—created in partnership with Lockheed Martin. Together, the two companies have designed a prototype in response to NASA’s call out for an LMV for the upcoming Artemis mission… Read more.

Courtesy of Citroën

Citroën’s Electric Car Made from Recycled Cardboard

Pure, purposeful and defined by extreme horizontal and vertical lines, Citroën’s new electric vehicle concept car, Oli, is a future-forward family vehicle built for a world with scarce resources. Eschewing metal and steel, Oli’s roof and hood, co-created with BASF, are made from recycled corrugated cardboard that forms a honeycomb structure sandwiched between fiberglass panels. Other elements—including recycled bumpers, textiles and plastic that acts as durable protection—are also radically sustainable, fusing innovative design with a true commitment to the future… Read more.

Courtesy of Ryan Lash / TED

TED’s Microphone Headset by Sennheiser

In August 2021 at TEDMonterey, the inspirational idea-powered organization introduced a brand new headset microphone developed with high-end German audio brand Sennheiser. This week, these discreet but powerful devices make their Vancouver debut, finding a place on the faces of this year’s diverse roster of speakers. This aesthetic and auditory upgrade directly corresponded to a dislike of previous iterations—notably, by Chris Anderson (the Head of TED) and Mina Sabet (TED’s director of production and video operations) who sought something betterRead more.

Hero image courtesy of General Motors/Lockheed