Moore’s Law seems to be more applicable to the world of technology than ever before. Developments are happening at an astonishing rate – where once we thought that clamshell-style communicators and laser technology was the stuff of Star Trek, now it’s real, it’s here and it’s developing at a far faster speed than Gene Roddenberry could have ever imagined. So what future tech trends are about to change our worlds once more? Here’s five of the best:
Just as we get the hang of poking, prodding and swishing, along comes the next generation of interface tech – no-touch. This involves pattern or movement recognition technology (pioneered in the domestic market by the gaming manufacturers with the X-Box, for example) that allows us to interact with our computers without laying a finger on a screen or keyboard. This pattern recognition technology includes better voice recognition (Apple’s ‘Siri’ is a prime example) and the augmented reality tech of Google Glass, where a user simply looks at a target and the tech fills in all the gaps with some interesting factoids. No-touch interfaces are set to be a key component in the next-gen wave of technology.
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This revolutionary idea has been bubbling under for a while now, but is really starting to make serious strides forward. Like no-touch interfaces, the Cloud and other major developments, flexible displays could have a revolutionary impact on how we interact with our technology, and in particular our use of wearable tech. Research and development companies such as Plastic Logic have been at the leading edge of flexible display technology for years, and are now partnering up with major manufacturers to push it forward into the retail market. Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic, recently commented: “I am delighted that Plastic Logic can now demonstrate the far-reaching potential of the underlying technology. Our ability to create flexible, transmissive backplanes has led us not only to co-develop a flexible image sensor, but is also key to flexible OLED displays as well as unbreakable LCDs.”
He’s optimistic about the future of flexible too: “Flexible electronics is a reality, already proven through the development and manufacture of plastic, bendable displays and sensors. For the first time a fully organic, plastic, flexible AMOLED demonstration has been achieved with a real industrial fabrication process. This marks the start of a revolution in wearable products, the next frontier in consumer electronics – 2014 is the year that wearable technology starts to go mainstream.”
In 1909, the visionary writer EM Forster wrote a short story called ‘The Machine Stops’ where human interaction had been reduced to contact through ‘the machine’, rather than actual physical contact. It seems that Forster foresaw the future, as in the last 10 years MMO (massively multiplayer online) gaming has become one of the most common forms of recreational interaction. In the next 10 years we predict that the same will happen in other aspects of life, including educational modules (known as MOOCs or Massively Online Open Courses). Even politicians are getting in on the MMO trend, with President Obama conversing with voters through ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Reddit and Google Hangouts.
The Internet of Things
Our fridges and washing machines have started talking to our smartphones. The fridge sends us a text telling us we’ve run out of milk and to buy some on the way home. The washing machine lets us know that the laundry’s done. Welcome to the Internet of Things – the next step in interaction between our mobile devices and…well, just about anything you can think of, really. Our homes, cars and even objects on the street are chatting away to our smartphones. What will drive this trend forward are two complementary technologies. Near Field Communication (NFC) allows devices to engage in two-way data communication. Ultra-low power chips that can harvest energy from their environment (such as motion-sensitive watches or solar-powered mobiles) will result in a wealth of new technology throughout our environments.
Also known as ‘Big Data’, this concept has developed out of the Cloud. But the latest developments in big data combine natural language processing that gives the consumer a real voice – as well as being just a little bit scary too. Big data gathers every piece of information you can think of about you as a person from your digital footprint. So your browsing history, your ‘likes’ on Facebook, the PPC adverts you click on – all of that goes into a huge database to build up a ‘picture’ of you, your likes, dislikes and, inevitably, your role as a consumer. The result is that advertising will be far more targeted to the individual, and we may eventually see the demise of generic advertising completely.
About the author
Charlotte blogs about gadgets and technology, covering everything from the latest mobile advancements to display technology. When she’s not online Charlotte enjoys swimming, cycling and travelling the world.