10 Innovations to keep an eye on
The future of technology is packed with innovation, and it’s hard to know which innovations are going to stick and become everyday fixtures in our lives—and which ones will fall by the wayside, replaced by the next big thing. Here are 10 innovations that you should keep an eye on in the coming years. If any of these sound interesting to you, consider starting your search for innovative professionals on Elance today!
1) Self Driving Cars
Like drones, autonomous vehicles have a lot of potential, but also a lot of growing up to do. There are various challenges ahead for developers: Hacking is one serious concern, as hackers could potentially shut down our roads; meanwhile, America’s crumbling infrastructure isn’t exactly in shape for driverless cars. Insurance questions are still being sorted out too; and getting people comfortable with self-driving cars will be tricky. But progress is already happening: If you live in Florida or California, for example, you can rent a car that drives itself! This innovation is coming soon to your neighborhood. It may take years before self-driving cars are fully integrated into daily life—but when they arrive (and they will), there will be great opportunity. Even better?
2) Augmented Reality
Augmented reality, or AR, is a technology that overlays a virtual image on top of what you see in front of you. The most popular way people think about augmented reality is when it’s used in apps like Pokémon Go—wherein users can look through their phones’ cameras and see Pokemon characters superimposed over real-world images. While there are many consumer uses for AR, from shopping apps to mobile games to live entertainment (just think about those enormous JumboTron advertisements), one area where AR is having a massive impact is workplace communication. Think Amazon Scout and Kiva Robots.
3) Smart Appliances
Imagine a refrigerator that monitors how much food you buy, how often you go shopping, and tracks your eating habits (and then sends a grocery list to your phone when it’s time for restocking). Or a coffee maker that automatically orders beans every time your coffee supply drops below 15 ounces. Smart appliances are coming soon—in fact, some of them are already here. For many people, household devices will be all-in-one solutions that solve multiple problems at once. And if they require energy from an outlet or more frequent maintenance than set it and forget it, so be it. Big strides in technology mean big changes for everyday life—we just have to get used to them first.
4) Augmented Cooking
The future of cooking is augmented. Imagine a device that enables you to visualize ingredients in real time, and know how much you need for a recipe. Imagine prepping for Thanksgiving dinner with a virtual turkey and being able to adjust recipes in real time, based on how many guests are coming over. With augmented cooking, your fridge could become as smart as your car. You might even be able to scan items as you shop and have them delivered from Amazon when you get home—and have them tossed directly into your fridge!
5) Virtual Assistants
If you thought smartphones were going to change how we live, think again. The concept of having a personal assistant is nothing new, but companies like Google and Apple have shown they’re not afraid to make our assistants smarter—and more discreet. Both Apple and Google have already introduced Siri as well as Google Now, both of which are voice-activated assistants that help users control their phones through speech (so no tapping needed). Soon these virtual assistants will be able to monitor your routine and make suggestions for things you need before you even know it.
6) Wearable Tech
It may be hard to imagine, but wearable technology is going to make it much easier for us all. The ubiquitous use of GPS technology in mobile phones has made us a society that’s never more than a few feet away from knowing exactly where we are. Similarly, we’re using our phones and tablets more and more as information portals in place of traditional computers; soon, it’s very likely you will be able to make use of your smartphone or tablet as your primary way of reading e-mail messages or communicating with others over social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
7) Smart Devices & Gadgets
It’s time to stop thinking of your smartphone as a revolutionary gadget. A new class of products is about to hit store shelves that will transform how we interact with our world and make us feel like we are living in a sci-fi movie. From artificial intelligence that’s capable of conversing like humans, internet-connected virtual assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, and smart robots like Jibo, it seems that there is nothing futuristic about tomorrow anymore. Most of these innovations already exist in some form or another; what’s missing is you! By 2020 all consumers will be living in a smart home or environment where technology has infiltrated almost every aspect of daily life. What are you waiting for? It’s time get started today!
8) Robot Assistants & Roombas
Robots won’t just clean up our messes in 2050, they’ll be able to interact with us as well. Both personal and industrial robots will be a normal part of society. We’ll also see robot assistants that are designed specifically for different tasks, like companion robots or pet robots; you might even have one who works as your secretary at work. Even more sophisticated than today’s Roombas and other robotic vacuums, these automated friends could help manage your schedule or buy groceries for you, among many other possibilities.
9) New energy sources
Research and development of various alternative energy sources is in high gear around the world. New types of alternative energies such as wind power, geothermal power, hydrogen fuel cells, and solar power are entering commercial use. If a viable energy source can be found, it will most likely be one that we haven’t even heard of yet—inventive minds are constantly coming up with new ideas. Alternative energy sources may give us clean energy—or they might not be able to compete with conventional fossil fuels or hydroelectric generators at all. That’s why it’s so important to try out as many innovations as possible and see what works best for us and our environment.
10) Affordable Space Travel & the Moon Village
The first time that mankind landed a human being on another celestial body was over 50 years ago, in July of 1969. It’s been almost 50 years since then, and we’re still not back to landing people on other celestial bodies. In fact, now Russia is charging tens of millions of dollars for a trip around Earth, and yet China’s space station still looks like it was built by high school students with access to low-cost Russian technology. We’re also decades away from affordable space travel, even though money is no longer an issue at all. That’s because most innovations that make possible affordable space travel come from software and hardware engineering; you can’t buy your way into being innovative in those fields anymore than you can buy your way into writing great symphonies or poems.