7 Most Promising New Technologies
Wave of the Future
At the same time companies showcased their newest products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) they also offered glimpses of experimental technologies which may or may not find their way into consumer goods in the future. Here are a few of the technologies we previewed that we think are the most promising (some day). Some are actually already available or scheduled to roll out soon. Others are still in the design stage but we're so intrigued, we're hoping they'll be on the market soon.
Motion Gesturing/Heads up Displays
You may have seen movies like Minority Report with futuristic semi-transparent displays that Tom Cruise interacts with by simply gesturing. Audi and Mercedes unveiled heads-up displays and integrated screens that almost read the mind of the driver in many ways. Some day, these technologies will allow a host of information to be displayed in the windshield, allowing us to safely connect with the outside world, and eventually even let cars drive themselves. The possibilities are boundless. Don't expect anything like this in cars for years to come, however interactive motion gaming like Sony Move and Microsoft Kinect which use similar principles are already a reality.
Although it isn't available quite yet, in his keynote speech at CES, Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, spoke to us about the coming version of Windows. You're probably very well aware that our multi-tasking, impatient minds don't mesh well with computer systems. New devices, however, are doing a much better job of meeting us halfway. The iPhone, iPad and other tablets are extremely intuitive to use and just plain jive with how our minds work and what our intuition expects.
The updated version of Windows works in a way that resembles the functionality we love in tablets and smartphones. Smaller bits of important information from various sources will be displayed all at once so they're all easy and quickly accessible. Things that are important to us such as photos and social networking will be integrated. All in all, Window 8 will reshape the way we interact with our computers.
With our tendency to take our electronics everywhere, even to the bathroom and the beach, waterproofing is becoming increasingly important. P2i makes a nanotechnology coating used by companies like Motorola on its XOOM tablet that vastly improves the water resistance of electronics. In a demo, two tissues, one treated and one untreated, looked and felt identical until dipped in water. The treated one emerged perfectly dry.
Robotics are easing their way into our world, particularly in the cleaning department. You may have seen fully automated robots like the iRobot, but LG has taken a different approach, creating a vacuum cleaner that uses sensors to know which way you're walking so it follows you as you clean, eliminating the need to drag it and preventing tip-overs because the hose won't reach. Brilliant!
Many new appliances, like this GE washer, connect to home networks and mobile devices and can be controlled remotely — useful for turning on the machine during a period when electricity pricing is lowest, or adjusting while you're in the office. Expect to see it integrated into more home security systems and lighting as well.
What's the difference? Not much more than size when you think about it. Samsung's Galaxy Note is part tablet, part phone, and serves as a tool — even for caricature drawing. Increasingly you'll be seeing more multipurpose electronic devices.
It's been around since ancient times, so why is glass so important now? At the heart of every electronic device, it's what separates our eyes and fingers from the LCD screen. As it grows thinner and more durable, so too will our electronic devices. Like many others, the Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone incorporates Corning Gorilla Glass to give it a slim profile and resistance to breakage.