Personal robots, featherweight TVs and paying with your face — the future is full of luxury, convenience and engineering breakthroughs. These are exciting times, as some of the new devices being released are truly amazing.
Check out these five emerging technologies that will change the tech game as early as next year.
1. Personal robot assistants
What once seemed like a technology light years away is now just around the corner. With the smart home trend on the rise, personal robot assistants such as Kuri and the LG Hub will soon be entering our homes.
Kuri, created by the Bosch-backed Mayfield Robotics, is a robot “nanny” with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a built-in 1080p security camera. By learning your household patterns, Kuri scans your floor plan and then zips around to check on you, your kids and even your pets. But Kuri does a lot more, bringing a "spark to your home." This adorable robot is IFTTT compatible, plays music and podcasts directly from its built-in speakers, charges itself, can recognize your voice and will even read you a bedtime story. Current shipping dates are scheduled for Spring 2018.
LG’s Hub Robot is similar to Kuri in that it learns its user’s patterns and commands, plays music and tells you the weather — but LG has not announced its release date. The company has plans for another version of its personal robot, called Airbot, that will assist travelers at airport terminals — providing them with helpful information, directions and even walking them to their gate. The cute helper will first be seen making its rounds in South Korea's Incheon airport later in 2017.
2. Featherweight wall-mount TVs
These cutting-edge TVs have three things in common: they’re thin, light and boast incredible picture quality. One of note, the LG OLED W7 featherweight TV looks less like a television and more like a projector screen — seamlessly blending in when mounted on the wall. Its 4K resolution makes for stunning picture quality and the OLED technology (Organic Light Emitting Diode) commonly found in smartphones and laptop screens but rare for large-screen TVs can dramatically enrich the black tones on screen. The 65-inch model weighs a mere 17 pounds — while the 77-inch version clocks in at 27 pounds.
As these featherweight TVs become the norm, we can expect to see them at events and trade shows, and particularly in offices where large screens are used for presentations and team brainstorming huddles. Position yourself as a technology-driven business during a client pitch and say “hello” to the future. Gone are the days of clunky screens that require a stand to sit on and two people to shift around.
3. Solving accessibility issues with technology
Emerging technology is delighting us with luxury and downright futuristic geekiness, but it’s also making huge strides for the visually impaired. The eSight 3 headset, according to their website, is a “breakthrough in electronic glasses that let(s) the legally blind actually see.”
The hands-free headset is built with a high-speed, high-definition camera that captures what the user is looking at, enhances the image and displays it on two OLED screens in front of their eyes. The eSight’s built-in camera provides sight with almost zero latency and allows users to instantly auto-focus between short-range, medium-range and long-range vision.
The eSight also features an incredibly handy "Bioptic Tilt" capability, where users can “adjust the device to the precise position that, for them, presents the best view of the video while maximizing side peripheral vision.” This helps with the user’s balance, prevents nausea and enables mobility.
4. Hassle-free fitness tracking
Fitness trackers like the Fitbit and Garmin Activity Tracker have sprinted into the technology scene the past few years, but not without their pitfalls. While useful, most of them are not waterproof and, due to their design and lack of universal comfort, are not ideal to wear the entire day — including while showering and sleeping.
This is where the Motiv Ring comes in: a fitness, heart rate and sleep tracker in the form of a sleek, stylish ring made of ultralight titanium. The Bluetooth-enabled tracker connects to its respective app in order to track your steps taken, how long you've been active, what activities you've done, your heart rate, calories burned, the distance you've traveled, length of sleep and resting heart rate. All of these metrics provide a more robust reporting of your physical fitness and a better understanding of your overall health — inspiring you to meet your fitness goals. Shipping is expected to begin this year.
5. Paying with your face
While the concept seems like something out of an episode of Black Mirror, face-detecting systems for real-life applications such as surveillance and banking are closer to reality than we think.
Ranking 11th place on MIT Technology Review’s 50 Smartest Companies in 2017, Face++ Cognitive Services is a Chinese startup that sells facial recognition services that power many popular apps, allowing users to log in with their face or pay at checkout by looking into a camera. By tracking up to 106 points on a person's face, the technology can understand a user's emotions and single out people's faces from large photo banks.
Some of the startup’s biggest clients include Lenovo, UCAR (a Chinese taxi cab service) and Alipay, the leading online payment platform founded in China. As the technology evolves and expands into new countries, get ready to ditch PINs and passwords, as your face will be all you need.