5 current technologies that could change the world

A model shows off Google Glass, a wearable computer. Credit: Google
A model shows off Google Glass, a wearable computer. Credit: Google

Techies love to talk about how their new app or whatever is going to change the world. Most of the time it is absolute bluster, the ramblings of business executives who hope to sell their startup to Google. However, once in a while, their sentiments ring true. Here are five current and forthcoming technologies that could very well change the very fabric of society.

 

Here is the Foodini, a 3D printer designed to assemble certain meals. Credit: AFP/Natural Machines
Here is the Foodini, a 3-D printer designed to assemble certain meals.
Credit: Natural Machines/AFP

1. 3-D Printers: For years, 3-D printing has been the purview of the industrial sector, with mammoth machines pumping out turbines and other necessary industrial components. Nowadays, however, the tech has entered the home, allowing average people to print out knick-knacks right in their living rooms. Right now it’s mostly f0r fun, with useful applications few and far between. Once this tech sees some refinement and continues getting cheaper, it could blow things up in a big way. Printable food, tools and even homes could be in the cards. Oh, and also guns. Yikes.

 

Virtual Reality gaming company Oculus was recently bought by Facebook.
Virtual Reality gaming company Oculus was recently bought by Facebook.

2. Virtual Reality: As we all know from 1990s cinema, reality bites. So, in that spirit, virtual reality rules. (Wait, is that the opposite of “bites”?) This technology has grown in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and shows no signs of slowing down. Facebook bought the VR headset Oculus Rift for billions of ZuckerBucks, so you know it’s serious. As computing power increases, this technology will follow suit. Imagine a world where we all have access to our own personal Holodecks. We won’t have to interact with our loved ones ever again! Thank goodness for that.

 

One of the earliest examples of a fitness tracker, the Jawbone Up.
One of the earliest examples of a fitness tracker, the Jawbone Up.

3. Health Trackers: Consumer-wise, this tech is still in its infancy. The models we have access to keep track of our heart rates, sleep schedules and how well we run around the track. In research and development rooms around the world, however, this tech is poised to create a big sea change for the medical industry. Imagine being able to wear a bracelet that keeps an eye on just about every one of your vitals, and beams that information to your doctor for analysis. Check-ups could be a thing of the past. No more ball-grabbing!

 

Google's Project Ara is just one modular smartphone coming to market.
Google’s Project Ara is just one modular smartphone coming to market.

4. Modular Gadgets: The main problem with these expensive doodads we keep buying is that, oftentimes, we are paying for features we’ll never use (sort of like cable television). Modular technology breaks these gadgets down to their essence, allowing the consumer to buy them piecemeal, when they need a particular feature set. It could completely change how we view the world of smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and eventually, life itself.

 

Developer Maximiliano Firtman wears the prototype device Google Glass. Credit: Reuters
Developer Maximiliano Firtman wears the prototype device Google Glass. Credit: Reuters

5. Augmented Reality: For the rare times you have to leave the comforting cocoon of your VR wonderland, there’s augmented reality. This technology, which overlays digital information over the real world, is certainly in its infancy. However, a little mom-and-pop company called Google is looking to change all that with its oft-discussed Glass device. Maybe one day someone will invent a version of this tech that doesn’t make the wearer look like a doofus.

Follow Lawrence Bonk on Twitter @sidescrollers



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…