What may have seemed like science fiction a decade or two ago could very-well be hitting shelves near you soon, if the rate of tech development is anything to go by, that is. 2018 has seen the commercial possibility for a few very interesting products and concepts becoming reality, and we’re going to look at a few of 2018’s tech innovations that could have the biggest impact in our lives.
SYNAPTICS IN-DISPLAY FINGERPRINT SENSOR
Chinese company Synaptics has revealed their Clear ID fingerprint sensor at the 2018 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) exhibit. Now, we’ve already had fingerprint sensors in our phones for some time, but usually they’re buttons with that dedicated function, and they’re not on the screen surface itself. Clear ID will allow the use of fingerprint scanning technology in smart devices, but it won’t require a dedicated button and can be housed under the display. This means full-screen phones with tiny bezels, but that can still use fingerprint scanning as an identification method, become a possibility – something users and tech companies alike will probably be thrilled about.
LYFT AUTOMATED CARS
There have been some high-profile incidents involving automated driver-less cars in the past, but companies seem to be actively improving the technology behind it, with car-sharing company Lyft being the latest to pilot their own version. Instead of calling for a cab and having a chatty cabby picking you up, in the near future, you might call for a ride and it’ll only be you zipping to the airport. Due to the danger surrounding any driver-less cars should something go wrong, this might still be a few years off, but it’s clearly something a lot of massive companies are pursuing so don’t count on it being a fantasy for too long.
BELL HELICOPTER AIR TAXI
What’s even more futuristic than a self-driving car? How about an air taxi. Bell Helicopter has been developing and perfecting that same idea, but they’re not the only company chasing the concept of a self-piloting drone of some kind. Certain companies are invested in the idea for transportation of goods, while others see it as the future of passenger commuting. Bell’s stab at a driverless air cab (also shown at CES 2018) will be able to take four passengers at a time, and will be capable of landing and taking off vertically – but the company only has its eyes set on commercially viable implementation in the 2020s, so we won’t see it too soon.
DJI MAVIC AIR
Now this is an impressive piece of tech that you can actually already get your hands on. The Mavic series is DJI’s most popular line of drones, and the Mavic Air slots in at the more compact end of the range’s spectrum, but doesn’t actually compromise on function. It’s got more features than you can shake a stick at, with 32MP sphere panoramic shots, a 21 minute flight time, 3-directional environment and object sensing, as well as a 2-axis gimbal for its 4K camera. If you want the most compact and portable drone without sacrificing cutting edge tech, the Mavic Air is the way to go.
FOLDIMATE LAUNDRY ROBOT
This has to win the prize for the biggest convenience-appliance in decades. Forget having a machine to wash your dishes or your clothes, look forward to having a device that will fold your clothing for you. The function and process is pretty simple in theory: you slide your unfolded laundry into the device, and it folds your clothes up neatly and dispenses them in a tidy little pile. It’s still a prototype for the moment, but considering the prototype is functional, it’s probably not far from being publicly available. Check out the demo above.
IBM 50-QUBIT QUANTUM COMPUTER
It looks like a steam punk sculpture at an abstract art exhibit, but it’s actually one of the most powerful computers ever designed. It’s capable of handling 50 qubits (or quantum bits), and signifies a growing trend among major tech companies to race to the first computer capable of doing quantum calculations. It’s not as intriguing as a wall-sized OLED television, or self-flying drones, but quantum calculating means AI and machine-learning application will grow significantly in scope. You’re basically looking at Skynet’s brain.
And if you currently own a drone yourself, or perhaps your smartphone needs some help, the specialist repair team over at WeFix will help get your device back in tip-top shape!