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Finnish inventions recognised by TIME

Catchbox has developed what it calls the world's first throwable microphone.


A throwable microphone, an e-passport, an autonomous ferry and a fix-it-yourself phone are among the inventions of the year, according to TIME magazine.

TIME’s Best Inventions list for 2023 singled out 200 innovations from around the world, with a particular focus on AI, green energy and sustainability.

Catchbox’s wireless microphone system was listed in the Productivity category. The company touts its Catchbox Plus system as “the world’s first throwable microphone”, facilitating greater interplay between audience members and speakers at conferences, meetings and lectures. The microphone can be easily passed around a room in a manner that creates engaging experiences for participants.

“We observed that poor audio and bad user experience with audio products oftentimes leaves audiences uninspired and even causes fatigue, thus affecting the outcome of the discussion,” said Pyry Taanila, chief design officer at Catchbox.

“This acknowledgment underscores our dedication to enhancing human presence in discussions through intuitive audio,” he added.

Passengers using the e-passport have access to a dedicated border control line at Helsinki Airport.

Police of Finland

Also recognised by TIME was Finland’s digital-passport programme, which was rolled out at the start of September by the Police of Finland. Essentially a digital version of a conventional passport, the world-first digital credential seeks to make border controls smoother for passengers without compromising border security.

The service is currently available for Finnish citizens flying on the national carrier, Finnair, between Finland and London, Manchester or Edinburgh in the UK.

A small screwdriver and five minutes are all you need to replace a Nokia G22 screen, charging port or battery.

HMD Global

Having revived the Nokia phone brand back in 2016, Finnish company HMD Global was also acknowledged by TIME, thanks to the Nokia G22, which offers consumers the opportunity to carry out repairs themselves at home. The phone’s back cover is made from 100 per cent recycled plastic, and damaged displays and old batteries are easily replaced by the user.

“At a time when innovation is thriving, it means a lot to us to appear on this celebrated annual list,” said HMD’s CMO, Lars Silberbauer. “We want to make phone repairs affordable, simpler and beautifully designed for consumers.”

The final invention on the list recognised Callboats's AI-powered autonomous electric boat. A pilot project between the City of Helsinki and the local company has been testing the use of such on-demand ferries for transporting passengers across the archipelago of Helsinki.

These ferries travelled between the East Helsinki islands of Kotiluoto, North Villaluoto, and Malkasaari on a regular route throughout last summer. Passengers were able to summon the boats on-demand via a mobile app, similar to ride-hailing services such as Uber and Bolt.

“Autonomous on-demand boats would be a more agile, eco-friendly and cost-efficient way of transporting passengers to small islands, compared to ferry transport,” stated Pekka Koponen, senior specialist at Forum Virium, the City of Helsinki’s innovation company.

TIME’s annual list has been compiled for over two decades. Some previous Finnish inventions to be recognised include Oura’s smart ring, Solar Foods’ protein-from-air and Solar Water Solutions’ sustainable desalination innovation.

By: James O’Sullivan