It’s that time again! Time to pile into the Zing Blog Time Machine, fast forward one year and take a look at all the cool technology that the near-term future might bring!
From flying drones to new phones, technological advancements are made every day that can fundamentally change our lives and how we interact with the world. Barring a world-shattering revelation or alien intervention, there’s a good chance that we won’t be controlling objects with our thoughts or instantaneously transporting from one end of the earth to another by the time the calendar rolls into 2015 – but here are a few exciting advancements we’ll probably see in the coming months.
Google Glass is a wearable, virtual heads-up display that you wear in front of your eyes. Smart watches like the Pebble integrate your smartphone with your wrist so you can, among other things, play high-tech Dick Tracy with your friends. Wearable technology is in the midst of a boom. Today, you can buy anything from wrist-worn fitness trackers to virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift. Expect technology companies to continue to develop wearable implements that integrate with your existing devices and provide new and exciting ways to make clothing and accessories functional and digital.
Unmanned vehicles, specifically aerial ones, are poised for a big year. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos thrust the topic of drones into the national spotlight when he announced the concept of Amazon Air, a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles that could deliver parcels from the website on the same day they’re purchased. Just this week, Facebook announced their intention to acquire drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a vision of using drones to provide Internet access to poor countries. Regulatory issues still need to be hammered out, but the skies could soon be filled with buzzing miniature helicopters delivering goods and conducting surveillance.
Telecommunications companies like Xfinity and AT&T already offer services aimed at making certain aspects of your home controllable via the Internet or smartphone applications. In addition, you can now purchase Internet-linked smart thermostats like Nest, camera-based security systems like Dropcam and even smart door locks like Goji. Now that just about everything can be wirelessly enabled, expect more and more companies coming to market with technology aimed at making your home faster/smarter/more secure with the push of a button or the tap of a screen.
Perhaps you’ve heard of or seen a 3-D printer in action. Essentially, it’s a device that uses a 3-D model to build an object using a variety of materials. 3-D printers have been used to build a wide variety of things, from blankets and toys to pizzas. Watch for this technology to continue to become better, cheaper and capable of creating even more complex items. There’s even speculation that this technology can be used to create replacement tissue and organs for people who need transplants; the first 3-D-printed organ could be manufactured this year.
Sadly, it doesn’t look like flying cars are going to be a practical reality anytime soon. While there are some interesting concepts out there, as is the case with drones, there are serious regulatory issues to work through. That said, some exciting developments in the automotive realm will continue to drive forward in 2014. Imagine a world where you can put your car on auto pilot; that world isn’t too far off. Google has a prototype vehicle that can essentially drive itself using a combination of cameras, sensors and laser detection. Electric vehicles are becoming cheaper, more prevalent and can be driven longer distances. Companies like Tesla Motors are even manufacturing sports cars that run exclusively on battery and electric power. Expect car companies to continue to develop technologies that integrate vehicles with mobile devices while they find new ways to make their products more efficient and more connected.
What technologies would you like to see more emphasis on? Are there any upcoming developments that you’re particularly excited about? Where do you think the near future will take us? Tell us what you think in the comments below!