Technology is evolving at such an astounding rate that within one person’s lifetime there will be electronic devices that will become obsolete. While it used to be that certain electronics were around for an entire era, nowadays it can be difficult to keep up with all the changes happening to everyday items.
Because the advancement of technology has begun to exponentially increase, it can be difficult for anyone to keep up with the latest developments in electronics and gadgets. While it was once a sign of the elite to have a car phone, now every household is equipped with multiple cellular phones and tablets for every age.
From medical advancements to everyday appliances, the world is always looking for what the next big thing will be to enhance the daily routine. What’s interesting is that many of the futuristic items found in Sci-Fi movies from the past are already available to us. While we’re not exactly at the stage of flying around in spaceships like in The Jetsons or carrying on a relationship with our operating system like in Her, we have already surpassed the “future” date of 2015 in Back to the Future Part II.
Some of the latest technological advancements in gadgets are readily available for purchase, and others are slated to be in the works in the near future. We've ranked these tech marvels from a boost in convenience to absolutely awe-inspiring. Check out our list of the 15 advancements in technology that will blow your mind.
One of the futuristic items in Back to the Future Part II was the shoes worn by Marty McFly in the “future” (the year 2015). It doesn’t seem like much by today’s comparisons, but in 1989 it seemed absolutely incredible to have shoes that could lace themselves. As the future date approached, Nike started on a project to bring those shoes to fruition. They made 1500 pairs of the Nike Air Mag “Marty McFly” shoe, and partnered with the Michael J. Fox Foundation toward working for a cure for Parkinson’s disease. They auctioned the shoes on eBay, and gave all net proceeds to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The shoe was meant to emulate the exact shoe from the film, and features a glowing LED panel and electroluminescent logo on the strap. It is a rechargeable shoe that can illuminate with just a simple squeeze at the high top, and glows for five hours per charge. If the lights and power lacing capability don’t impress you, there are a variety of new lace clips that now eliminate the need for traditional laces altogether.
While there was a time when the best home appliances merely consisted of working belts and perhaps a water filtration system if you’re lucky, times have certainly changed to include all the technological advancements of the time. Samsung, one of the leading tech companies in the world, has branched out into home appliances. The commercials featuring Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard have brought attention towards some of the latest and innovative products offered by Samsung. The biggest revelation comes with their Family Hub smart refrigerator. There are three built-in cameras that can be accessed my any mobile device, built-in speakers to stream music, and the ability to mirror a smart television on the 21.5” touchscreen. Gone are the days of sticking photos on the fridge with a magnet, the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator has Wi-Fi capability and can access all your photos with ease. Why attach one photo, when you can have a streaming photo gallery or slideshow to liven up your brand new fridge.
Video games have made huge leaps and bounds in recent years, and are far from the vintage arcade days of Pac-Man and Frogger. While the Wii system was the first to bring motion control sensors to gaming, gamers have craved an even bigger sense of reality. Virtual reality has always been a goal for gamers, ever since films like Tron and the Matrix made their way onto the big screen. Bringing this goal to fruition, a number of companies have come up with a gaming goggle system that will allow the user to be transported into the game. Samsung and LG already have some moderately priced headsets for under $200, but PlayStation just came out with the PlayStationVR Launch Bundle for just under $500. Games for virtual reality headsets include everything from fighting your way through zombies to riding roller coasters, but there are some games that are definitely not meant for kids. The porn industry has used virtual reality technology to allow users to “experience” a more adult way to game.
Nowadays, there is a password that is required to unlock every electronic device you have. From your smart television to your tablets and cellular phones, there seems to be a million passwords that you have to remember even before you have your morning coffee. In an effort to add a little more convenience to daily life, Motorola has developed an electronic pill. The pill contains a tiny chip that is soaked into the digestive fluids, and the electrolyte stomach powers up an “18-bit, EKG-like signal from your insides.” The body becomes an authenticator, and then can be synced up to unlock all your digital devices. The FDA has already given it the green light, and deems it safe to be taken thirty times a day. However, the pill only needs to be taken once a day to remain effective. Just as pets are all being microchipped, humans may all one day become transmitters as well. Not only will you spend less time trying to remember all those passwords, but you can rest assured no one will be able to hack your phone.
