Every year at this time it seems natural to turn our attention towards ideas and innovations which promise that the next 12 months could be better than the last 12.

Perhaps this is why newspapers like to stare into crystal balls about now to see what might lie ahead, and why the biggest event of its kind - the annual Consumer Electronics Show in glitzy Las Vegas - generates excitable headlines.

Fourteen clever New Zealand innovators displayed their whizbang technology at the Nevada gathering, all hoping to attract capital to push their smart ideas beyond the drawing board. As its name suggests, the US gathering leans towards cutting-edge technology.

The New Zealand wares competing for attention confirm that technology developers here can foot it with the best. One Kiwi company displayed what it says is the world's first interactive hologram. Another promoted wearable therapy devices designed to help athletes recover faster, perform better and move more comfortably.


There was a solution to the irritating noise generated by drones - how very 21st century - and a hands-free underwater camera called Boxfish, which claims to be one of the most manoeuvrable in the submersible market.

And as we report elsewhere today, there are innovations which could improve the lives of communities, and not just consumers. Fabric fences strung in high, fog-shrouded mountains could for a modest cost bring precious, reliable supplies of water to parched villages. A floating dairy farm in Rotterdam offers a solution to land shortages. Nanotechnology lies behind innovative treatment for eye diseases and smart kites tethered to long cables turn Scotland's chilly winds into sustainable energy.

These are brilliant ideas which may soon take shape. Perhaps 2017 may not be so bad after all.