This year, like every year, the industry saw a lot of products come to market. It easy to think of these products as representing incremental changes, or even as commodities, and often that’s the case. Good products are sometimes good simply because they bring small improvements or improved pricing.
However, all products—even the most seemingly incremental—got their start with an innovation, even if it was a century ago. This year we thought it would be interesting to pull together some of the innovations that came onto the scene in 2011. Some are the result of years of investment of R&D, others are just a neat or inspiring idea. We tried to demonstrate a range of innovations from cable management to complex signal management, acknowledging both mechanical innovations and electronic ones. Not all these innovations are equivalently important, and it’s impossible to include everything that deserved mention. But with homage and appreciation to all the bold engineering going on out there, here are 30 products that caught our editors’ imaginations this year.