10 Amazing Technologies That Are Coming Soon

Last updated: January 5, 2014

You won’t believe how much technology is going to change in the next few years. I’m not talking about incremental changes like faster processors or better screens. I’m talking about major new changes in the way you interact with your computer and mobile devices.

1. Perceptual Computing

Right now the only way to interact with most personal computers is using a keyboard and mouse. In the future, your computer will respond to sight, sound, smell, touch, temperature and more.

Gesture recognition technologies are moving from game consoles to computers and getting more advanced along the way

Gesture recognition technologies are moving from game consoles to computers and getting more advanced along the way

Sight – Your next computer or mobile device will automatically unlock its screen after recognizing your face. But that’s just the beginning, it will have a front-facing 3D camera that can recognize gestures and track all ten of your fingers. This will allow you to interact with things on the screen without needing a mouse. Imagine using your fingers to open a virtual door in a video game. This, and much more will be possible. These cameras can detect whether you like what you’re smiling, and use that to insert emoticons automatically. It’s even possible to track eye movement and use that to move an onscreen cursor. Eventually these cameras may even be able to tell whether you like what you’re seeing, and change what you are viewing when you don’t. Pretty cool. This technology will first be available as low-cost add-on for your personal computers, but eventually will be incorporated into tablets and smartphones.

Status: Some Android phones and Dell computers support face screen unlock today. Creative sells a 3D camera that does many of the things described here when used with a new Intel SDK. Samsung’s Galaxy S IV will be the first smartphone to use eye movement to scroll.

Soon you'll be controlling your computer, television and home appliances with your voice

Soon you’ll be controlling your computer, television and home appliances with your voice

Sound – Your next laptop could have voice-recognition capabilities that reduce the need for a keyboard and mouse. You’ll be able to use your voice to log-in and do many other things. Of course your computer will talk to you as well. Later this year, some Android smartphones will start listening all of time — even when your phone is in standby. That means you will be able to interact and control your phone from across the room without pressing a single button. Worried about privacy and battery life? Don’t. This feature will use very little power and you can disable it at any time.

Status: Dell already sells computers with voice-recognition support. They let you interact with Google, Facebook and Twitter using your voice. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III automatically take a photo when you say the word “smile.”

In the future your phone could tell you when you have bad breath

In the future your phone could tell you when you have bad breath

Smell – Small sensors are available today which are capable of detecting odors. Some are used for breathalyzers, others sniff out poisonous gases. They can even detect bad breath. Although you won’t find them in a mobile device, special sensors can even detect some types of cancer. In the future your devices may emit odors on command as well. This feature could be used for games, movies or e-commerce.

Status: A odor emitter accessory is available for the iPhone today in Japan. Smell sensors are also available but no commercially-available smartphone has incorporated them yet.

Touch – