This year has been pretty amazing for society: we have pushed ourselves and broken some boundaries. A curious little rover explored the surface of Mars, a man jumped from space and Google is taking on Siri.
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There have been some pretty cool tech innovations this year and we decided to pick a few of the ones that impressed us the most. We expect some difference of opinion here, however, these innovations came out tops in our books.
Here you go, in no particular order:
This new technology interprets natural hand movements with remarkable accuracy and lets users operate peripherals like TVs and computers with their hands. According to the folks at Leap Motion:
The Leap senses your individual hand and finger movements independently, as well as items like a pen. In fact, it’s 200x more sensitive than existing touch-free products and technologies. It’s the difference between sensing an arm swiping through the air and being able to create a precise digital signature with a fingertip or pen.
So what actually is it? The Leap is a small iPod-sized USB peripheral that creates a 3D interaction space of eight cubic feet to precisely interact with and control software on your laptop or desktop computer. Industries from gaming and medicine are never going to be the same again, given the 100th of a millimetre accuracy that can be achieved by the technology.
Tesla Model S:
At 250-300 miles per charge, 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds and zero tailpipe emissions, Elon Musk really has done it by producing a sedan like the Model S. Frank Marcus from Motor Trend was famously quoted as saying “my eyes are wide and my jaw has dropped” when he reviewed the car and it has subsequently been voted as its car of the year. Motor Trends goes onto say: “”It drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive. But it’s also as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce, can carry almost as much stuff as a Chevy Equinox, and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius. By any measure, the Tesla Model S is a truly remarkable automobile, perhaps the most accomplished all-new luxury car since the original Lexus LS 400.”
Google’s answer to Siri is proving to be quite a hit with Jellybean Android users. The software anticipates the user’s needs based on their location and time of day; and provides relevant information like train times and weather. Soon it will also be able to provide information like the location of friends if it integrates with Google Latitude — the future looks bright for gaming too.
Google leapt onto the pages of product launch infamy when it filmed skydivers jumping out of a plane and delivering a package into the auditorium on Google Glass. If I had to choose a favourite must-have gadget of the year, it would have to be Glass as it most clearly represents where Google is set to go in the future: hyper-local reality. Glass’s integration with other Google products like Google Now and Latitude is going to make living a lot easier.
Apple’s Retina Display:
Apple has done a lot in recent years with regards to displays – making them smaller, increasing the pixels per inch etc, but the introduction of Retina Display in 2012 really pushed the boat out in terms of creating a display that has reduced glare (by 75%), better viewing angles, crisper type face, and four times better resolution when viewing photos. The only down side is that applications have to be updated to take advantage of the display.
The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer board that plugs into a TV and a keyboard. It’s a miniature ARM-based PC which can be used for many of the things that a desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays High-Definition video. The Raspberry Pi model B board is supplied as the board only, and comes without operating system, SD card, power supply, keyboard, case or cables. Raspberry Pi itself want to see its hardware being used by kids to learn programming — a noble venture indeed.
Tablets are nothing new Microsoft’s Surface has the weight and feel of a gen 1 iPad, but on closer inspection we can see that this tablet is for the hardcore workaholic. The storage can easily be increased by using MicroSD memory cards and the Windows 8 Surface will have an Intel i5 processor. Microsoft is bringing out a version of Surface with Windows 8, which means it will have full PC capabilities and that programs like Photoshop will run on the tablet with minimal fuss.