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Technology seems to be progressing at a nearly exponential rate when compared to where we were at even a few decades ago, and many of the gadgets that were only imagined in movies now exist in the real world. Here are five of the most cutting edge technology trends to be on the lookout for.
Virtual Reality (VR), the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment with which users can interact, has been around for decades. But it’s only been in recent years that users have finally begun to get all that they hoped for from this technology, like video games equipped with goggles to place you directly inside the game, VR rides that layer on additional thrills, and movie theaters that entertain with a VR experience.
As mentioned in our last blog, retailers like Ikea and Lowes have already begun to harness the potential of VR to create home planning tools that can be used to envision their products in a personalized setting. New breakthroughs might even make VR a realistic application for use in small spaces, allowing users to participate fully in a VR even while remaining in the confines of their own home.
The number of VR companies has grown by more than 15x since 2005, and is projected to quadruple again from 2015 to 2020.
Using what is called the additive process, 3D printing can create practically anything, almost as if from thin air, by laying down successive layers upon layers of material until the object is complete. Printing with 10 different materials at once to build complex items, 3D printers are also capable of self-calibrating, self-correcting, and scanning existing objects to build add-ons around them.
Although this technology has been around since 1984, it was only recently that major advancements have been made. And 3D printing has already had a significant impact in the healthcare industry. For instance, 3D printed skin has been developed for burn victims, and airway splints have been made for young children to keep their lungs from collapsing, specially designed to grow along with the patient. And as the cost for 3D printing continues to drop, the technology will only become more accessible for greater application.
The World Wide Web is no longer limited to computer and phone screens, but can also be found in objects of every size and function, connecting you to the internet through everything from bracelets to refrigerators. This network of physical devices can make us even more interconnected than we are now, particularly via two categories:
Apple watches and Fitbits are perhaps the most well-known of the wearable technologies, devices that are worn to track movement or to replace other communication devices. Other popular wearables include Under Armour’s sneakers that track your workout, relaying data as it is happening. Wearables allow users to consolidate the technology they keep on their person at any given time, while also keeping a closer eye on both physical and even emotional details about themselves.
A refrigerator purchased today can do much more than just keep food cool. Internet-connected appliances allow users to see the weather, watch recipe videos, stream music, and share calendars. Order groceries via apps, or check on the photo that the fridge takes after every visitor to confirm ingredients. Home security systems are another major way that people can be connected to their homes, locking doors, turning off lights, and controlling temperatures from far away.
Our constant fascination with artificial intelligence prompts us to continue to develop robots that are becoming more capable and advanced. Recent accomplishments in robotics has resulted in a bipedal robot that can walk just like a human can, mimicking the rocking foot motion we use to take steps. Another tiny robot can heal stomach ailments when swallowed, by targeting foreign objects or patching up internal wounds. From the flying insect robot that can rest midflight, to the escape artist robot that has again tried to elude its captors, technology continues to develop next level AI.
Cutting edge technology takes on whole new meanings each and every year, as innovators across the board find new ways to leverage what we know about the world to develop bigger and better things. How can your business benefit from these technologies? What inspirations can you take away to apply to your own operations?
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