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Technology is constantly evolving and each year it gets an upgrade, in thought and action. In a dynamic environment, it challenges and pushes boundaries to devise new products.
2016, too, was no different. From a pocket-sized drone to Solarcity Gigafactory, it was the year of cutting-edge, futuristic technologies. Here's a recap of the most important tech innovations that caught our fancy this year.
In its annual September gig, Apple once again proved that it's ahead of the times as it launched the wireless earbuds. Typical Apple white earbuds, sans the cords, these come armed with a five-hour battery life and can be charged through a case. Flanked by microphones, these do not get messy as there is no untangling of the wires, and, also have Siri on call with a simple double tap.
The free augmented reality mobile game managed to kill many couch potatoes, as the quest for Pikachu became a craze. Millions ditched their work and other commitments to throng the streets in search of the characters to catch via their Android/iOS app. The Niantic's viral game Pokemon Go lets you catch the virtual characters in real-life environment and uses real-time geospatial technologies and Google map date to play. Traffic disruptions, accidents, visits to the temple - Pokemon Go did it all! With 25 million downloads on July 14 and a record 75 million downloads in just 19 days, it hit a crest, and then receded.
Snapchat made its hardware debut this year with a set of spectacles that had a built-in video camera, armed with a 115-degree, wide angle lens. The first wearable designed especially for the Snapchat generation, this one looks hipster enough and it enables recording content from a human eye perspective. A button on the left records a 10-second clip - and the LED bar on the frame lights up to indicate that a video recording is on (avoids covert recording). Connected with the smartphone via Blutooth or WiFi, content gets automatically added to Snapchat's Memories section. What's more - it also can record a full day's worth of video clips on a single charge!
Amazon gave us its Bluetooth speaker, which is more than a virtual assistant like Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana. The smart home appliance has Alexa embedded in it and the speaker can talk back to you. With Echo, Amazon made it easier to book a cab via Uber, order pizza and even turn off the lights of your house. The tech team at Amazon is still working on making it more intuitive, and expect an improved one in 2017!
If you got tired of your smartphone being intrusive, there was hope rekindled this year. The Light Phone was launched to rescue all smartphone junkies from their addiction. The Brooklyn based company Light Phone developed a credit card-sized device that helped to disconnect one from one's smartphone. A 2G Nano SIM card, a battery life of three weeks on a single charge and a dot matrix LED display that doubles up as a torch, this one was dubbed as 'phone away from phone'. At $100, it also boasts of a touch module, microphone and a Micro-USB port. Mind you, it doesn't support internet and has no camera - clearly taking the detox thing seriously!
This intelligent portable air purifier surfaced in 2016 to remove all the contaminants from your immediate surroundings. The tiny purifier can detect and automatically filter out dust, allergens, smoke, and pollution wherever you take it. The device track and display air quality trends over time and it gives a real-time air quality map using sensors from other Wynd devices around the world.
Move over, flat screens and video games. Sony's Playstation VR offer gamers a whole new way to experience their favourite games. The £349 Playstation VR measures about 187×185×277 mm and weighs 610g, excluding the cable. It has a 5.7-inch OLED screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, split across both eyes, providing roughly 100-degree field of view. There's a six-axis motion sensing system and nine LEDs that let the PlayStation's camera tell where players are even when they're turned away from it.
DJI Mavic Drone
DJI's Mavic Pro is a pocket-sized drone that fits in the palm of your hand. It features a 4K camera, obstacle-avoidance technology and the ability to track objects when it is flying. Unlike the bulky drones, the Mavic drone can fold down till its size is similar to that of a loaf of bread. Its ability to fold down makes its less susceptible to accidents.
The Solarcity Gigafactory is a solar panel manufacturing plant which will produce 10,000 solar panels per day and has an estimated cost of $750 million. The dream project of Elon Musk will ensure highly efficient solar cells made at a lower price. The factory stretches for about 6 million square feet, or the equivalent of 126 acres. The giant factory will help it dramatically cut the cost of its batteries by "using economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing process under one roof." Once the factory is fully operational by 2020, Tesla estimates the factory will enable it to reduce its battery prices by about 30%. The lowered cost of the batteries will enable the company to price its Model 3 at about $35,000.
SOURCE: Economic Times
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