Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gadgets of the Future

by Lacey Maulding

Let's face it, technology hasn’t progressed quite like we hoped it would when we were kids. We aren’t commuting to work in flying cars, ordering around our robot assistants or traveling through time like Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the upcoming film Looper. Though we are still a ways away from our Saturday cartoon ambitions, taking a look at these ultramodern gadgets will make you feel like you are in the millennium The Jetsons promised.

Steelcase Projection

What it is: Private video conference call cubes.
Why it’s awesome: Would transform commonplace work communications into an audio/visual format that brings long distance conference calls face-to-face. An iPhone app controls lighting and audio in your choice of different sized units.
When we’ll have it: After extensive research, Steelcase unveiled their concept spaces at NeoCon2012 in June. We can anticipate a few popping up in the corporate world in the next couple of years.

Google Glasses
What it is: Augmented reality glasses.
Why it’s awesome: Essentially a wearable, digital assistant, Google Glasses can put maps, e-mails, YouTube and more right before your eyes, Terminator style. Technology this advanced would eliminate the smartphone market and make desktops and laptops obsolete.
When we’ll have it: Sergey Brin of Google has been seen rocking a prototype, and the glasses recently made more than just a fashion statement on the DVF runway at NYFW. However, the glasses are still in the early stages, and there are some accessibility issues to work out (i.e., they cost $3000).

Projection Desktop
What it is: Omni-directional projection desktop with touch keyboard base.
Why it’s awesome: The desktop/laptop hybrid that allows you to project your work onto nearly every surface. Membrane touch keyboard lights up when needed, and also provides ambient lighting upon request.
When we’ll have it: Companies such as Apple have patents on projection-based systems under development, so we aren’t too far out from no-strings-attached monitoring.

Sony HMZ-T2 3D
What it is: 3-D personal viewing and gaming system.
Why it’s awesome: With 3-D HD panels over both eyes, your viewing and live gaming experiences are more real and crisp than ever before. Unlike the first model, the T2 is incredibly light and makes color temperature adjustments to keep long viewing periods comfortable.
When we’ll have it: Goes on sale in October in Japan for $900.

Cadillac World Thorium Fuel Concept
What it is: Nuclear powered vehicle.
Why it’s awesome: Not only is the shell unbelievably badass, the car is basically fueled by lasers. Scientists have been working on a new turbine electric generator driven by thorium-based lasers that may eventually replace the combustion engine model that manufacturers have been using for over 200 years. It doesn’t fly, but who cares?
When we’ll have it: Nuclear based alternative fuels have been in the labs for years, but it is surpassing the dangers of radioactive materials that is currently keeping it from production.

Plasma Gun
What it is: Weaponized high-energy ionized gas.
Why it’s awesome: Current developments of both lethal and nonlethal weapons generate effects similar to a flash bang grenade. The created electromagnetic field can trigger muscle paralysis and nervous system takeover, resulting in excruciating pain.
When we’ll have it: Boeing and Stellar Photonics (contracted by the US Military) have been working on plasma-based concepts. As for now, plasma firearms are only theoretical.

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