Our history (and landfills) are piled high with devices that never quite delivered. Remember Microsoft’s Zune, which hopelessly tried to take on the iPod? Or the two-wheeled Segway, a failure to the tune of 30 000 sales in seven years? Yep, for every genius gadget there’s a bunch of duds, which is why we’ve set our BS monitors on high and put the next-gen tech of the moment to the test.
By MH Staff - Posted on 29th January 2015
There’s a new wave of next-gen tech on the market
Google started a wave when they went all in with Google Glass,
a wearable technology that overlays what you’re seeing with information, essentially turning you into a T2
without the whole robot assassin thing. Think of it as a life heads-up display. Although pretty clunky right now, this technology is the future – especially in more discrete forms like contact lenses. Keep an eye out for this one. (See what we
VERDICT: NOT YET
2 4K TVs
Bigger and better is what the 4K TV ads promise. Simply put, 4K means that the screen has about 4 000
horizontal pixels (our current HD TVs only have 1 080). A sharper image does sound more appealing, but there’s a bigger problem facing early adopters than the exorbitant price tag that comes with these units. Where we’re at, very little content is being produced in 4K. It’s sort of like owning a DVD player when your local video store is still on the VHS train.
VERDICT: NOT YET
3 Curved TVs
Here’s the shtick: by creating a
television screen with a slight arc
– now possible thanks to the OLED display (organic light-emitting diodes) – you get a more immersive experience. Sure, it’s impressive at first, but the gimmick gets old quicker than reruns of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Bottom line: don’t reinvent the wheel. The future of television is in larger, cheaper units and better projectors – not curved screens.
4 Virtual Reality
We’re talking ultimate immersion, thanks to the advent of OLED and its ability to bring light, practical VR into the home of guys who aren’t Tony Stark. Couple that with the focus on mobile (and therefore smaller, more powerful) processors and VR is suddenly looking very legit. The names
to know are the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. The kinks are still being ironed out (dizziness, nausea) but don’t let that stop you discovering a whole new reality.
5 3D Printing
3D printing is the future – except it’s already here, and comes with the promise of being able to create
anything (no really, someone’s even made a gun) all at the press of a
button. There are a couple of brands slowly becoming household names, most famously the MakerBot, but they’re all still facing output struggles. It can take hours to print something and is currently quite expensive, given the cost of the polymer with which the printer builds the items. Over time, though, this will get cheaper
– and the technology more viable.
6 Wearable Health Tech
Health monitoring devices have become a big market player over the last year and a bit (there’s even talk of an Apple device in the works). Most of them currently take the form of a wristband that collects data and link it to your smartphone; Jawbone’s UP and Fitbit are possibly the most famous. The success of this new technology relies on its popularity. The more people who adopt it, the more data can be recorded and thus the more companies will be willing to invest. This is the future of health.
7 Smart Homes
With Wi-Fi enabled lighting, app-controlled home security and household central locking, our homes are growing up fast. The technology
may be in its infancy now, but plans are already in the works to introduce an operating system that can
handle every aspect of your home. Until then, locking yourself out is still a very real possibility.
VERDICT: NOT YET
8 Electric Cars
Elon Musk and Tesla Motors made electric cars sexy – and made them a viable market contender. So why aren’t these battery-
operated bad boys dominating our highways? Basically, the world’s electricity plants are coal operated, which means they’re still dealing a heavy blow to the
environment (and undermining the whole point of electric travel). Can demand change that? It’s like asking if everyone suddenly went vegetarian, would people stop farming sheep? Let’s wait and see.