The Indispensable Gadgets of the World's Smartest People

We ask our board of advisers to choose the technologies that they cannot live without
gadget,consumer electronics

Image courtesy of Cristian Baitg, via

Readers are bombarded with many "best-of" lists this time of year touting the latest and greatest in technology. Scientific American decided to broaden this idea a bit further, in search of a sampling of technologies that members of our advisory board—a group of highly accomplished scientists, engineers, educators and entrepreneurs—could not possibly live without. "Technology" was defined loosely—it could have been a high-tech personal gadget such as an iPhone or something as basic as a nail clipper. The answers [below] were at times surprising but always interesting.

Scientific American also threw the same question out to our readers. To see their responses check out Scientific American's Facebook page.

What technology do you find indispensable?

"My iPhone, my three Macs and my bike. All three embody the perfect fusion of form and function. You only get this rarely. The Le Corbusier chair, the Boeing 747, the Golden Gate Bridge, the iPhone and the Mac—these are some of the few human artifacts that embody this key principle of evolutionary design. And all three are essential to urban living in a high-tech world—to stay connected, to stay mobile and to work anywhere and anytime. Having three Macs is basic to my lifestyle—one iMac with the big integrated screen at work, a second one at home and an Air/laptop for travels."

Christof Koch
Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
Chief Scientific Officer
Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle


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