By James Prumos, Trending Writer
So far, the 21st century has offered many innovations in technology, such as the Internet and many apps that are used on smartphones today. However, we are poised to see even greater innovations in the future that allows technology to be more interactive. In a TED talk, Alex Kipman bemoaned how he felt “…limited by this 2D world of monitors and pixels…,” when speaking of how so much of technology today is shown via screens. He then demonstrated Microsoft’s new HoloLens, a pair of glasses that, when put on, can show virtual reality images to the user as though they are part of the real world. He even had a conversation with Dr. Jeffrey Norris, who appeared to teleport to the talk and it looked as though he was actually there. The audience could see the images HoloLens made thanks to a special camera that projected the footage to another screen. Kipman even spoke of how virtual reality will eventually become advanced enough that one would be able to feel the images when going to touch them.
Virtual reality can create images that can be seen, but 3D printers are capable of creating objects that can be used. 3D printing allows for the fast creation of physical tools and objects for an increasingly lower cost than more traditional methods. It is speculated by the IFLA Trend Report that 3D printing can “…revolutionize manufacturing in Africa and reduce reliance on Indian and Chinese imports.” 3d printing will allow for the fast creation of prototypes, one of China’s advantages of its economy, and can “…enable people to swiftly turn ideas into physical tools and products…”
The biggest thing holding back 3D printing from becoming big in the developing world is the high cost, but companies are trying to lower them. There is currently a Kickstarter for a 3D printer, called Olo, which costs the low price of 99 dollars and has the capability of printing small objects.
Another interactive technology that may become more prevalent in the future is the drone. LiveScience reports that Amazon hopes to implement drones in their package delivery services, so that they can deliver a customer their package within 30 minutes of ordering. Google is developing a drone delivery service as well, called Project Wing, and Facebook also has prototyped a drone, called Aquila, that can fly in the Earth’s stratosphere to provide Internet to all people throughout the world.
Not that many years ago, these technologies seemed like science fiction. Interactive technology is developing at a fast pace and in the next decade we may see the rise of a technology that we could not have possibly seen become reality.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 12th print edition.
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