When Back to the Future part II premiered in 1989 and introduced us to the hoverboard, most Americans never thought that they would ever have the opportunity to ride one. The tech seemed too far out like something from a science fiction novel. But, alas, as we edge closer and closer to October 21, 2015 (the date that hero Marty McFly was transported to in the film) it seems that hoverboards are actually an innovation that will (hopefully) soon be available to the average consumer. For all intents and purposes, we are living in the future.
The development of self-driving cars, sex robots and 3d printing (to name a few) are emblematic of something important: that human ingenuity is rooted in imagination and that, right now, it seems that we are capable of creating pretty much anything that we can imagine. This limitless imagination, ingenuity and creativity typifies a culture that is growing more and more reliant on technology. This is a natural progression and one that is aimed at making our lives, as humans, easier by tasking computers and robots with carrying out duties that are tedious (and sometimes menial) in order to allow us more leisure time - time that will inevitably allow people to spend focusing on leisure activities and, if you're so inclined, future creative innovations.
Inevitably, some will be wary of these incredible advances. To them I say chill out and enjoy this beautiful, rapidly progressing tech-based world that we have the privilege to be a part of. In any event, prepare to have your mind blown as you navigate through 11 of our most incredible tech breakthroughs.
11 IO Hawk
According to the company, the technology is an "intelligent mobility device." It's basically, from what I can tell, a Segway without the handlebars which actually makes it a lot cooler. In fact, a lot of rappers have picked up on the trend early. Justin Bieber, Soulja Boy and Chris Brown have all been spotted cruising around on the IO Hawk.
The mobility device is extremely agile, using foot pressure to gauge movement and speed. The IO Hawk is battery powered, reaching speeds up to 6.2 m.p.h. Justin, if you're planning to head to the store, you might want to use your sports car. The IO Hawk is currently available but on back order until October 15, 2015.
10 Google X's Project Loon
Project Loon is a research and development project Google hopes will change the way people access the Internet. The goal is to use balloons capable of traveling to extremely high altitudes that are placed in the atmosphere and capable of creating 3G wireless internet service.
Using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the balloon can adjust their altitude and direction to maintain service. To use the service, people will have to connect to the network by installing an Internet antenna to their building. Not only that, the technology will reportedly be extremely reasonably priced.
9 Apple Pay
Apple Pay is a technology already available to the public that could change the way that IRL monetary transactions go down. If you're an Apply Pay user, you can pay for things by swiping your phone in front of a digital reader. A problematic aspect of the tech's introduction is that not all retailers have jumped on the bandwagon, installing digital readers. During the new service's announcement on September 9, 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the current payment process "broken" and "outdated" for its "reliance on plastic cards.
Visa, MasterCard and Google have all jumped on as supporters. Like most of their products, Apple Pay will be both revolutionary and wildly successful.
8 True Companion's Roxxxy Sex Robot
According to the company's website, "Roxxxy is the world's first sex robot!" Incredible, I know, an actual sex robot. Whether you want to get freaky with Roxxxy or you just think she's creepy, you must appreciate the ingenuity and the advancement in robotics. There are three different Roxxxy models.
Roxxxy Pillow (an armless, legless, pillow based sex robot) that retails for $995. Then there's the Roxxxy Silver, a full-sized model that is capable of "sex talk" but cannot hear. The silver retails for $2,995. The top of the line Roxxxy sex doll is of course the Roxxxy Gold. Her price isn't listed, but the site does explain that Roxxxy can speak and hear and that her personality (one of five: Frigid Farrah, Wild Wendy, S&M Susan, Young Yoko, Mature Martha) is dictated by the personality of her boyfriend.
7 Oculus VR Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift is an incredibly cool new virtual reality technology that blossomed out of a Kickstarter campaign by Oculust VR. Ultimately the campaign raised over $2.5 million that all went into developing this groundbreaking, VR technology. When the Oculus Rift hits the market in early 2016, there's no telling how much demand there will be for it.
Virtual reality has long been the source of great disappointment, especially among video game fanatics (think the awful virtual reality experiences at arcades). But it looks like Oculus has really created a quality and immersive product.
6 EHang Ghost Drone
The EHang Ghost drone is a consumer friendly, extremely easy-to-use new piece of technology that has a lot of people very excited. The cool thing about the Ghost Drone is that it can be flown using only a smartphone. The interface is easy to use, as take off and landing can be controlled with one single click. There are two types of basic Ghost Drones, one for iOS and Wi-Fi usage and the other for Android. Both retail for $599.
5 Logbar Ring ZERO
Not a whole lot is known about this product, but according to this product's website, "ring zero is a futuristic device that enhances people's lives." The Ring ZERO is quite literally a ring that allows users to do various activities (closing curtains, control music on a phone) with the simple wave of a finger. The device uses Bluetooth technology. The movement controls are programmed into your phone and identified to carry out the desired task.
4 StoreDot Smartphone Battery Turbo-Recharge
StoreDot's technology is the product of an Israeli start-up. Although the product is not yet available for consumer consumption, it seems to be incredibly promising. The company's light speed charge technology was shown off at this year's Computer Electronic Show and was understandably a huge hit. In addition to wowing the show's throngs, the technology also gained attention with multi-billionaire Roman Abramovich and telecom monolith Samsung.
StoreDot can be used to charge just about everything (tablets, laptops, watches and, of course, phones) but the company is now developing methods to apply the technology to charging electric cars. This seems like a potential game-changer for all the people whose cellphones seem to perpetually be on 10 per cent (your frustrated author included).
3 Megascale Desalination
Addressing the issue of the world's pressing need for new freshwater sources, a consortium of water-minded companies (IDE Technologies, Poseidon Waters, Desalitech and Evoqua) have banded together to make water desalination a global possibility. With the world's population growing and droughts beginning to have a more pressing effect, it is absolutely vital that we find alternative sources for drinking water. Megascale Desalination could possibly be that solution.
Hundreds of millions of people don't have enough clean drinking water available to them. This sort of widespread water desalination process could potentially have an unbelievably important impact on civilization.
2 Lexus Slide Hoverboard
Literally ripped from the plot line of the aforementioned Back to the Future II comes Lexus' unbelievable Slide Hoverboard. Although no plans have been made for the retail release of this super cool piece of technology, Lexus introduced its project through a series of online videos that showcased their hoverboard.
Granted, it does seem like kinks still need to be worked out and that, based on the attached video, it is somewhat difficult to ride. Nonetheless, the prospect of an actual hoverboard should be enough to get just about anyone excited.
1 Mercedes F 015 - Self-Driving Car
The Mercedes F 015 Luxury in Motion is a driverless car prototype that looks like a sleek, metallic space car. The interior seems to have been designed almost entirely for comfort. The driver and passenger seats swivel (away from the windshield) so that they can face the back seats. The design is both beautiful and, once again, very space-like. Additional benefits are various touchscreen controls that can be used for both business and entertainment purposes. Although the F 015 Luxury in Motion is still decidedly a concept car with no clear release date, it is apparently of high importance to Mercedes-Benz and their future. For good reason, the F 015 is setting the tone by bringing style, leisure and comfort to the driverless car revolution. Check out a video below.