It’s been a little while since I wrote about tech – last time I had a look at the fast-moving world of wearable tech. So, having felt a little bit tech-deprived, I decided to take this a step further by looking at the Internet of Things (IoT).
Imagine waking up as your bed alerts you of your optimal sleep level, the lights in your house turn on automatically and the thermostat gets set to just the right temperature by itself. Then you turn on your kettle from your smartphone and improve your toothbrushing skills from the data your toothbrush sends to your phone. Welcome to the average smart-home connected by IoT.
With a great amount of hype and media coverage, this new phenomenon is certainly making waves, and rightfully so! With Apple, Google, Samsung and the likes taking an interest and investing in this field of technology and industry experts tipping it to dominate the mainstream by 2025, this tech advancement is definitely worth keeping your eyes out for.
Enter the fast-moving world of wearable tech, where you can change TV channel with a thumb gesture, search the web by asking your glasses a question, check emails on your wrist or track your health and fitness with a bracelet. All of this and more is possible with wearable tech, and with the trend starting to find stability in 2014, we may start to see the commercialization and adoption of a lot more wearable tech products from both new and reputable brands.
So let’s get down to the crux of it – what is this all about? Basically, the wearable tech revolution has seen hardware and software developers come up with wearable pieces of technology that improve the way that we go about our lives on a daily basis. The purposes for wearable tech range widely – from something as simple as pushing notifications to be seen at a glance, to more complicated purposes such as health tracking and augmented reality. All in all, most wearable tech devices have been created to improve the way that we do things, make day to day activities more convenient and to seamlessly work and fit with the way our bodies are made. Many technology professionals and commentators have tipped wearable tech as a trend that will gain great momentum in 2014, and be effortlessly integrated into our lives as soon as 2020.
Let’s take a look at some of the categories taking shape.
In this week’s tech feature, we explore a production process innovation that is completely upending the way in which we manufacture objects and products. From toys, tools, jewellery and décor, to houses and even artificial body parts – 3D printing is becoming an increasingly effective means of manufacturing and slowly but surely, replacing many traditional production processes. Not too sure what it’s all about? No problem! This post is designed to give you a crash course on how 3D printing works, what it can do, the pro’s and con’s of it, as well as the implications for a developing nation such as South Africa.
3D printing is an additive manufacturing process for creating any 3 dimensional object from a digital model or electronic data source. The process is guided by a computer, which moves a robotic mechanism to create a 3D object, layer by layer, based on the model or data. Now that was quite a mouthful, but in layman’s terms, this means that we can print 3D objects of any shape, from a computer design, with the help of a 3D printer and a clever little process called additive manufacturing.
First conceptualized in the 1980’s, early developers saw the opportunity to print 3D objects using lasers, mechanics and photopolymer materials. Early 3D printer models were extremely expensive, limited in output and required special handling – the process was painstaking and the output was far more expensive to create through 3D printing than through traditional processes. The concept was great, but the technology needed a lot of revision. Later work saw developers able to manufacture parts for cars and aeroplanes using additive manufacturing. But it wasn’t until the 21st century that advanced computer technology and open source projects allowed developers to come up with 3D printers that could accurately manufacture intricate objects. These 3D printers were developed into consumer-friendly versions for homes businesses. The result? Well, just about anything you could imagine in 3 dimensions.
From Typewriter to Virtual Keyboard
Last week we had a look at some of the latest and greatest innovations in reading and writing. Now, let’s take a look at typing. The computer keyboards that we use today, were developed from the QWERTY keyboard of the 1870’s. Although some thought went into the positioning of the letter keys for typing efficiency, the main reason for the letter positioning was for mechanical efficiency (such that the metal arms of each letter on the typewriter wouldn’t clash). Now, I’m sure we are all well-acquainted with our QWERTY keyboards and feel that it is the quickest and easiest way to type – but this isn’t necessarily the case, given new technology. So let’s look at 3 innovations that improve the efficiency of our typing.
Let’s have a look:
From Caveman to Tech-Whizz
Mankind has been reading and writing for thousands of years, dating back as far as the 4th millennium BC. More recently (but before anyone who is reading this blog was born) the advent of the typewriter and QWERTY keyboard between the 1860’s and 1870’s made it possible for mankind to write their thoughts or stories using a keyboard and a typeface. Fast forward to today, a 21st century technological landscape where tech innovations occur on a daily basis, however, the means by which most of us read, write and type are still based on the ideas of our non-technologically inclined predecessors.
So why hasn’t reading, writing and typing evolved with the technology we use each and every day? The answer – it has, we just haven’t widely adopted these techniques yet! This blog post explores some of the tech innovations in reading and writing, offering some tips as to how you can improve your efficiency in these skills. Next week, we’ll take it a step further and look at some great innovations in the field of typing.
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