Best of What’s New 2023: Rules and Entry Details
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About & Press
Best of What’s New is Popular Science’s longest-running editorial franchise and one of its most popular features, as well as a longtime media favorite. Best of What’s New winners have been featured in local and national media interviews, generating millions of media impressions. Popular Science editors have promoted Best of What’s New through appearances on NBC’s Today, CBS’s Early Show, Cheddar, CNN, Fox News Channel, National Public Radio, WCBS, WABC, and Good Day New York. Best of What’s New winners have leveraged their awards to generate coverage in some of the nation’s top newspapers, including The New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and more.
Anything that flies or pertains to flight, including commercial, private and military aircraft, avionics, spacecraft, balloons, rockets and propulsion systems. Space-exploration devices (eg: telescopes and satellites) are also considered Aerospace.
Conveyances—cars, trucks, and motorcycles, both electric and combustion powered—and the technologies that run those conveyances (propulsion, transmission, braking, steering, suspension, telematics, in-car entertainment systems, seating, tires and lighting).
Products that promote safety and/or prevent theft, injury and crime; or innovations that are important in a military context. This includes military and law-enforcement technology, home security and safety products, and surveillance devices.
Equipment or structures that require the specialized knowledge of an engineer or architect. This includes mass-transit systems, buildings, ships, amusement-park rides, submersibles, airports, tunnels, bridges, dams and power plants.
Devices intended for enjoyment and/or media consumption by either an individual or a group. This includes home audio-video gear, such as HDTVs and stereo equipment, portable entertainment devices, such as media players and headphones, and video games and gaming hardware. Advances in movies, theaters, arcades and other public activities are also considered Entertainment.
Portable electronic devices, including cell- and smartphones, point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras, tablets, Bluetooth headsets and other electronic accessories. Items purpose-built for leisure, such as dedicated media players, belong in the Entertainment category.
Medical treatments and devices available to the public directly or through treatment centers. This includes over-the-counter and prescription medications, home medical equipment, surgical devices and internal imaging systems.
All products and materials used in home and landscape construction, maintenance and remodeling. This includes hand and power tools, appliances, home-automation systems, building materials, lighting, and cooking and cleaning products.
Treatments, products, and devices available directly to the public that support wellness, personal appearance, and mental wellbeing—as opposed to treating health conditions. This can include makeup, skin treatments, sleep aids, (some) fitness trackers, haircare, apparel, and wellness/time management apps.
Any gear related to sports, fitness, games and hobbies. This includes outdoor and camping equipment, recreational vehicles (bicycles, ATVs, scooters), sporting goods, apparel, and musical instruments.
Items that don’t fit into any of the other categories but can still be considered products (as opposed to processes, techniques or ideas). While the final BOWN list does not include this category, companies and others are welcome to submit their innovations here for consideration.
Judging Criteria & Process
The Best of What’s New judging process is overseen by Popular Science Technology Editor Rob Verger. For each product category, an editor from Popular Science will lead a panel of judges—veteran contributors who are experts in these fields.
We will consider every product entered, although judges may also consider products that have not been formally entered. The judges will winnow the entries to produce a list of winners for each category. From these lists, we will choose one Grand Award winner per category. The total number of winners in each category is flexible and based on merit. Judging is final and confidential. There is no connection between advertising in the magazine and winning these awards.
The judging criteria include: the significance of the innovation, the quality of the design and the finished product, the originality of the product, and the ambition and scope of the project. These criteria will vary in accordance with the category—depending on whether the entry is, for example, a device or a bridge. The judges may request a test unit or demonstration of any entry—especially consumer products—and products that cannot be demonstrated may be disqualified without reimbursement of the entry fee. Complete entry forms are important in helping judges understand the strategy and intent behind the development of a product or technology. We will evaluate your entry initially based on the information provided in the entry form and on any associated website listed in the entry.
If we feel the product has potential at that point, we will contact you for additional reporting and product samples. Popular Science will announce the winners on PopSci.com in late November. Winners will be required to sign a non-disclosure form; please see section 8 of the Rules section below for further information.