The increase of the population of the world has brought on a number of problems for its inhabitants, from overpopulated countries to famine throughout the globe. Yet, it’s not just new births that have become a problem, but also the fact that there has to be somewhere to put the deceased. Cemeteries are not limitless, and more has become known about the negative effects on the environment with decomposing bodies buried in the ground. A few new methods have arisen to alleviate this problem, with many gearing towards an environmentally-friendly process. In Sweden, Promessa is a company that uses cryogenic freezing and liquid nitrogen that crystallizes the body to disintegrate into particles. The biodegradable coffin can be buried in a shallow grave, and turns into nutrient-rich soil. For those not keen on being disintegrated after death, the Capsula Mundi is an Italian design that replaces the coffin with a burial pod that supplies nutrient-rich soil to a tree. Cemeteries would become memorial gardens with lush and beautiful trees rather than tombstone plots.
When Marty McFly was seen riding around on a hoverboard in Back to the Future II, the world was transfixed with the idea of a skateboard that could hover above ground. There have been some advances in scooters and bikes in recent years, with the closest thing to a hoverboard being a Segway. While Segways had their time in the limelight for awhile, they weren’t exactly thought of as something that could easily be toted around for today’s youth. Also, the cool factor pretty much went out the window once Paul Blart was seen riding it in Mall Cop. In an attempt to make a more user-friendly hoverboard, a number of companies have come out with self-balancing hoverboards with wheels. Yet, many of these companies have undergone problems since malfunctioning batteries and plugs caused the units to light on fire. Razor, Jetson, and Hover X are among the few companies left that still have their hoverboards available for purchase online. For those that would rather wait for the real thing, the Hendo 2.0 is a hoverboard without wheels and uses magnetic field architecture technology to create the effect of levitation. Keep your eyes peeled for this one!
While telephones used to be purely utilitarian, they have become more like miniature computers that are attached to everyone's hand in recent years. People must be warned not to use their phones while driving, and often pedestrians walking on the street are bumped into by strangers glued to their phones. Understanding the public’s need to be glued to their phones, a few companies are inventing ways to access your phone’s touch screen on the arm. The Cicret Bracelet comes with a memory card, USB port, Bluetooth capability, and Wi-Fi. It projects the phone’s content on the arm above the bracelet and has sensors that allow users to interact with the screen as if it was their phone. It is completely waterproof, and perfect for those times when you’re checking your messages while in the bath. The YouTube video showcasing the bracelet has millions of views, with everyone wondering when they will finally be able to get their own. This is definitely a product to keep an eye out for, as it will completely change the way we interact with our phones.
In the film, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, one of the most interesting parts involved placing a living fish into the ear to translate any language spoken. This seemed like such a fantastical notion, but something that definitely deserved some looking into. Rather than using some sort of parasitical fish, Waverly Labs has come up with a new in-ear device called The Pilot. It comes with two in-ear devices that are quite discreet but come in three colors: black, white, and red. The device works with a handy phone app that allows users to scroll to whatever language they require translated. It retails for $129, and is slated to be released to the public in September. Yet people are already flocking to pre-order theirs today. The device is in its early stages and so far only includes French, Spanish, Italian, and English. While it’s an amazing technological feat for those wanting to communicate with others without flipping through a foreign dictionary, it does open the door to a huge loss of jobs in the future. The technology shows that there will no longer be a need for translators once this device starts to expand to encompass all languages.
In the Sci-Fi thriller, Minority Report, Tom Cruise’s character used a high tech version of a smart board while trying to fight crime. He was able to manipulate his computerized projected screens with just a swipe of his hands, and manipulation of his fingers. Gest is a company building on this idea, by getting rid of all the traditional tools usually necessary in manipulating a computer. It is a wearable device that attaches to the hand and fingers, and does away with things like a touch screen pen or a mouse. It coordinates with your apps so you can maneuver through favorite controls, like changing songs or turning up the volume. It can also link to keyboard shortcuts in a way that will revolutionize the way we interact with computers. Instead of being attached to a mouse or keyboard and risk things like carpal tunnel syndrome, Gest is a way to do away with two-dimensional computer controls.
