CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

2016 Pro Tool Innovation Awards: The Winners Each year, Pro Tool Reviews reviewers and judges put their hands on hundreds of tools between reviews, shootouts, trade shows, and media events. 2016 has been a HUGE year for innovation with improvements to existing tools and the introduction of products we never would have dreamed of ten years ago. Choosing the winners for the 2016 Pro Tool Innovation Awards was more difficult this year than it ever has been thanks to some incredible innovation and competition within some game-changing categories.


Mark Ivachtchenko said...

I originally clicked this article because I wanted to look and see all the cool new tools I could change my arsenal with (even though there's no way I can afford any of them). As I looked through the categories, a lot of it was same-old, same-old (I also found it funny that they were reviewing what the best push broom is). However, there were two items that were so interesting, revolutionary, and amazing. The first one, which I've seen before but never knew the extent of, is the Milwaukee M18 Fuel. You can take this drill and connect it to your smart phone through Bluetooth. By doing this, you can COMPLETELY customize your drill to adequately fit your project and intended job. You can change speed, torque, etc. to multiple levels, probably even to exact decimal points. This is so insane to me coming from a world where drills only have speed "1" and speed "2." I do see potential problems, mainly your phone battery dying and there really is no true backup, but its a step into the future of tools.

Secondly, the NWi Cubit is something I've never seen before and it really caught my eye. While scrolling down a list of tape measures, ordinary measuring tools, squares, there's this little circle that looks like the newest apple product. In essence, it practically is. It's what a tape measure would look like if apple designed one. With this device, which you also connect to your phone, you can take measurements and save them. To the technological folks, this is probably pretty damn cool. Besides that, you can take these measurements and decide what to do with the data including equations, problem-solving, and you can even render a simple ground plan of what you just measured. This little device is awesome for advanced visualizations of what you're dealing with. It's an enormous step up from your pocket notepad that you cram with little, tiny texts of many measurements and even comes in the size and shape of your old tape measure so it physically feels like nothing has changed. Once again, a big flaw is: what happens if your phone dies? What now? In addition, I'm very into the traditional way of taking notes since it's what I, and probably many others, are used to but this is still a super cool gadget nonetheless; a gadget that's definitely worth a shot (with an extremely affordable price!).

All-in-all, technological advancements like this are huge. It's amazing to see how in a year, along with the usual things we are used to seeing, there are products like these that are developed. I am a strong believer that technology like this makes our work & lives easier and more precise and it's just another step in the process. Tools like these shouldn't be considered cheating--especially since others will disagree with me because they consider tools like this as "cheating," just like laser cutters aren't real woodwork. Whatever, it's still cool as hell. Can't wait to see what awesome things are going to be invented in the next few years, the next few decades, and in my lifetime!

Drew Himmelrich said...

I always get a little hope in my heart when I see the words “innovative” and “tool” used in the same article heading but usually have a little let down when I see all the innovation is stronger batteries or sharper blades. This is mostly the case for the winners in this years article, but there were definitely some cool innovative tools. I like the Hilti drywall screw attachment and especially the ryobi garage door opener! But there was also a lot of FlexVolt stuff which goes to my point that innovation has become straight improvement, not total innovation. Granted you can’t reinvent the saw blade every year but I was hoping to see some improvements beyond the standard amp hours upgrade, or thinner blade, or sharper drill bits. I was impressed by some of the cordless nailers and I always love simple new hand tools like the panel carrier, but when am I going to see something protable that chops 2x4 without any human factor?