Popular Science is part of Recurrent Ventures (701 Brickell Ave, 10th Floor Miami, FL 33131).
1. CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND TECHNOLOGIES
The product or technology must be on sale or have been announced with a firm on-sale date, and that announcement or introduction must fall between October 1, 2022, and October 15, 2023, to qualify for the 2023 awards. The product or technology must exist and must be demonstrable and testable. Products need not be sold in the U.S. A product can be submitted for an underlying technology, such as an innovative suspension system in a car or a new image sensor in a digital camera.
2. INDUSTRIAL OR INSTITUTIONAL PRODUCTS AND TECHNOLOGIES
In the case of technologies not sold directly to the public—such as x-ray imaging technology, commercial airline engines or commercial satellites—the same criteria apply: It must have been put into use or announced with a firm release date falling between October 1, 2022, and October 15, 2023.
3. GOVERNMENT AGENCY, UNIVERSITY OR INFRASTRUCTURE TECHNOLOGIES
Best of What’s New awards have been given to maglev trains, bridges, buildings, experimental spacecraft, anti-missile technologies and the like. These technologies must debut, their construction must begin, or the result of successful early-phase testing must occur or be announced between October 1, 2022, and October 15, 2023.
Open only to legal residents and companies of the contiguous forty-eight (48) United States and the District of Columbia, excluding Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Vermont, North Dakota, and Tennessee. Also void in Puerto Rico and all U.S. territories and possessions and all overseas military installations.
5. ENTRY FEE
YOU MUST PAY $300 (PRIOR TO AUGUST 15) OR $350 (PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 29) TO COMPETE FOR SUBMITTED BEST OF WHAT’S NEW ENTRIES. A product or technology should be entered by filling out the entry form on this website and submitting with an administrative fee. The fee is $300 per product entered before midnight (EST) on the early-bird entry deadline of August 15, 2023, and $350 per product entered before midnight (EST) on the final entry deadline of September 29, 2023. You may enter as many products as you like. There are no refunds, so please read the rules carefully before submitting.
6. ENTRY FORM
The entry form asks you to write a brief description of what is innovative about your product and why you believe it deserves a Best of What’s New award. (You may also include links to other relevant materials.) The information you provide is very important. We use it to narrow down the list of candidates, and we will contact you in person ONLY if we find your entry promising. Please see the section “Judging Criteria & Process” section above for more details.
7. PRODUCT SUBMISSION
In the case of products that can be experienced by the judges, such as cameras, cars, or other consumer products, please supply information about how we can obtain the product for testing. Please DO NOT send sample products unsolicited. We will evaluate your entry and contact you if we are interested in a review sample. If you have photos or video, please point us to a website where we may view them; do not e-mail them unsolicited.
Final award decisions are made by October 25, 2023, and winners will be officially notified by November 15, 2023. (We require that all winners sign a non-disclosure agreement not to reveal this information until the official on-sale date of the issue.) We will also contact non-winners at a later date. Due to the volume of entries, we ask that you do not contact us to check on your status.
Best of What’s New winners will be featured on popsci.com, promoted through social channels, and shared on syndication platforms; the estimated value of those placements is $15,000 or more.
Click here to access the entry form.
Best of What’s New Coordinator | Popular Science | firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Verger | Technology Editor | Popular Science | email@example.com
If you are having problems submitting an online entry and require technical assistance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find the most recent winners?
In addition to the big list of all the winners, do you also publish each section as an individual story?
How long has Popular Science been publishing its Best of What’s New awards?
PopSci has published the awards annually since 1988.
Does a company need to officially enter a product for it to be considered?
No. The editors, researchers, and judges on staff at Popular Science do their own research to independently discover and evaluate products and other innovations for Best of What’s New consideration. Officially submitting ensures that PopSci editors and judges will consider your entry.
When will the awards be published in 2023?
The main list of awards will be published on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.
How many winners will there be?
New in 2023, the list will highlight 50 winners in total across 10 categories. Each category will have an average of five winners in it.