New year, new tech – right? Every year, the world’s technology grows by leaps and bounds, and every year we’re excited to see what the next 12 months will bring. Here’s a few of the most exciting predictions for 2016:
Yep, robots. (The Jetson-age is almost here!) More and more, automated software (aka “bots”) are working behind-the-scenes to boost productivity, keep track of our lives, help us interact with others, and make it easy to live and work better. But what 2016 promises is something a little bit more: the ability to program bots to your needs and preferences. To categorize your world, the way you want it categorized. (Think an advanced version of IFTTT.)
Drone Discussion (and Legislation)
Drones have gotten into hot water this year – who can forget the two drones that got in the way of some California wildfire firefighters? – so we can expect to discuss this new tech, and how to regulate it in 2016. Just last month, the FAA began requiring registration for all drones (and any other type of remote-controlled aircraft over 0.5 lbs.) in the U.S. (Don’t worry – you have until February 16th to register.) So in 2016, in addition to current laws that prevent drones from flying near airports, will we also see no-fly circumstances? (Like during a wildfire emergency, ahem.)
Meshing All Your Smart Home Devices
We’ve all seen the smart home device mesh trend coming – and most of us have already experienced it, on some level – but we expect to see a lot more meshing in 2016. The basic premise: most of our smart home devices, even those connected to the cloud, operate in isolation from other smart home devices. (Devices being not only your laptop, tablet and smartphone, but also your smart watch, activity tracker, smart lock, smart thermostats, and etc. etc.) In 2016, the smart home device mesh will evolve to connect all these smart home devices so they work together, seamlessly (or at least, without your having to hack your way to interconnection).
You may not know the word, but you’re familiar with the tech: haptic feedback is the sensation we derive from technology. (Think, putting your phone on vibrate or responding to your watch’s buzz alarm.) But in 2016, we can expect haptics to expand beyond simple reminders to actual touch: for example, to let you feel a sweater’s texture before you purchase online or haptic insoles in orthopedic shoes.
Virtual Reality: A Real Reality
Virtual reality is real, and it has some pretty exciting applications in today’s world. VR is poised to bring people closer together – think virtually realistic web meetings! – or VR war zone reporting. What’s more, VR may be applied in mental health settings, for example to treat depression, chronic pain, anxiety, PTSD and other conditions. Experts predict it will also be employed as pain treatment (and therefore lower our dependence on pain medication).
Itty Bitty Sensors
Today’s sensors are just getting smaller and smaller. This tiny form factor, combined with smarter technology, means that the sensors of 2016 will be more powerful – capable of tracking temperature, light, movement, biometrics and other factors, all with one tiny piece of tech. We’re excited to see applications in the home security companies and smart home sectors!