Welcome to Tomorrow: Five Amazing Tech Products to Watch

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Welcome, step right up! Come right in! You have now entered into a world of infinite possibilities. Welcome to the World of Tomorrow.

Tomorrowland at Dusk
Image from Flickr user Big DumpTruck

Or, Tomorrowland. Close enough.

More seriously, a string of recent technological innovations have spurred a lot of excitement about our technological not-so-distant future.

Here are five amazing hardware innovations to watch in the months and years to come.

1. Wearable Computers: Google Glass

Google released a new video about Google Glass, wearable glasses that will allow you to access the Internet, take and share photos and video, and more - anywhere, any time.

You know, like in the Terminator movies.

The first prototypes look something like this:

Glass
Image from Flickr user Max Braun.

And apparently Google is talking to Warby Parker about designing some cool frames.

The glasses operate through what's called "augmented reality." Through the installation of a small screen in the upper corners of eyeglasses, Google will be able to add to the wearer's visual environment.

Other augmented reality tech is being developed in smartphones and contact lenses, too. And at the University of Washington, a Virtual Retina Display is even being produced, where a display is projected onto the user's eye while they see a screen floating in front of them.

So far, Google has received fairly positive reviews for Glass, and a lot of people are getting pretty psyched. Though not everybody.

Google Glass will be Google's first physical product since its line of Chromebooks released in June 2011.

2. Internet at Your Fingertips: Touch-Screen Laptops

Adjusting Ultrabook Setting Using Touchscreen
Image from Flickr user IntelFreePress

A tech war is on. After several months of Microsoft pushing its new operating system Windows 8, Google will strike back.

Google will release a new line of touch-screen laptops powered by the Chrome operating system later this year. These will be in direct competition with the Windows 8 touch-screens, which are apparently soaring in popularity.

The Twittersphere has been enjoying the recent talk of competition:

Uses for touch-screen laptops are seemingly endless, with all the apps that have been created for iPads and other tablets. We're guessing that soon enough, all laptops will have touch-screens.

3. Any Object, Anywhere, Anytime: 3D Printing

3D printer
Image from Flickr user Maria Keays

Imagine the conversations that will go down once we have 3D printers:

"Honey, I'm going to the store, do you want anything?"
"No thanks, but why go to the store when we can print anything we need here at home?"

It reminds us of those "Star Trek" replicators.

Three-dimensional printers are quickly becoming a reality, much faster than most futurists ever predicted. These printers can reproduce any object for which plans are available for. They work by "printing," or layering, heated plastic or other materials on top of itself in sequential layers.

The future looks bright for 3D printing. In his State of the Union speech last week, U.S. President Barack Obama said 3D printing has "the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything."

A variety of uses for 3D printing have risen as of late, including a scientist-created human ear created from the cartilege of a cow, 3D printed cars, and even a humanoid robot.

4. A New Way to Tell Time: The Smartwatch

Pebble watch music 2
Image from Wikimedia user Pebble Technology

Do you wear a watch? For many people, carrying a phone is enough. But Apple and a few other companies are working to change that.

Smartwatches are wristwatches that do more than the average timepiece. They not only tell time, but also provide news, social media, weather, e-mails, calendar items, and more. The Pebble watch (pictured above), which was funded on Kickstarter, uses an e-ink display and is available in custom watch faces.

Major tech companies like Apple and Samsung are entering into smartwatch production. Apple's iWatch has been reported to have a flexible, continuous display with the ability to connect to other apple devices using Bluetooth or WiFi, according to a recent filing of a patent.

Information about Samsung's own Galaxy Altius Smart Watch have recently surfaced as well, revealing a 500x500 pixel display, according to leaked screenshots.

5. More Interactive, More Online, More Community: The Future of Gaming

Competition among gaming platforms has always been high. And yesterday Sony took it to another level: In an attempt to get ahead of other major gaming companies Nintendo and Microsoft, Sony debuted what the next generation of Playstation can do.

Mark Cerny, lead system architect for the PS4, revealed a touchpad and camera on the console's controller, explaining how the camera will be able to detect environmental depth in front of the device. The console has not been revealed yet, but Cerny said the new PS4 will allow streaming of video games on Sony servers, even while downloading.

The PS4 is set to release before the 2013 holiday season, joining the Wii-U ...

E3 2011 - the Nintendo Wii U controller
Image from Flickr user Pop Culture Geek

and the as-yet-unreleased next-generation of Xbox.

XBOX 360 FullHD Wallpaper
Image from Flickr user Ben Fredericson (xjrlokix)

All are expected to offer features like beefed-up hardware, social networking communities, and mobile connectivity via smartphones and tablets.


The Kicker

With all the recent tech innovations, it can seem easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to turn if you wanted to get involved. That's why we're here. Check out the action items below to take action on the story and keep up on what's to come:

Stay Up-to-Date

Follow tech news:

Wired >>

Engadget >>

CNET >>

Get Involved

Attend the next Game Developers Conference >>

Join the Reddit gaming community >>

Make a Difference

Donate to One Laptop per Child, so all children can have access to the Internet >>

Help Tech Access equip students of color for success with a STEM education >>

Send a gift to hospitalized children who want to play games >>

Images used under Creative Commons licensing.

Michael Mott

Mike was editor in chief of the weekly student newspaper at UC Santa Cruz and is pursuing his M.A. in journalism at Columbia. Follow: @mikewmott.

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4 Comments

2 comments
tcain
tcain

Hi Mike... nice job.

Tom Cain,....Jenny's dad

 small business blog
small business blog

For me, Google glass is the most ambitious invention now. But as of now, I don't see any use of it as of the moment.

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