We’re ready to bid adieu to the year 2016 but welcome innovative technological solutions that’ll are aimed at making our lives easier. From hands-free payment and interactive VR tech to autonomous, electrical vehicles and private space exploration innovations, this year was an important one. It witnessed the advent rise of technologies that might very soon define our future. So let’s dive in and take a look at the eye-catching innovations that are hard to ignore.
Green and sustainable tech had already been catching heat but 2016 can truly be called the year of self-driving vehicles. It saw legendary innovator Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla extend the scope of its Autopilot technology with the addition of a complete set of robust self-driving hardware. Thus, making it capable of Level 5 autonomy. All cars built since now pack eight surround cameras that provide an all-around 360-degree visibility, and twelve updated optical cameras to provide twice the scanning range without disrupting the beauty of the vehicle. Tesla plans to deliver a software update for its vehicles to make them autonomous and substantially safer than human drivers.
Amazon plans to take the cashier out of your shopping experience at its new brick and mortar stores. But, wait, who’ll take their place? Yeah, you guessed it. No one. Called Amazon Go, this is the American e-commerce giant’s attempt to make shoplifting legal. Amazon has now teased us with a shopping experience that employs computer vision, and machine learning technologies to seamlessly update your shopping list – the moment you pick up an item and pay for them without even having to interact with a human or your device. Using this Walk-out technology, you just need to open the Amazon Go app, scan it at entry and exit, pick the groceries you need and voila! You’re done shopping!
I believe this year turned out to be good for the creative crowd. Thanks to the new MacBook Pro!? Nah! I’m talking about Microsoft’s all-in-one touchscreen PC ‘Surface Studio.’ With a beautiful forged aluminum body, 28-inch 4.5k UltraHD display, and top-of-the-line internals, the Surface Studio has been designed to enable you to bring your ideas to life. The content appearing on the screen of the Surface Studio is exactly the same size as real objects, thus making it intuitive to work. This can also be coupled with the Surface Dial, which is a circular input device for touch-based Windows 10 PCs.
This year, Snapchat no longer remained the ephemeral chat app popular among millennials. It rebranded itself into Snap Inc. and released its first ever hardware product in the form of ‘Spectacles.’ Not just any pair of eyeglasses but one with 115-degree camera lens attached to it. You can tap the side of the eyeglasses to begin recording a 10-second circular video which is saved in the Memories section of the Snapchat app. These funky-looking Spectacles became a mass attraction in no time. And people shelled out $129.99 to buy them using Snapbots — dispensers which were placed at random locations around the U.S.
Hey, are you interested in partying or chilling in the virtual world? Just grab your Samsung Gear VR headset and be transported into a “Virtual Living Room” kind of space, the moment you decide conversations in VR aren’t fun enough without being there in person. Oculus’ latest feature is Rooms and it enables people online to create a separate living space to see and interact with each other’s virtual avatars. In this world, the living space is further divided into sections including a hangout room to sit down and chat, a dressing room for changing avatars, video streaming room and a board-game room to spend some quality time with your friends. This is just the beginning of the futuristic tech that’ll soon surprise us and make our lips form an ‘O’ regularly.