Prototype gadgets turn fiction into reality
Each year the technology sector unleashes a collection of new gadgets and gizmos for the consumer to potentially adopt. This season, heavyweights and underdogs alike will compete to attract customers and investors to the next big thing.
Here are some of the cutting-edge designs that could change society and make every day a little more like the Jetsons:
You read that correctly, the Google Cardboard is an inexpensive way to experience the wonder of virtual reality. With a price tag of roughly $20 on Amazon, Cardboard uses interactions between magnets, embedded optics and a smartphone to produce an image within the cardboard shell. One complaint from the product testers revealed that the virtual motion could use some work, but that the overall experience was positive.
Advertisements for the device show a classroom full of students using the cardboard device to explore a canyon and go on a virtual field trip.
A powerful microchip developed by Google, Project Soli can read small twitches of a user’s hands and fingers to use the device without a button or switch. Available soon for use in everyday appliances and gadgets, the chip utilizes radar feedback to interpret what a person is doing. For example, an MP3 player’s volume can be adjusted by making a small motion without ever actually touching the device.
The chip constantly sends out radar signals that rely on the motion of a user’s fingers to control the device in which it is installed. This is a completely different approach to motion-capture technology which usually uses more primitive radio or LED means.
Soli’s sensors can capture motion at up to 10,000 frames per second, according to mashable.com, making it one of the fastest available chips for motion tracking.
Visa’s cashless society
In Denmark, cash is becoming a thing of the past. Through microchips and banks cards, the Danish government could be leading the way to a purely cashless
Enter a new microchip by Visa Australia, which can be implanted into a person’s arm. The chip makes payments intuitive and easy, without the need for cumbersome cash or a plastic card. In a commercial by Visa, customers wouldn’t have to wait in a checkout line, but rather get the chip scanned as they walk out the door.
With the current design, expected to be finalized for mass-use around late 2016 or early 2017, Visa is hoping to eliminate the need for hard currency.
In a straw poll taken in Australia, 25 percent of respondents say they would consider getting the implant. Earlier this year, according to Fortune, the Danish Parliament began backing legislation that would allow stores to refuse customers paying with cash in support of the trend of ecommerce.
Saving the best for last, the Cicret Bracelet is one step closer to the Omni-Tool that is used in the Mass Effect video game series. In a nutshell, it allows the user control of a tablet or phone through the flick of a wrist-mounted bracelet that projects a screen onto the user’s forearm.
The bracelet is waterproof and can be operated anywhere for instant access to the Internet and telephone. It comes in several colors and will be ready for distribution at the end of this year. This is one of those ‘shut up and take my money’ devices that could replace smartphones and tablets, if everything goes according to the designer’s plan.