The tech world does not hibernate, not even for a little bit once the New Years Eve ball drops. CES is next week, where lots of the top brands in the tech industry, all the way through to kickstarter groups, will show off their latest innovations and visions for the future... and I all forgot about my resolution last year to save towards going to CES in 2015, #fail. This year's event looks like Geek Heaven! Intel will be there too discussing key topics like "The Wearables Revolution" and "The New Computing Experience" and... I'm just itching to check out prices for flights to Las Vegas. So while I'm salivating over the fun I'll be missing at CES this year, here are five interesting concepts and cool tech that popped up in 2014.
Bits and Bytes of 2014
Pinć VR - The Smartphone Case of the Future
Turns out that the future is now with this awesome bit of pocket virtual reality. I was given the chance to see one in action earlier this month and it blew me away. Have you ever wanted to be in Tony Stark's shoes with all of that incredible tech he has at hand? The Iron Man suit is cool, but I'll admit right here that what really caught my interest in those movies were the VR consoles he had lying all over the place that let him flick through any sort of information he needed at the time. It would leave me quietly chanting, "I want that," every time I'd see one on screen. And thanks to the Indiegogo group Pinć, we can all be like Tony Stark for $99, heh. Imagine "stepping into" a virtual reality base of your iOS or Android smartphone where you can access all of your files in 3D. You could walk through a virtual shopping mall, maybe even bump into your friends while you're there, and check out all sides of that pair of shoes you so desperately want. While the app for this new reality is still in its infancy, it has so much potential to becoming more. Imagine a painter being able to wield a virtual brush, with natural movement and flexibility of those applying paint to a real canvas today; how about the ability to actually rock on while playing air guitar, or tweet with your friends in a virtual café? The concept behind Pinć VR is to take the phone you're already using and create a smartphone case that can turn into a virtual canvas the moment you need one. Keep a close eye on this company, 'cause they're going to go far with this. Their first set of commercial viable cases are rolling out this June/July 2015, and I would entirely recommend giving their Indiegogo campaign the boost they need, and you'll be able to claim that you were one of the first to ever have a Pinć.
Mothers Keeping Close to Their Preemies
A couple of my favourite bloggers, and women whom I'm honoured to be able to call friends, are mothers who experienced premature births and all the heart-wrenching moments it entails (you can read all about Christine's ordeal with her daughter Little One in the NICU, as well as Kate's story with her son Monkey on their blogs.) I can't help but think of these families when I watch this video, and how strong they absolutely are for what they've gone through.
Watch how Team BabyBe one of the top 10 finalists of the Intel Make It Wearable Challenge is bringing mothers closer to their premature babies, by developing an interface that allows the preemie child to feel their mother's heartbeat and respiration. (You might need a Kleenex.)
My Favourite Tablet of the Year: ASUS MeMO Pad 7" (ME572C) - For Fashionistas and Socialites
It was love at first sight. Not only for me, but the moment my sister saw it, I had to make sure she didn't leave my home with it in hand. The ASUS MeMO Pad (7" version ME572C) is a beautiful thing to behold.
The shell is designed to look like a clutch and has three colours to choose from, though despite the great grip and design, I'm looking for an actual clutch that will fit it, while holding everything else I need, for easy access while I'm out and about. The outer casing isn't the only reason why this tablet ranks above all others for me. The KitKat Android based OS is heavily customized by ASUS, but in a way that makes on-the-fly computing so quick and easy to do. The aptly named ZenUI interface is magical. I love how all of my apps are integrated to keep me up to date and on track. With the massive overhaul on the user interface, I was shocked that the battery life didn't take a hit. In fact, my tablet lasts for days, even with constant use before I need to plugin it in for a recharge. (Keep an eye out, I'll be covering the tablet even more in the new year!)
One of my favourite bits of tech at home is my Keurig 2.0. I love the fact I can brew either one or up to four cups at once, depending on how thirsty I am or whether I have friends or family over. I'm starting to think some of my family is showing up at my door just for the coffee, 'cause they zero in on my machine the moment they walk through the door these days. With over 200 varieties of drink discs, there is sure to be something everyone will love. My absolute favourite is actually not available yet in Canada, or its at very select stores that I haven't found yet. I fell in love with Snapple's Raspberry Flavoured Iced Teas at BlogHer two years ago and have been craving it ever since. I keep forgetting that I can order them online. In the meantime, I'm entirely enjoying Laura Secord's Hot Chocolate right now!
Samsung Curved Multi-Viewed OLED TV
I'm kinda-sorta cheating with this one, 'cause it technically debuted at CES 2013, but I didn't get to see Samsung's Curved Multi-View TV in action until earlier this year, and WOW. #IWant Imagine being able to watch that rom-com you adore so much, without having to give up the remote when someone else walks into the room. Maybe you're are the Remote Champion and never give it up anyway, and I entirely wish I rolled like that. I'm the type that willfully hands it over, just so I can make that other person happy; even if it means I'm subjecting myself to KitKat's favourite show, Bubble Guppies. Ugh. With this multi-viewed TV I could watch or play whatever I want, while one other person, like TheHubs, watches whatever they feel like, all on the same TV at the same time. It's seriously awesome tech. Using glasses, much like Active 3D wear, two channels (or one channel and one game) can be played and viewed at the exact same time. I'm going to assume that also like 3D tech, its not advisable for children under six to use, since their eyes are still developing, meaning I'm still stuck watching Bubble Guppies. Otherwise, consider those fight for the remote days over. And if you're in two-player mode for your gaming? You and the other gamer just need to set their glasses to the same channel, (while the third person in the room watches the news... or football. #snor)
What's in Store for 2015
I can't wait to find out what will be coming out of CES this year, as it's sure to top the tech advancements of 2014. If you're a Back to the Future fan, you'll know that 2015 (October 21st to be more precise,) is when Marty gets a glimpse of his future that includes neon coloured hoverboards.
Was there anything futuristic from Back to the Future (II) that you were hoping would actually be a thing by 2015? Flying cars maybe?
One thing I found very interesting this morning, is the concept that we should all be looking into better wireless router systems (our house has a great system by DLINK that I need to share with you soon!) Usually we look for the cheapest box on the market, but that frame of mind is easily affecting our home networks and how effective they are. I encourage you to read why you need to improve your home's connection: Tech You Need to Upgrade in 2015, by Ken Kaplan.
Well, consider 2014 all wrapped up, and I'm looking forward to geeking out with y'all in 2015! Have an awesome and safe Happy New Year!