If you’ve seen the latest issue of Wallpaper magazine, chances are the feature on driverless cars won’t have gone unnoticed. It seems we’re much (much) closer to seeing sci-fi visions realised on the streets of the U.K. than most assumed. And this isn’t the only sign of our impending arrival in the future.
The Internet of Things (or IoT if you prefer acronyms) is news to nobody; the idea that devices ranging from mobiles to ovens can be connected to make life easier for humans like us. But whilst the term has been around since 1999, it was only really last year that it began to embed itself in the common conscious. And this is, apparently, only just the beginning.
Inspired to share some of the most exciting connected creations we have stumbled upon recently, we’ve put together the following list of inventions that are predicted to make an impact in the coming months, and years. Just don’t forget where you heard it first when you’re indulging in a meal made from ingredients your fridge ordered in for itself.
Microsoft is developing Windows 10 IoT Core, which can run on devices like ATMs, ultrasound units and wearable tech. Huawei is hard at work crafting a similar operating system that connects gadgets within the Internet of Things, Samsung is also on board with a series of microchips designed to do the same, and just last week Google suggested it was making a foray into this area. Put simply, then, within the next 12 months any new operating system you invest in is likely to have capacity to link any connected devices within wireless reach.
In all honesty, ‘selfie’ may not be the correct term here, but we can’t think of anything better-suited to the Lily Cam. Throw one of these into the air and it will launch into a self-piloting mode, hover in front of you using tracking technology, and begin taking still shots and video footage, offering a new perspective for anyone who wants to snap themselves doing pretty much anything. Needless to say, the possibilities for filming sports and other such activities are huge.
Android Auto and connected cars
Another of Google’s big ideas, albeit one the tech giant has been playing catch up with since the launch of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto links vehicle infotainment systems with Android devices, meaning dashboard units can mirror the mobile operating system, syncing software like Google Maps and iTunes from phones and tablets to cars. Hyundai is said to be the first manufacturer that will offer this technology in production models, starting later this year, but Huawei has also just announced a partnership with Audi to roll out a similar offering.
Last, but most definitely not least, we have Smart Cities. Less a product name, and more the most expansive idea in connectivity history, experts predict that by 2020 the world will be spending $400billion ensuring infrastructure and man-made environments will not only deliver information direct to devices, but also speak to one another and react to our signals. Imagine a bin wagon that knows exactly when refuse needs collecting, parking sensors that tell our driverless cars where there’s enough room to pull in, and street lights that assess public usage (for example the number of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers) to prioritise capacity, study air and noise pollution levels, and automatically switch off when nobody is around.