Technology Gifts of the Future


Ah – the holiday shopping season:  mass crowds, out of stock specials, hunting a product across 3 stores to get just the right thing.   This year, more than ever, I am thankful for the Amazon Wish List feature, and the ability to share Wish Lists with friends and family.  As I look across the lists of my loved ones, I see a myriad products, including some of today’s technology.  But that got me thinking:  what might these same Amazon Wish Lists look like in 5, or 10, or even more years?

Well, it’s not easy to predict the path of technology far into the future.   But we can look at current trends and developing technology.

Re-imagining the Concept of the Computer

Computers, in general, are here to stay.  For years, different groups have been hailing the death of desktop computers to consoles, but advances in the industry have kept desktop computers ahead of their competition.   More recently, dozens of articles hail the death of laptops to pads and smartphones.  Well, in truth, the smart phones and pads of today really are becoming as powerful and capable of handling mobile tasks as any laptop.   In fact, here is a video demonstration of someone’s attempt to do just that.  And really, if anyone ever thought smartphones were not computers, let this video lay that idea completely to rest.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nh2NSLgaII[/youtube]

Amazing, right?   Well, I can’t play World of Warcraft on my smartphone.  So for the near future, I’ll be sticking with the desktop variety of computers.  Eventually, though, Cloud computing will eliminate the need to install a game or application locally, and instead we’ll be purchasing a timed license to access our Office applications, games and the like.  The pricing model will be based on how long we need to use the application, and across how many devices.  For example, I can currently purchase 5 license antivirus suites that have applications for computers, both PC and MAC, as well as iOS and Android versions.  One purchase covers ALL my devices.  Kaspersky’s product is called ONE Universal Security.  Pretty nice.  Other antivirus vendors are following suit, but it will not stop with antivirus.

Operating system developers are slowly but surely modifying the Operating Systems to be much more cloud centric.   And by doing this, you’ll be accessing the data AND the APPLICATIONS when you need them, where you need them.  Frankly, it would be way too easy to digress down this alley, but I want to show you some cool technology.  So on with the show.


The Death of Touchscreens?

One of the newer features I really like is the idea of moving away from touchscreens.   Touchscreens are not new technology, but they really found a good niche with smart phones and pads.  The problem is that touchscreens still tend to be much pricier than their non-touch capable counterpart.  What if we could still give the user the ability to manipulate their systems, without the need for expensive touchscreens?    Enter the TOUCHLESS GESTURES.  This is absolutely fantastic.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/50296206[/vimeo]

The articles is titled:  Bringing ‘Minority Report’ touchless gestures to Windows 8.  .   Read their article and see where the company that is developing this product envisions incorporating this product in areas besides computing.  It really blows my mind.

Everyone will make passes at people who wear Glasses

In the near future, the “hot” product will be glasses.  It’s no secret that Google has been developing project Glass for a few years now.  We can track it’s development on their blog.  Google officially introduced this product to the world during the Google I/O 2012 event in San Francisco back in June, in one of the most amazing product introductions ever.

Note: this is a long video:  [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP1gvGcXcLk[/youtube]


Okay – so what is Glass?  Why will you care about this product?  Well, not only does it give the wearer the ability to share everything they are experiencing LIVE, but it also produces data that ties into a technology that have been under development called ‘Enhanced Reality’, where glasses like these will be able to provide the wearer with additional information about whatever they happen to be viewing at the moment.   And…it ties in with Android.  This will be a big product in the not too distant future.   How about a POV demonstration?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4[/youtube]

Make no mistake, Google is not the only developer of glasses like these.

Vuzix is developing what they refer to as a “Hands Free Display” for Android, which is quite similar to the Google Glass project.   These products will revolutionize our ability to share our world, instantly, with whoever we wish.  Never again will someone miss baby’s first smile, or live world events.

I still can’t play World of Warcraft on Google Glass.

Have no fear, there are more glasses for that.  Back in the 90s, “Virtual Reality” was a big buzz word.   The concept was to build “Virtual Reality Glasses” to provide an immersive experience.  But the devices developed at the time massively over-promised and under-performed.   Enter John Carmack, co-founder of id Software (makers of Doom and Quake), Palmer Luckey and the Oculus VR Kickstarter SDK.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/49294325[/vimeo]

If you would like to participate in the development of this product, they have a really nice developers kit for only $300.  Visit http://www.oculusvr.com/

Tired of Looking at Glass?

I’ve been following iO2 Technology for about 10 years now.  I remember when they sold their first 2 demo products for hundreds of thousands of dollars.   But the goal was to produce something much more cost effective.  Their goal was to create Holograms. The result:  The HelioDisplay.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au1ib6Rf_gY[/youtube]

And over the last decade, they have been extremely successful.  Up till now, however, development of 3D, touch capable hologram technology has focused mainly on Medical and Military applications.   And, the technology has trailed woefully behind the resolution of monitors.  When the world was moving to HD, they were just pushing 1024×768.   Well, they still trail, but the technology continues to get better.   Thus far, we’ve only seen product demonstrations for public use.  But I can envision a world further in the future where we free ourselves of glass, and replace everything with hologram technology.  Definitely further in the future than the products above, but I intend to live to see it.   For more information, visit http://www.io2technology.com/   Meanwhile, enjoy the demos created by io2 Technology, themselves:

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/45048176[/vimeo]

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/41052297[/vimeo]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLtpi4nTv8Q[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCmZ3d3ZnVI[/youtube]

And this is poor quality, but still relevant:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiyE7nydrdw[/youtube]

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About the Author

Jason Clement

After a 6 year stint with the U.S. Army as a Tactical Linguist, Jason worked as an IT Professional with DEC (Digital Equipment Corp), on a contract with both Time Warner and Oceanic Cable as they implemented the first publicly available broadband service, often troubleshooting network issues node-by-node back to the Central Office. After the acquisition of DEC by Compaq Jason began a long career working tech support for companies such as Dell, CompUSA, Perot Systems, and Ignite Technologies while freelancing for several law firms. While each position presented its own technical challenges and unique experiences. While Jason has worked in every facet of customer facing IT support from call centers to in-home support he looks back fondly on his days at DEC, where a ‘can do’ attitude was the norm.