Science and technology relentless drive forward. Innovations are happening all around us, but it’s sometimes hard to keep up or get a sense of what will become mainstream. Most of the futuristic predictions from Back to the Future have actually made their way into our daily lives (except flying cars and hover boards). What are we seeing emerging today that will be common place in five, ten, twenty years? Here are a few recent announcements that caught our eye – things we think could start appearing in our personal and professional lives.
Relaxation Center offers relaxing massages with VR technology
You no longer need to take a plane to disconnect from the hustle and bustle from the city. Esqapes is a centre in Los Angeles that combines spa services with virtual reality. Customers sit down in the massage chairs and are provided with a VR headset to select one out of ten locations available where they would like to be virtually transported to, including a beach sunset, sitting next to a Koi fish pond and a cabin in the mountains. The experience is enhanced by adding fragrances relatable to the location. The invention was created by Micah Jackson, who has previously worked for AOL, Yahoo and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Could this be something we’ll be seeing more of? Is it time to clear out the office pool table?
Smart robotic furniture for small living spaces
IKEA has partnered with American start-up Ori to create ROGNAN, a robotic all-in-one-furniture solution that turns small home spaces into smart spaces. The idea came after evaluating the challenges faced by people living in urban areas where space tends to be limited. With ROGNAN, you can put your bed and closet away to get access to your sofa and living room space or vice versa with the click of a button. “When you sleep, you do not need your sofa. When you use your wardrobe, you do not need your bed. Instead of making the furniture smaller, we transform the furniture to the function that you need at that time.” ROGNAN will be launched in Japan in 2020.
Fast food deliveries made by drones
There is nothing worse than waiting hungrily for a food delivery. Uber Eats believes a drone delivery service would be three times faster and cheaper than using restaurant employees to deliver. The idea is to fly drones to specific points where human deliverers will be located, who will then complete the rest of the journey to the customer’s home. Uber Eats is working in partnership with McDonalds to design delivery boxes that can be used for drone delivery as there are also some concerns about risks to the public in case of drone collision in the air. Trials will start in Summer 2019 in San Diego, CA and the service is expected to be available by 2022. Meanwhile, there are other brands who seem ahead of the game, Amazon Inc. is building a “revolutionary” drone that will deliver household goods “very soon”, and Domino’s is in talks to start using Nuro in the city of Houston in the U.S. Nuro is a self-delivery robot created by two Google veterans that can deliver pizza and cheesy breads to your home.
Multi-screen foldable phones
In most our readers’ lifetimes, we’ve moved from large table-top telephones, to large portable phones, to mobiles, to tiny mobiles, to smartphones and tablets capable of being able to run a business from a coffee shop. What’s next – foldable screens. Motorola, Huawei, LG and Samsung are all developing and launching various devices that are coming into the market. Some fold inwards, some fold outwards, some have a number of different screens or transform into a bigger screen, but the one we found the most interesting is the one created by Xiaomi which is promised for later this year – a prototype that folds symmetrically from both sides providing the function of both a phone and a tablet. Xiaomi Mi Flex will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 system-on-a-chip with 6/8 GB RAM and is expected to be much cheaper than the competition.
Heart beat recognition
Fingerprints, face and voice recognition seemed would be something out of a James Bond movie 15 years ago but they are now features on pretty much every smartphone, laptop and home smart device. The Pentagon in the US has now taken the next step. They have developed a laser that can identify people by the geometry of their hearts as well as their heartbeat from as far as 200 meters and within 30 seconds The device has been tested in around 100 people so far with an accuracy of 98 percent according to the latest news, and it has been found that at the moment, the device can only identify heartbeats when the person is standing still and if it is wearing thin layers of clothing, but the research team at the Pentagon is working on the improvement of the laser’s capabilities. The innovation behind identifying heartbeats is that everyone’s cardiac signature is unique and it cannot be altered, which makes identification more accurate in comparison with fingerprints, face and voice recognition technology, which can indeed be cheated.