By previous standards, 2013 was expected to be the year the technology sector made incredible advancements. While research and development into new products has made great strides, there hasn’t been any technology released which could be considered revolutionary.
Sure, we now have smartphones with fingerprint technology, GPS tracking devices the size of a coin accurate to within 10 metres, but I ask you this – where is my flying car?
Top three gadgets of 2013
Sure, it isn’t saving lives or even improving them to a great extent, but a one-off cost of $35 for a gadget which allows me to stream video, music and other items on my TV via my smartphone, tablet or laptop device, without the need for cables, is one of the biggest technology wins for 2013.
Belkin WeMo Insight
The WeMo is a wifi enabled power socket device that allows you to switch it on and off by the press of a button from anywhere in the world. This device comes into its own with the automated settings which you can install. Going out Saturday night? Program 5pm – 9pm into the App and all the selected power sockets in your house will turn off. How about during your sleep hours? Set the power sockets to turn off between midnight and 5am and the savings will really add up throughout the year. My personal favourite is the ability to turn the kettle on without getting up from the sofa.
RAVPower External Battery Pack
Whether you are out all day or travelling overseas, the RAVPower External Battery Pack can come in handy in many different situations. Holding enough charge to fully recharge an iPhone four times, keeping this device in your bag could save the day. At just $33, the price makes this product a top gadget for the year.
What to expect in 2014
Driverless cars are actually closer than you may think. The new 2013/14 range of cars are being built with more advanced technology to make the job of driving easier on the driver. Whether it is a sensor at the back of the car which tells you if an object is behind you when reversing, or a car which can park itself, there is no doubt the technology is advancing significantly. Flying cars are a little further off, with a commercial model expected by the middle of the next decade.
You no doubt would have seen the recent emergence of commercial drones in the technology sector and 2014 is expected to be the year when delivery by flying drone takes off, literally.
As a nation, we have become information greedy, wanting instant access to news about the world around us. Smartphones will continue to morph throughout 2014, but the key advancement will be the introduction of the Google Glass, a wearable pair of glasses with technology which will personalise the world around you at the flick of a button.
While our gadgets are getting smarter, so are our home appliances and entertainment systems. From the convenience of your fridge SMSing you a reminder that you are low on milk, to your in-built entertainment system in your home turning on your TV by you performing a simple hand motion, these technologies have endless growth potential into the near future.
With the average Australian expecting to live to around 80, how much further can we take medical advancements? A lot further it seems! One device being talked about currently is an ingestible computer which a patient swallows, which moves around the person’s body taking readings and sending the results back to a smartphone app via wifi. This type of monitoring could help sufferers of various diseases and conditions maintain their issues more easily.
If you haven’t heard of 3D printing, then you have probably not been reading the news over the past six months. 3D printing allows you to create almost anything you can design and provide ‘printing instructions’ for. Most importantly, the items are printed using raw materials. As an example, instead of a large mining operation in the northern parts of Western Australia requiring several spare parts for its machinery to be stored on site, it would be able to purchase a significantly smaller amount of raw product, and whenever it needed a new part, the 3D printer would be used to create it. 3D printing seems to be one of the biggest technological advancements of this decade, with such a technology both useful on Earth, as well as in space.
What emerging technology are you most looking forward to?