Coolest inventions coming in 2012

These 5 creations look to be some of this year's most transformative tech products and services.

"White Spaces" Wi-Fi

Hidden between individual television channels is a small but valuable collection of airwaves that will allow for a kind of "super Wi-Fi" network.

The Federal Communications Commission recently opened up the spectrum that sits between television channels numbered 1 through 51. Wireless communications in those "white spaces" have been permitted since Jan. 26 in Wilmington, N.C., the FCC's designated testbed location. After the bugs are worked out, the spaces will be opened up nationally in the coming months.

The FCC designated the white spaces as "unlicensed" band, meaning anyone can broadcast in it for free. It's a primo band that sits lower than today's Wi-Fi, allowing signals to travel over significantly longer distances and through buildings and walls.

It'll take time for all the necessary infrastructure -- including new chipsets for smartphones and other devices -- to roll out, but FCC expects the expansion to lead to innovative new kinds of wireless networks, including connected highways, schools, parks and towns. Wireless carriers scrounging for more spectrum could also begin to broadcast Wi-Fi to customer-dense areas to reduce stress on their 3G and 4G networks. -David Goldman


@CNNMoneyTech - Last updated March 27 2012: 6:32 AM ET
Join the Conversation
Holy &%$! inventions

These innovative creations are rough drafts for technology that could be transformative when it's perfected.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.