If you’re a fan of Back to the Future (and really, who isn’t) you’ll know that 2015 is officially ‘the future’ – it’s the year Doc and Marty travel to in the DeLorean. But, while auto-lace up shoes and Hover boards aren’t quite here yet, we can console ourselves with the following list of things tech heads can geek out about this year.
1 – Putting big data to work
We are creating and gathering an incredible amount of data – a figure only matched in its impressiveness by the speed at which this trend is growing. Way back in 2010 Google Exec Chairman Eric Schmidt claimed that the world generates 5 exabytes of data every two days – can you begin to imagine how much bigger that number is now?
Big data has been exciting tech geeks for a while. There’s something very alluring about the potential that comes with a ton of data points – whether they’re about yourself, your city, the weather or…well anything really. But of course, it only becomes really fun when you can put the data to work.
And that’s what everybody’s saying 2015 is going to be about. One of the most exciting areas that’s looking likely to hit the market this year is wearable tech and smart clothing. From Google Glass (will it, won’t it), to tech-infused clothing, like Ralph Lauren’s high performance polo shirt.
2 – The robots are here
Let’s be honest, robots have been here for a while. It’s just that factory line robots and safety inspection drones aren’t all that exciting. Particularly if – like the vast majority of tech geeks – you’ve been tapping your fingers waiting for the likes of KITT and R2D2 to appear.
But 2015 is the year robots get cool. Promise.
- Is it a bird? Is it a plane?! Even better! This year, Amazon plan to start widespread testing on using drones to deliver their packages.
- Driving change… California has issued a permit that allows companies to test self-driving cars on public streets. So if you live in that particular neighbourhood, keep an eye out for automated vehicles from Google, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
- The ‘world’s first family robot’ is meant to arrive later this year, equipped with functions like storytelling, photography, messenger, reminder and general all-round companion. Meet Jibo.
3 – When techy gets flexi
Researchers in Japan are making fast headway towards being able to create affordable flexible screens. The technology for bendy glass has been around for a while but – in its current form – is more of a pipe dream than anything else. However, the experts predict that breakthroughs in 2015 will see the paper thin, fully flexible screen make it into the marketplace. Let’s hope that also means we’ll soon be waving goodbye to those expensive screen repairs too.
4 – Better batteries
You can tell a true tech head by how excited they get (and at what length they can talk about) batteries. The trend towards wireless technology is obviously well underway, but – with our resource-intensive devices – many are experiencing frustratingly short battery lives as a result. At the moment – as you’ll be able to see with a quick look at the latest smartphone releases – the solution to this shortfall is to simply use bigger batteries.
So what’s a battery-lover got look forward to in 2015? Two things.
1 – Today, the vast majority of mobile devices use lithium ion battery technology. However, this year we can expect to see some batteries take a leap towards a new alternative, being developed by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology – a sodium-based, complex metal hydride. If all goes to plan, this should start to deliver cheaper, more stable and more powerful mobile battery power by the end of the year.
2 – We expect to see wireless charging flood the market this year. It’s already a fairly standard feature in the latest smartphone and mobile devices, so we can expect to see loads more wireless charging gadgets, stations and counters available for home use, and – fingers crossed – when we’re out and about with 4% battery left.
5 – Virtual reality becomes virtually real
This year, we’re expecting to see virtual reality take huge leaps forward. The rumour is that Oculus Rift, the industry leader, will launch an affordable commercially available product sometime in 2015. (The two billion dollars Facebook spent on acquiring them last year is probably helping with that.)
And they’re not the only ones. Although mostly using Oculus technology, we can expect to see solid VR product progress from Samsung, Sony, Nintendo, Google and Microsoft.
So it really does look like 2015 is going to be a great year for tech – with lots to look forward to and even more to save up for!