Well, we’re over halfway through the year, and the world market is exploding with new technology. It seems like every month another major tech advancement is announced to the public. However, many of these culture-changing developments are overshadowed in the media by the constant stream of celebrity gossip, political theater and international turmoil. For instance, while 2016 presidential candidates snipe back and forth at each other in the news, it’s possible you didn’t hear that Amazon will soon deliver their packages by drone.
In case you’ve missed anything, here are some of the amazing new strides that will shape our culture in the years to come:
1. The first serious step in virtual reality gaming has arrived in the form of the Oculus Rift. If you’re not a gamer it might be difficult to comprehend just how big of a deal this is. In a time when gaming has movie-quality graphics, intricate plots, bone-chilling suspense, and tactical realism, the Rift offers complete visual immersion into the game. Simply put, it has the ability to transform the gaming experience into that of an interactive, high-budget Hollywood movie—and it’s only the first generation.
2. The project that began as Google Glass has now been refocused to serve the healthcare field. Google and Novartis have been working together on their latest project, Smart Contact Lenses, which will measure diabetic blood sugar levels “directly from the tear fluid on the surface of the eyeball.” This amazing tech is not limited solely to helping diabetes. In fact, they are already working on an auto-focusing feature that will adjust the eyesight of those with impaired vision. There is no telling how many applications this product might have in the coming years.
Google’s other projects include the Self-Driving Car, Project Loon—hot air balloon powered internet, and Google Views—Google Maps for the ocean floor.
3. Google’s work on wearable technology doesn’t stop at the eyes. Their creative innovation has also expanded its reach to the fashion industry. What started as a rumor is finally official; soon the touchscreen control of our devices will be woven into everyday fabrics. They call it Project Jacquard—the integration of invisible, metallic-based threads in our clothing and upholstery that will make everything from answering phones to changing the channel as easy as touching your sleeves. In fact, Levi’s® has already announced their partnership with Google on the project.
4. Lexus is hard at work developing the Slide—a prototype hover board that uses “magnetic levitation to achieve amazing frictionless movement. Liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors and permanent magnets combine to allow Lexus to create the impossible.” Lexus has been highly secretive about where they are in the development process, but they released a teaser video to get the consumer excitement going. You might remember a futuristic 2015 Marty McFly cruising around on a hover board in Back to the Future II. It seems the 1989 screenplay was eerily accurate.
5. The US Military is working on the world’s first Iron Man Suit! That’s at least what some have been calling it, but unlike that of the comic book hero, it won’t fly or shoot lasers, not yet anyway… Its real name is the TALOS—Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit. “Development of the suit is a collaborative effort between 56 corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities, and 10 national laboratories. They are working together to incorporate features including a powered exoskeleton, full-body armor, and situational-awareness displays.” It is rumored the TALOS is designed to include “an array of sensors to monitor and broadcast soldier health, and possibly wound-clotting foam that the armor would send into bullet wounds to stop bleeding.” However amazing the TALOS may be, it will still face the same obstacle as drones and high performance electric cars; the longevity of battery life.
6. The first ever space hotel, Galactic Suite will soon be open for business! Okay, it’s more of a pod than a hotel, but it’s in space! The cost is somewhere around one million dollars for a one-week stay (airfare included), so most of us won’t be going, but it’s still amazing that the human race has finally reached the point of commercial space travel.
7. While we are on the topic of space, at this very moment a group of ordinary people have been hand-selected to undergo an intensive two-year astronautics training program. Their mission, classically named Mars One, is to found the first human settlement on Mars. It is rumored that hyper sleep might be a realistic option for the team’s 7 to 8 month journey to the Red Planet. SpaceWorks, the company commissioned to engineer the hibernation technology, has not adopted the term hyper sleep, but are calling the sleep state Torpor based on its method of slowing the metabolic activity through controlled hypothermia.