In September 2013, Amadeus brought you “Five Upcoming Tech Innovations That Will Change Business”. Now it’s time to take a second look at those five innovations and see where they stand today. None of the five have become the amazing sensations that everyone predicted, but this is not totally surprising. In the tech world, we often see new innovations that people swear will change our lives but rarely do. The truth is, there are bugs and drawbacks in any tech innovation and it can take some time for the general public to adapt to, let alone afford, the innovations. However, I do think that some of these will still make a difference in the tech landscape, especially the ones with very real world application.
In 2013, we said to expect some of the biggest tech innovations in 2014 to revolve around Google Glass. That’s not quite what happened. Google Glass is still making waves, just not the tsunamis that were expected. The real developments with Glass have been in the healthcare industry. Augmedix has raised $23 million to expand operations focused on incorporating emergency room data into Glass so that doctors have fast and easy access to patient records. Other health startups that are working with Glass: Remedy and Pristine. Glass is still not quite mainstream, and probably not close to replacing smartphones or any other wearable devices, but it is getting there slowly but surely.
Leap Motion allows users to control their digital screens without the aid of a mouse or keyboard, and in 2013 it looked like this was going to be the next big thing. Again, not so much. Although users liked the idea of “touch free”, the Leap Motion tool required you to keep your hand lifted the entire time you were controlling anything. So now we have the Flow3-D Motion Touch Controller, otherwise known as the Flow puck, which offers all the options that Leap Motion did plus the ability to use it hands on. The puck offers four control options: hands free motion, touch pad on top, ability to use it like a button, and a physical cylinder around the sides you can use in a twisting motion. All of these options give you the precision control not available with a mouse. This looks more likely to replace the mouse than Leap Motion.
Eye Tribe created software to allow users to control digital devices with their eyes. It tracks retina movement through a . In 2013, we forecasted that this software would be integrated in to smartphones, cameras, and laptops in coming years. So far, we have not seen this kind of integration, but it may still be coming. The Eye Tribe is now a 2015 CES Innovation Award Winner and is considered a leading innovator in eye tracking software. The great thing is, Eye Tribe has launched the world’s first Android eye tracking software development kit. Designed specifically with integration in mind, developers now have the ability to easily include this technology into their games, e-readers, and other software. This tech has amazing real world possibilities as the new dashboard technology, and even more importantly, helping people with disabilities navigate devices.
In 2013, we (again) thought SmartThings would move into general use faster than it actually has. However, since Samsung acquired SmartThings in 2014, the technology has been rapidly developing. Samsung’s goal is that 90 percent of its products will be able to connect to the web by 2017, including everything from smartphones to refrigerators. If Samsung keeps its promise, the true beauty of SmartThings will be that it will be able to integrate across all platforms.
Form 1 was the name of the original, affordable 3-D printer we discussed back in 2013. In June 2014, Form 1 was upgraded to Form 1+ 3-D which brought along new software updates that will increase efficiency and print speed. So what are the real world applications, beyond creating mini action figures of yourself? (FYI, ). This technology is already being used to help dentists prepare for dental procedures and show their patients before and after models to ease patient tension. 3D printing is also making waves in the medical field with universities researching ways to 3D print organs for transplant and, I believe, we will see even more developments in the upcoming years.
So now we sit back and keep an eye on these tech innovations and see where they take us through 2015 and into 2016.