The past few years have shown the greatest progress for mankind in the field of technology. These advancements have helped us and many others in great degrees, let us see what lies ahead for the future of mankind and how each tool can help improve our lives.
1. Oculus Rift
This is a Virtual Reality (VR) Head Mounted Display (HMD) device. The benefit of this marvellous piece of technology is allowing the wearer to feel total immersion in the same way Google Cardboard does. Initially the device was made with gaming purposes, but has now branched out to other fields of interest; architecture, 3D Design, treatment for people with phobias and anxiety, and, MUCH more.
The VR device has many great uses and practically is something every individual MUST experience at least once in their life, I know I plan on buying one down the road.
Oculus, however, is currently the property of Facebook; as of last year it was bought out for a staggering $2.4 Billion. The device has just been confirmed for a 2016 release with no price mentioned, though you can count on it costing you an arm and a leg, but in return, the experience of a lifetime!
Note: I only wrote about the Oculus, even though there are MANY other VR headsets coming up and currently out, such as; Samsung Gear VR, HTC Re Vive, Project Morpheus, and, many others. So please don’t mix them up.
2. Microsoft Hololens
Microsoft Hololens is another HMD, but it is an Augmented Reality (AR). While it shares hardware similarities to VR, at the same time doesn’t immerse you into another world. It helps change the world around you into interactive objects. With the help of Hololens, the room around you can become independent displays or projectors of what you wish to see while wearing the HMD. While VR will require the user to have some program running for it to work such as a game or an emulator, AR is completely sovereign and requires no additional software connectivity in terms of a computer or other device commanding it.
The following GIF will show you SOME of the potential that Hololens has to offer.
As you can see, there are several uses for this devices outside of leisure. This device is a God send to the people in other fields of study such as medicine, architecture, and much more. The possibilities of helping mankind with this device are endless!
According to several sources online, Microsoft has not given a definitive date on the device but has said that it should follow shortly after Windows 10, which is releasing on July 29th. Though a ~$1000 price point should come as no surprise considering the features it bares.
3. Self driving cars
Driving is an extremely tedious task, whether you are in an automatic or manual transmission car, there are times where you wish to hand the wheel over to someone else. Google and Bing are in the process of nearly commercializing self-driving cars that will completely change the way we do personal commute in our daily lives. It has been in testing periods for long time but the future of automated driving cars will soon be upon us!
Google recently shared that ever since 2009, the self driving cars have rear ended only 12 cars! With most of them being minor fender benders. This is certainly a huge accomplishment, considering no one was behind the wheel and this just shows room for improvement.
4. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Robots
Robots have been a famous part of TV Shows growing up in the 90’s, whether you watched cartoons like The Jetsons or TV Shows like Small Wonder. Recently, the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) held its Robotics Challenge in which we saw some extremely amazing contenders, one of them being a cheetah that jumped over obstacles before it. Additionally, ATLAS is another project you should definitely have a look at.
DARPA definitely looks forward to combining the world of robotics and make use of them in our practical lives, it won’t be soon until we come to face with these robotics in some form or manner. This is perhaps the pinnacle of robotics being this sophisticated and eventually reaching near human / animal intelligence.
5. Cybernetic Implants
It is always tragic to see talent go to waste due to the physical loss of a limb, be it an arm or a leg. Normally, people would get a plastic prosthetic that would simply be stiff like a status. This new cybernetic limb has some amazing features that will amaze you.
- It only costs $300.
- Made possible through 3-D Printing and hence reduces the production cost significantly.
- Allows your cell phone to help play a role in increasing interactivity between machine and object, to actually FEEL once again.
The arm is truly a splendid breakthrough in the field of medicine. The arm can additionally take commands from your brain waves and signal transmissions directly, allowing you to actually move your 21st century prosthetic like the real thing. This will be able to give amputees a second chance at being able to live once more and revive their talent or trade without fear.
