With the 21st century bringing in a new wave of technology, this could signal the start of a boom in a collection of consumer items that until now have been deemed too sci-fi to be real. But now they’re coming to life. Google, Samsung, Apple, Nike and several others all have new gear to show off that is propelling us forward into a new age of products and ideas, with a myriad of uses.
With a new age comes some bold new ideas. From pure entertainment to fashion to fitness. Here are a few of the best new gadgets that are available now, and some to come in the near future.
1. Apple Watch
Apple Watch is much like other smart watches, and is compatible with iOS technologies, but has several extra features that others don’t. The Tap feature, which lets friends or loved ones know you’re thinking of them with a silent, gentle tap they’ll feel on the wrist. Heartbeat. When you press two fingers on the screen, the built-in heart rate sensor records and sends your heartbeat. The Sketch feature. Use your finger to draw something quickly. Your friend on the other end can watch your drawing animate, then respond. Being introduced with Apple Pay early in 2015, it provides a more convenient way to pay without needing a wallet. Comes with a customized stainless steel, rubber, leather or 16 karat gold wristband.
2. Google Glass
Google Glass allows users to take pictures, record their own videos in 720p and read messages on a screen hovering just over one eye, like something you’d see in video games. Glass has fitness monitors, such as a heart rate monitor, which share information in the Cloud.
3. Nike FuelBand
Nike FuelBand allows users to track movements, calories burned, and number of steps taken. Battery life is 8 days. Being very similar to other smart watches, Nike may be scrapping this sporty watch soon for other technologies, failing to really standout, and to be worth how much it costs. Another downside is that it is water-resistant, but not waterproof, like many other smart watches out there.
4. Pebble Smartwatch
Pebble Smartwatch features a black-and-white electronic LCD with backlight display, which looks much like the original iPOD mini. It is compatible with Android and iOS devices. When connected to a phone, it can receive a vibrating alert to text messages, emails, incoming calls, and notifications from social media accounts just like a smartphone. Began sale in July 2013 at Best Buy stores. Battery life is 7 days before needing a charge.
5. Hexoskin Smart Shirt
Hexoskin Smart Shirt includes 3 heart sensors, as well as chest and waist sensors. It can be worn when exercising, or as an undershirt if you want to wear it throughout the day. It tracks breathing and positions when you sleep via the iOS or Android apps. Shirts are available for both men and women- and are machine washable, believe it or not.
6. All Sport goggles by Liquid Image
All Sport goggles by Liquid Image- cross-over goggle with an integrated True POV HD Video camera that lets you record what you see in 720p, and has a battery life of 1.5 to 2 hours. Videos are recorded to a Class 4+ Micro SDHC card up to 32 GB. This is quite the piece of work, comparable to GoPRO.
7. iRing by IK Multimedia
iRing by IK Multimedia, which is shaped like a ring, can recognize your movements almost instantaneously, allowing you to create powerful electronic music performances simply by moving your hands in mid-air. Works with smartphones and tablets to create unique musical sessions anytime.
8. The Glyph
The Glyph, a wearable “personal theater.” Recently, it raised more than $1.5 million in fundraising on Kickstarter. A set of glasses that use virtual retinal display technology to give users crystal clear images via mirrors. The headset doubles as headphones, and when you flip the band down in front of your eyes, there are a series of two million miniature mirrors- not a screen- that project visuals directly into your retinas. Using a basic HDMI connection, users can transport anything from their personal devices to the Glyph and watch, or listen.
Powered by the Cloud
All of these items use some for of Cloud Storage to hold information. Lately there has been much controversy over what happens with information in the Cloud. After all, the bulk of the information stored therein is your- the public’s- information. What is being done with all of it?
There are sentries of people out there who will attest to being manipulated and watched, and of having their information mismanaged by these large companies who are willing to let the government monitor as much of it as they want. This is a fact.
But what’s also a fact is that there is so much more data being added to cloud systems now than ever before, it is really becoming more difficult for anyone to find the information they want to use for future research or product development, unless they are selling collecting and selling it. The point being, only you, the user, have the authority to let that happen where the Cloud is concerned. Every time a phone app asks to use your information, and it says, “such and such” would like to access your information- that is your portal. If you deny it, it will have nothing to collect. You are the gatekeeper of where your information- on a large scale- goes. Not all of it, but most of it. At least for now.