Believe it or not, we’re nearing the end of 2014, which means we’re almost halfway through the second decade of the 21st century. While we still don’t have teleportation pods or photon ray guns, technology has advanced at a seemingly blinding speed over the past 15 years. We’ve gone from dial up to Wi-Fi in the blink of an eye, and more and more tech gadgets continue to appear to make our modern lives even easier. As the trees change color outside, it’s becoming more appropriate to take a few minutes and review the technology trends of recent years. Many of these gadgets already perform wonders for our modern lifestyle, and others promise to deliver fully in the coming years.
The geniuses at Google are still working tirelessly to fine tune the features and functionality of Google Glass, but with the open beta program launched early this year, the hyper-futuristic computer glasses have exploded in cities around the nation. The ability to multitask on-the-go makes every movement seem more productive. Read the news, make presentations, or just check your social media feeds anywhere you like — once Google’s diligent Explorers work out all the bugs, this tech will become indispensible.
A revolutionary development in fitness tech, the FitBit (and its countless copycats) is the now ubiquitous rubber wristband that tells you everything you need to know about your body. Initially, this gadget was just a fancy pedometer, but not anymore. Because FitBit syncs to an app on your computer or smartphone, you can input data like your diet and low-impact exercises to track your daily caloric needs.
Although the FitBit has been around for a few years, newer versions of the bracelet have the ability to monitor your heart rate and sleeping patterns to give you a more holistic view of your health. Fitness enthusiasts and couch potatoes alike gain myriad benefits from these unassuming wristbands.
E-cigs are exploding in popularity around the country as smokers ditch their lung-clogging tobacco products for a cleaner, cheaper, and more customized alternative. The patent for these gadgets has been around since the 20th century, but the technology hasn’t become practical until recently. Now, smokers, or more accurately “vapers,” enjoy an unending list of flavors and nicotine levels as well as vaporization temperatures and cloud density. Though research has yet to yield conclusive results — and governmental agencies are struggling to draft regulations — vaping could develop into a healthy way to get one’s nicotine fix, or even kick the habit entirely, and smokers are racing to get their hands on their own customized rigs.
It may not be the pinnacle of consoles amongst hardcore gamers, but the Kinect was a significant milestone in the development of motion capture technology. Nintendo was the pioneer in this type of movement-based gaming with their famous Wii console, but the Kinect took the tech a step further by ditching the remote and allowing gamers to interact with their games using only their bodies. The Kinect continues to be wildly popular among families and friends looking for a fun group activity, but many “serious” gamers dismiss the gadget as incapable of producing a detailed and intense gaming experience.
However, as the gaming industry grows and changes — and continues to experiment with new gaming experiences like motion capture — the Kinect will likely be refined to provide exceptional and unparalleled motion capture–based gaming.
When 3D film technology first began to appear widely in theaters in the 1980s, it blew peoples’ minds. And when 3D film experienced a revival in theaters a couple years ago with blockbuster films like “Avatar,” peoples’ minds were blown once again. Though 3D technology is anything but new, the developments in recent years have perfected the art, and many movies have been significantly improved by the tech.
However, what is truly amazing isn’t the 3D experience you can get in a theater, but that which you can get from the comfort of your own couch. Televisions with 3D capabilities function differently than 3D projectors at movie theaters, but they are just as able to transmute any show or movie into a seemingly touchable visual feast. While 3D televisions are still somewhat expensive, their prices are dropping just as the visuals are becoming more and more realistic.