Sadly, due to its only recent entry, Exiii, the Japanese company responsible for this limb are currently putting all new orders on a waiting list as to fulfil prior orders. The company does plan on sharing their schematics with industry and academic researchers to help make this program reach open source and hopefully, a greater reach.
6. Improved Artificial Intelligence
For years, we have had voice assistants helping us in one way or the other, the recent revelation of Hound is only one of many entries in the world of integrated AI. What truly baffled me today was watching this video, and reassuring myself that this is indeed an advancement in the 21st century.
Now honestly tell yourself. A decade ago, if anyone told you that your phone is capable of telling you half the stuff shown in the video, what would you reaction be? I know I would have been extremely skeptical. Whether you see it or not, AI is steadily becoming an active part of our lives. Want a better example? The Kinect for Xbox One stands as the best example of this, while you are playing a game, your voice is able to control the console actively to do other features for you. An even better example? Google Smarthomes and tell me you aren’t impressed.
7. Google’s Project Soli
Google has LITERALLY given you a whole new way to interact with your devices, Through aerial gestures, you are now able to control your device. This made its première debut recently at Google I/O where it showed the potential with smartphone. This is a whole new level of consumer – electronics interaction which has truly set the bar for using your phone without touch. This not only has applications for smartphones but it could soon branch out to all kinds of electronic devices in your daily life! A few years down the line, you will be able to completely operate almost all electronics in your household with simple touch gestures.
Yes, Samsung has made Air Gestures a thing since the S4, but imagine if this became more mainstream and accessible to people who didn’t have to break the bank if they want a better phone with some really snazzy features. Additionally, the uses for this are limitless if utilized by the right industry and the right people. This can pave the way we use all our daily items.
8. Interactive OS’s (Force Touch on Apple + Cortana on Windows)
Force Touch on the New MacBook with USB Type C has shown us that there are more ways to interact with your laptop. It has allowed many people to improve their browsing and usage experiences significantly. Similarly, Microsoft is looking to change the way you interact with your desktop using Cortana.
Force Touch is a hardware side interaction to communicating with your OS to get more functionality and use out of it, while Cortana is a semi hardware, but for the most part a software augmentation in Windows 10 who will help you put your hectic schedule into order.
Force Touch currently only exists on Apple iWatch and the New MacBook line, but hopefully with iOS 9 and the new Apple products on the horizon, we can see more applications of Force Touch within these devices for greater purposes.
9. Solar Powered Water ATM’s
Another social tragedy to witness for all of us is the lack of clean drinking water. UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) has been trying to make clean drinkable water accessible to the third world countries. While the scope of this product is currently limited to Pakistan, we can hope that the initiative spreads to the areas that need it the most such as Africa where this is severely needed.
Clean water is still the biggest hindrance faced by people of the lower socio-economic bracket. It is a pity to see these people drink water from the murky brown canals of Lahore for nourishment. We can hope that this imitative becomes a roaring success so that the team can help make this project reach places where it can do even greater good for the world.
10. Project Ara aka. PhoneBloks
Project Ara is a name that should be on the tip of every smartphone owner’s tongue. It is an amazing concept that has become a reality now. Before, the idea of changing your phones hardware aspects was a task of titanic proportions. Project Ara has helped make that task easy as pie.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept of Project Ara, otherwise known as PhoneBloks, it is basically like Lego. If you aren’t happy with what you have, disassemble it and rebuild it to what you envision it to be. Want to switch your camera for a bigger batter? Want a better processor and RAM but sacrifice the camera? Want to upgrade to a bigger and more responsive screen? All while still on the same phone without trading in or buying a new phone.
All of the above is only possible and achieved with the help of Project Ara. The phones were initially announced to be first shipped to Puerto Rico where they would sent to “test the waters”. It is a unique strategy considering how they chose to avoid the mainland NA / EU territories.
These were our picks of the top 10 technological advancements that we will see in 2015 and hopefully the year to come.
Do you feel like we left something better out of the list? Let us know your suggestion in the comment section below.