The world has yet to come up with a time-traveling phone booth like in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but we are on our way to something a little closer to Iron Man’s suit. Jetpack America is a company that specializes in hydroflight equipment that allows users to fly over water. People compare the experience to an amped up parasailing adventure or a new way to enjoy skydiving. The jet packs have been available for mainstream use since 2011, and have over 25,000 runs to date. The Flyboard has strap-on boots, the X-Board is shaped similarly to a skateboard, the Jetbike is an innovative way to jetski, and the Jetpack is a wearable device that straps onto the users’ back. Companies rent their use for a day out in the sun, but you can also buy your very own Jetpack product to be the coolest person at the beach. Other companies are already starting to build on this concept, with some not even needing the packs to be flown over water. With any luck, people will start taking their jet packs to work instead of fighting through morning traffic.
People have made a number of comparisons when they first get a look at the Aero-X bike. Some have likened it to the flying bicycle in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but others think it’s something that’s straight out of Star Wars. The bike actually hovers above ground for up to 10 feet, and can carry two people. It has a speed up to 45 miles per hour, and can be flown over any surface. The controls make it similar to driving a motorbike, so it isn’t like learning how to fly a helicopter or anything. There has been so much intrigue over the design that many have looked into the prospects for agricultural or commercial use. Things like pipeline inspection or bridge maintenance can all be achieved by this technological marvel, but so far the company has released it for private use on any surface that is off-highway. It hasn’t been cleared for on-road use, but it is available for purchase at $85,000. After ordering online, you will receive your very own hover bike in under a month.
Transportation problems have become a huge concern in recent years, from the exorbitant cost of fuel to the faulty railway and subway systems. Since many of these systems have been in place for decades, the cost to upkeep and maintain them in working order seems to outweigh their function. A country that is working to solve the transportation problem is China. At the 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo in March 2016, they unveiled the Transit Elevated Bus. It is an electric-powered elevated bus that runs on rails. It can carry 1,200 passengers, and has a tunnel system in place that allows cars to pass through. This alleviates congestion on the roads, maximizes road space, and bypasses traffic for commuters. Not only does it cost less to build and construct than a subway system, but it reduces pollution in high populated areas. Testing and initial trials will be completed at the end of the year, and it is slated to be up-and-running in the following year.
The traditional grocery store has gone through a number of changes in recent years, with many putting a focus on convenience and freshness rather than the same old supermarket in the traditional sense. From groceries delivered to your door from Peapod to ready-made meals from Blue Apron, the world is constantly in search of the next big thing in grocery shopping. The latest innovation comes as a drive-thru supermarket designed by a Russian inventor. Customers no longer have to park their cars and walk inside, instead they drive into the store itself. Cars pull into an aisle with vertical shelves and place their chosen items on the conveyor belt. Each item is scanned and placed into bags, while workers behind the scenes restock the shelves. Everything is done for convenience to the shopper, while costs are made much lower for the vendor. While grocery delivery services often come at a steep price, this drive-thru supermarket is both cost-effective and convenient.
Like something out of a James Bond movie or a Mission Impossible film, a number of companies have started to produce smart glasses and contact lenses. Google Glass was the first to venture out into smartglasses, but some other companies picked up where they left off. The Vuzix M300 is perhaps one of the most sophisticated in its design, since it has a more rugged frame and 16GB of internal storage. It comes with Wi-Fi capability and a 13-megapixel camera. For those wanting something a little less obtrusive, Sony has filed a patent on contact lenses that can record video. It comes with blinking technology that allows for zoom, focus, and can even erase black frames. The technology can differentiate between blinks and voluntary movements, and can revolutionize how we live our daily lives. Gone are the days of memories that are hard to recall- these high tech lenses will allow you to relive each moment as they happened.
In The Jetsons, everyone went off to work in their very own spaceships, with room for the whole family – even Astro. While we haven’t yet discovered how to zoom around outer space, a Massachusetts-based aerospace company has come up with the next best thing. Terrafugia has come up with The TF-X, a four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that has mastered the ability for vertical takeoffs and landings. It can take off anywhere, like a helicopter, and doesn’t need to land at an airport. It has an automatic system that can take off and land the vehicle all on its own. The driver can take over manual controls at any time, and the shape of its design allows it to fit in a standard garage. The video featuring The Terrafugia TF-X shows how innovative its design is. It drives just like a car, with wings that fold inward when not in use. The computer control can take you anywhere you want to go with twin electric pods, a megawatt of power, 300 horsepower, and a cruise speed of 200 miles per hour. It has a 500 mile range, and will become the next evolution in travel.