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What's Around the Corner?

For all of us as consumers in the tech world

Technological advancements are developing at an exponential pace. The world twenty years ago was an archaic place compared to the present and it’s moving faster every day! As consumers, the responsibility to track information and manage our world was solely reliant upon us and how savvy and organized we were. Now, we are fortunate to be living in an age where certain individuals or groups exceed the savviest of us and create technological gadgets and conditions that make consumer’s lives easier (once we learn how to use them, that is!).

There are so many new innovations on the horizon, from facial recognition on smart phones to digital soles on shoes. The world of technology is constantly evolving and here’s a preview:

Smart Phones

Smart phone technology has been developing new and improved phones every few months, it seems. Tomorrow brings new chips and processors, such as the Cortex-A72 processor and Mali-T880 graphics chip by British chip-design company ARM. These will allow smart phone manufacturers to make more powerful devices in the future by providing more speed and graphics power.

Biometric features on smart phones will be improving in the future. Many devices already offer fingerprint sensors in lieu of a passcode, however, there will be smart phones in the future that will offer features like advanced facial recognition and iris scanning. Currently, Microsoft has a feature in Windows 10 called, “Hello”, which uses facial recognition to allow a user to sign into their computer. This technology is so advanced that it has the ability to distinguish between a set of identical twins. It requires a depth-sensing camera to work, such as the Intel RealSense 3D camera. These special cameras will also offer response to facial expressions and hand gestures.

Wireless charging, or Qi (Pronounced “Chee”) charging, will be a built-in feature on a lot of new smart phones. While most of the high-end smart phones on the market do already offer this feature, this is great for those of us who do not like all of the cords associated with our gadgets. All you need is a Qi-compatible phone and charging pad. Simply plug power into the charging pad, then rest your phone on the charging pad and the phone will begin to charge

Cars

Car infotainment systems in the past have been great concepts but not always the easiest to navigate while driving. New and improved systems are making driving safer and easier without sacrificing the ability to use the technology. The use of large screens and natural voice recognition help with keeping our eyes and attention on the road rather than on the tiny screens and button prompts. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will have screen layouts similar to that of their respective smart phone displays, making it even simpler to use the interface for most consumers.

Gesture Recognition, a feature available in some newer vehicles, allows individuals to control features of the car with simple hand gestures instead of button controls. For instance, BMW is introducing the 7-Series, which will allow users to control features like the stereo, HVAC controls, and Bluetooth devices by making specific body movements. Installation of a higher-definition camera in the dash board or above the display screen make this possible. The camera is programmed to recognize specific hand gestures while ignoring other movements. Certainly, this makes for a better and safer driving experience, allowing drivers to pay more attention to the road.

The much-anticipated autopilot software in automobiles has arrived! Tesla, an electric vehicle manufacturer, currently offers the Model S, with an integrated autopilot feature. This vehicle is equipped with features such as auto-steer, automatic lane change, auto-park, and side collision avoidance. The vehicle will autopilot easily on highways with or without traffic, however, city traffic can be challenging as it can’t see stop signs or red lights. Of course, you are still legally required to keep your hands on the wheel and be ready to take over immediately, but if you want to enjoy the scenery a bit or sit back and relax more, you are able to!

Wearable Gadgets

Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset designed for gaming which is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2016. It will provide a 180° field of view from two front screens. There has been a lot of talk about this device in the gaming world for some time now, and it will have a variety of game titles to choose from when it’s released. This is a large milestone when it comes to virtual reality being available to the average consumer.

Smart watches have gained a lot of popularity as of late. The Apple Watch is probably the most popular, but other smart phone manufacturers, such as Sony, LG, Samsung, and Motorola are following suit and releasing their own similar devices. The beauty of the smart watches is that, along with the basics like calculations, translations, and gaming functions, they are effectively wearable computers that can run mobile apps, act as a media player and even have mobile phone functionality, among many other features.

Expect to see “smart” items that you have not seen before in the near future. There are manufacturers designing smart clothing to help with exercise and dietary routines. Training clothes with built-in micro-sensors that detect what muscles are being used while working out are in development. These will help users build a more productive workout routine. Digital insoles for shoes track calories and distance traveled, and can even warm your feet on cold days! You can even use your smart phone app to change the temperature!

So many new technologies are around the corner! We can’t wait to see what comes next!


Listen to Nate discuss this topic with MoneyTalks show host Greg Anderson on WOMT Radio.
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