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TODAY   |  October 15, 2013

Robot fingertips and more cutting-edge innovations

Jim Meigs, editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics, shares their winners of the magazine’s ninth annual Breakthrough Awards, which include virtual reality goggles, smart watches and robotic fingertips.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the november issue. jim is the editor. nice to see you.

>> nice to be here.

>> you're seeing the innovation.

>> so many of them came from big global companies and we're seeing small start ups coming up with brilliant technology.

>> we have a lot to cover. let's get right to it. talk to me about the watch you're wearing.

>> this is the pebble watch. it's a better way to control everything that goes on on your phone. if you get a text or if somebody calls you when you're in a meeting, you don't have to take it out of your pocket. you can control music. so, you know, normally you'd have your head phones on.

>> that's unbelievable and this is inexpensive.

>> only about $150.

>> you hear about google glass, this is similar but less expensive.

>> wearable technology is one of the big things .

>> this is called the oculis rift and we're talking about virtual reality .

>> these are the first virtual reality goggles.

>> i don't need them.

>> you put these on, you're immersed in this world. this snowy world.

>> wow.

>> it's snowing.

>> you can look in every direction.

>> in the plaza.

>> this is going to be great for gamers, people that love video games . what are some of the other practical applications?

>> so some of the things you can see is right now it's really aimed for gaming but in the future it could show you what it's like to walk around on mars and even has applications in health and psychology.

>> i love that. that's fantastic. let's move on here and introduce me to this young man here.

>> he is modeling, basically, it's a fingertip for computers and robots. computers have been able to hear and see but not touch. so you can see how he can grasp something delicate like a plastic cup . in the past, that wouldn't be possible. this little fingertip actually senses the gripping and even the temperature and texture of objects and this opens up a whole new world for robotics.

>> is this technology ready now?

>> they're looking in a lot of fields to find applications for this.

>> look how sensitive. you can do even an egg. that's incredible. thank you very much. we appreciate it. coming back here, this is like your entire arm becomes almost like a computer mouse .

>> exactly. this is the myo and what it does, it goes on your wrist and as you can see, he done have to touch the keyboard. what this shows is we're moving toward a future where you wear a lot of technology. you interact with computers without touching keyboards and touch screens .

>> is this here now?

>> yes it is.

>> so this is ready.

>> thank you so much. appreciate it.

>> all right. have willie over here. a little fact, willie used to be a landscaper. so the development of this next product is right up your alley.

>> three summers. i have been driving it around. it's so quite. i can't get over how quite it is.

>> it's the tesla of riding mowers.

>> cub cadet zero and it's all electric, charges overnight. no emissions, no fuel. environmentally friendly future for lawn mowers .

>> does it do a good job cutting the grass?

>> absolutely. it can cut about an acre on a charge.

>> so it's early in the morning and you don't disturb the neighbors anymore. that's fantastic. well done.

>> a plus.

>> just be careful because we have something coming at you here.

>> this is boosted board. they turned the skateboard into a green form of transportation. it's an electric skateboard and it can go up to about 20 miles per hour and it's good for commuting to cities like new york and san francisco with a lot of bike paths and we love the way this takes different technologies and puts them together. he has a wireless controller in his hand.

>> right.

>> and wouldn't have any fears about this in a place like new york city .

>> be careful.

>> it's like a bike. you have to be careful but you can carey this into your office. you can carey it on a subway. it has a lot of practical applications that other forms don't.

>> popular mechanics magazine. things we'll be seeing changing our lives and our world very soon. jim, thank you very much.