Great Things to Come for 2016
Tech Trends to Watch For
Last year, I made a couple of predictions for technology that I hoped were going to rule 2015. I was kind of on track, but kind of not – and this year, I want to improve my track record. While keeping it short and sweet, I want to pick out my favorite upcoming technology and watch it bloom into nation-sweeping trends – like the hoverboard, except useful, cool, and not explode-y.
So what should we be looking forwards to besides ‘really cool technology’? Instead of speaking in broad terms, this year I am honing in on three specific areas:
- Virtual Reality
- Augmented Reality
I’ll be offering one ‘trend setting’ product from each category – along with the reasons why these categories, and products, are the cat’s pyjamas!
Virtual Reality for All
This is not a surprise subject – nearly every tech review, magazine, newspaper, article, or blog post is ranting and raving about this product of the future. But when I say ‘Virtual Reality’, do you think of the Oculus Rift or the Google Cardboard? They don’t go far enough, in my opinion. Are you waiting with bated breath for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony PlayStation VR? Come on, what else have YOU got?
Welcome to the VOID – the Vision Of Infinite Dimensions. Combine VR wetware with laser-tag like environments, custom encounters, adventures and programming – and you get a real life virtual reality adventure that surpasses anything we’ve seen so far. Until we get Star Trek Holodecks to immerse ourselves in, we’ll have to settle for this really great company in Utah who is turning the individual gaming industry on its’ head. Stars, geeks, industry gurus and the like have already tried out the Beta trials – and their reviews are beyond stellar.
While the facility itself won’t open for mainstream use until the third quarter of 2016, the scheduled Beta tests have filled up faster than they can advertise them; odds are that this company will be taking off in a big way – and fast! What this means is that we might expect a ‘local’ VOID theater in our own area within a couple of years, putting the ‘ultimate’ in virtual reality in the grasp of individuals who may not be able to afford their own rig, but can afford to borrow the pinnacle experience for a sliver of the price.
On a side-note – I do want to give the Google Cardboard a tip-of-the-hat honorable mention. As far as an early tech that will empower future advances, they definitely get tons of kudos. As a matter of fact, between their structure, appearance, and open forum for creators and participants, I am powerfully reminded of the stereoscope – a device that led to the advent of moving film, cinema, and eventually the View-Master. Way to put yourself on the stepping stool of future development, Google!
When I say ‘augmented reality’, I really am referring to technologies that will improve or assist with day to day living. Technically speaking, there are a lot of coming toys, tools, and systems that will include or be AR forwards-compatible; but the focus I am looking towards is implementing something small, yet revolutionary. Teachers have been utilizing Augmented Reality in their classrooms for some time now – combining their current surroundings, field trips, or even homework or slide shows with fascinating facts, historical reference, and statistical data. This lets them bring media, fun, and learning into a single cumulative experience.
How can be we bring this to bear for adults in a non-learning environment? (Augmented Reality combined with a portable smart device can make lots of experiences amazing.) Better yet – how can we use it to save lives? Say hello to Skully’s AR-1 motorcycle helmet. While the website features an attractive and enticing female demo-ing the product, the best thing about the helmet is its’ statistics: weight-balanced video and display equipment with a rechargeable power source, 180 degree rearview camera, and an app that will integrate your speedometer and GPS into your helmet display as well. Could it save your life? Absolutely. Is it functional, and part of standard equipment for a motorcycle rider – yes. Without altering your motorcycle ride or implementing anything more than a helmet and a phone, you can enjoy an infinite display which won’t force your eyes to refocus and yet provide you with a glimpse of everything from your peripherals backward. The specially tinted visor can become smoked in high daylight conditions, and go transparent for regular travels. If you have a passenger behind you, you’ll get an honest assessment of how they are doing by catching glimpses of their facial expressions – did that turn scare them, or (like me) are they falling asleep on you?
Welcome to the future of motorcycle riding.
… Our technology fundamentally enhances human capability …
– Skully CEO, Marcus Weller
Wearables is a huge category – anything could be a wearable, from your bluetooth headset to your hands free devices and even your watch. I’m fairly certain that there are blueprints to manufacture everything ‘wearable’, from socks to headbands. But – what does this mean for the consumer? What can we do with these ‘wearables’? What good are they – besides collecting a bunch of bizarre data about our pulse, blood pressure, and footsteps? (Can I be honest – having a naggy device tell me I need to exercise more is totally not my idea of a good time.)
So what is my idea of a good time, or of a good wearable? How about this – a technology that will let me do what I want with it, instead of telling me what I want or what it thinks I want. Some of the features I could personally really use change on a daily basis – depending on where I’m going and what I’m doing. My personal pick for the ultimate in personal ‘wearable’ technology MIGHT be a link-able smartwatch – but personally I feel like all wearable technology right now is pretty hit or miss.
Imagine my joy when I discovered I could have a smartwatch custom built to my specifics – built and rebuilt everyday, if I wanted or needed to – that functioned on my terms and not on someone else’s. One that I could ‘build’ into my ideal wearable with custom ‘modules’. This is the ultimate in ‘user design’ for an end-user product, and I am excited about this watch – a statement I haven’t made since I was a kid and wanted a calculator watch. Not only that, but the platform is so open-ended that the software is both Apple and Android compatible.
Say hello to Blocks – the world’s first modular smartwatch. Their Kickstarter campaign started off (on October 13th, 2015) asking for the modest sum of $250,000 to get the London-based company on its way – a goal which was met in just 56 minutes! The campaign itself managed to raise a total of $1,613,874 altogether – which surpassed all stretch goals and qualified the project for the Kickstarter project of the day on November 8th.
Successfully raised $1,613,874 USD with 5,063 backers
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This is an original article written by Mai Bjorklund for Swartz Electric. This article may not be copied whole or in part without the express permission of Swartz Electric, LLC.
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