Welcome, step right up! Come right in! You have now entered into a world of infinite possibilities. Welcome to the World of Tomorrow.
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:
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.
With Google Glass, the end of life as we know it. Not a single event that just happens, unrecorded. I'm nostalgic already.
— Suzy Welch (@SuzyWelch) February 20, 2013
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
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:
Trying out the touch screen laptops at the Microsoft store. So cool! instagr.am/p/RTG7E5pwJL/
— Grace (@gracenote) October 27, 2012
Google goes touch too (surely in a better way than Microsoft) engadget.com/2013/02/20/wsj…
— Serena De Biasi (@CyborgJA) February 21, 2013
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
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
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 ...
and the as-yet-unreleased next-generation of Xbox.
All are expected to offer features like beefed-up hardware, social networking communities, and mobile connectivity via smartphones and tablets.
We always knew the gaming experience is all about sharing. Welcome aboard, PS4. Seriously. twitter.com/elgatogaming/s…
— Elgato Gaming (@elgatogaming) February 21, 2013
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:
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