10 tech and business innovations from San Diego in 2022

Our minds were blown by these developments.

Nana Hats SDtoday

This invention is bananas.

Photo via @nana.hats

Talk about innovative. In 2022, San Diegans and local companies pushed boundaries in science, technology, and business with their incredible research, inventions, and developments.

These 10 achievements made headlines throughout the year and deserve a round of applause — even if you’re just discovering them now.

  • In November, local business owner Sean Adler appeared on “Shark Tank” (season 14, episode 6) and secured $1.5 million in funding from Peter Jones + Lori Greiner. His product is Nana Hats, a cute cap that sits on the stems of banana peels to keep them fresh for longer.
  • Carlsmed, a medical tech company from (you guessed it) Carlsbad, developed the Aprevo — a custom-made disc designed to replace one of the five vertebral discs in the lumbar region. The company uses medical imaging to get an exact fit that can help correct back conditions and relieve pain.
  • Fast Company gave praise to Blueview and its CEO Stephen Mayfield — a molecular biology professor at UC San Diego — for making fully compostable sneakers. The shoes use an algae-based foam that can fully biodegrade, even in the ocean.
  • Apple purchased its next gen campus for $445 million in Rancho Bernardo. By 2026, the tech giant aims to employ 5,000 people at its San Diego facility.
Milk banking at UC San Diego

UC San Diego researchers creating a milk bank.

Photo by Erik Jepsen + UC San Diego

  • UC San Diego opened the Human Milk Institute, the world’s first entity dedicated to the research and banking of human milk. The center will find uses for breast milk in clinical settings and aims to find global health solutions that have lifelong impacts.
  • The Coronado Public Library is checking out a new way to rent books with the app Bibliotheca. Instead of swiping their cards at the front desk, readers will scan the back cover of library books to gain access to a digital copy. The service currently works with 250,000+ titles.
  • Researchers at UC San Diego DigiHealth Lab designed an app that uses the Google Pixel 4’s front-facing infrared camera. This specific technology measures the eyeball’s pupillary responses, which are localized in the same parts of the brain as Alzheimer’s. So, the app can help detect the disease and other neurological conditions.
  • Local biotech startup Amplifica Holdings Group acquired $11.8 million in venture capital financing to further develop a molecule combination technology first researched at UC Irvine. The treatment focuses on regrowing dormant hair follicles and addressing androgenic alopecia — the condition associated with male pattern baldness.
  • Locally-founded brand Driftline creates boardshorts with wetsuit liners that protect against cold ocean water, but how did they fare against sharks? Co-founders Wes Horbatuck and Greg Orfe appeared on “Shark Tank” (season 13, episode 23), and despite multiple offers, they waved goodbye without taking a deal.
  • Engineers at UC San Diego developed the Smartfin to collect data from the ocean’s surf zone as surfers catch waves. The fin-shape device attaches to longboards and tracks metrics like water temperature and wave height. In the future, it may measure salinity + chlorophyll levels to study the shoreline’s impacts on biodiversity.
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