What will the tech world bring us in 2014? To look ahead first we must look back at some of Vancouver Gadgets most compelling posts of 2013.
Wearable technology was a big topic in 2013 and we’ll hear more about it this year. Google Glass is foremost on people’s minds these days but this type of tech has been around long before Google came along.
Some of you may remember the movie the Lawnmower Man in which virtual reality (VR) was used extensively to bolster a man’s intelligence. This movie came out in 1992 and shed light on what was happening with VR at the time. VR displays immersed the user completely in the experience cutting them off from the outside world. This type of tech differs from Google Glass but did point the way for the wearable tech craze of the last few years.
Vancouver company Recon Instruments has been involved in the wearable technology game for a while as well. Recon’s Snow2, ski goggles with heads up display technology or HUD, brings you up to the minute data while you head down the slopes. This is ideal for Olympic athletes and others training for World Cup Ski races. Snow has a modular design that allows it to be integrated into many leading goggle brands. The HUD can either be purchased pre-installed or separate from the goggles, whereby you simply snap fit the HUD into the specially designed Recon Ready goggle frame.
Recon’s Jet, HUD technology for cyclists, will be shipping in Spring 2014. Jet is the first heads up display for sports and like Snow 2 brings the same type of information right to the front of your glasses. Using an HD camera, Integrated speaker and microphone you’ll get the latest stats and info you need while you role along on your ride.
Wearable tech isn’t limited to glasses or HUD and includes things such as watches. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear launched in September of 2013 allowing them to beat Apple in that department. Galaxy Gear retails for around 300$ dollars and is a must to try this year.
3D printing is a slight misnomer as it is actually personal manufacturing. In other words you’re not actually printing on paper but may be creating parts, prototypes and such. We spoke about 3D printing back in August, I predicted that, “soon we won’t have to venture
off to Home Depot to get a replacement shower head. Why bother getting in your car to buy a $50 part when you can print it off at home for $2. Now that being said, some people are worried that the personal manufacturing revolution will put companies like Home Depot and Lowe’s out of business in a similar way that MP3s put record and CD stores out of business.” It’s an interesting thought and one that we should keep in mind as the cost of 3D printers become even more affordable in 2014.
On the business side of things, multinational companies are taking an interest in telepresence robotics to manage and work with remote workforces. Rather than sending management and workers to remote sites corporations are finding significant savings by installing telepresence robots that can be controlled from remote workstations. Companies looking to get their feet wet in this space, “may want to look at a turn key solution such as the offering available from Suitable Technologies called “The Beam.” These units start around $16,000 so not too expensive yet you probably want to do your research before making a commitment. Personally this is the way I would go for enterprise level purchasing as the turn key device is very attractive and time to production is minimized. Plus there is a full customer support and maintenance path here if you run into issues.” In 2014 we should see a surge in this space as companies struggle to remain competitive amidst shaky global economic conditions.
Check out Jay Kenobi and Ben Abel of Vancouver Gadgets on CKNW on Thursday Jan 2, 2014 as we discuss these and other topics – Tech Predictions 2014.
Happy New Year!
Jay and Ben