New Tech Trends – 2016
When we gazed ahead at the devices, breakthroughs and ideas most likely to make waves, two themes emerged. One is liberation: We’re increasingly less shackled, be it to a phone charger or a cable subscription. The other is intelligence: As processing power and bandwidth increase, our machines, services and even messaging apps become more capable.
Wiser Messaging Apps
Your new robot BFF is just a message away. In 2016, messaging stops being just a way to send texts and emojis to friends, but also a way to reach all-knowing bot assistants. Beta-testers in the San Francisco area using Facebook’s Messenger app can already ask “M” to book restaurant reservations, buy a gift for a friend or simply tell you Mom’s birthday. Google is reportedly readying a similar app. Bots aside, messaging software will also evolve to include more features. Just like China’s popular messaging apps, you’ll be able to pay your friends or bills, book appointments, play games, translate messages and more.
Safer, Smarter Drones
No, you’re not paranoid: The gadgets really are listening. Voice-operated electronics are poised for a quantum leap in accuracy and intelligence in 2016. Talking offers a more natural way to interact with devices that need complex input but aren’t exactly keyboard-friendly, such as TVs, sound systems and household electronics. Voice arrived in a big way in 2015 when Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant came to Windows 10, while Siri and Google Now turned up in cars and TVs. This year, expect voice control on more computers and an even wider range of gadgets, including the CogniToys Dino, a toy that uses IBM’s Watson to help answer questions, and Jibo, a talking family robot.
Cameras That See More
The Light camera uses an array of 16 lens-and-sensor modules to create crisp, super-high-resolution images.
Smartphones and point-and-shoots alike are sprouting multiple lenses and sensors to improve image quality, capture depth and “see” in 3-D. Some laptops and tablets already contain multi-sensor cameras—such as Intel’s RealSense—to measure rooms and use facial ID at login. A slim camera called the Light L16, due this summer, goes all out, employing 16 lens-and-sensor modules of varying focal lengths to capture massive 52-megapixel scenes.
December 27, 2015