Every year, TIME highlights inventions that are making the world better, smarter and even a bit more fun.
To assemble our 2021 list, we solicited nominations from TIME’s editors and correspondents around the world, as well as through an online application process. We then evaluated each contender on a number of key factors, including originality, creativity, efficacy, ambition and impact.
The result is a list that includes an innovative, eco-friendly dye for jeans, a truly novel pasta shape, groundbreaking vaccines for COVID-19 and malaria–and much more.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARGEAUX WALTER FOR TIME
With reporting by Eloise Barry, Leslie Dickstein, Mariah Espada, Alejandro de la Garza, Nik Popli, Simmone Shah and Julia Zorthian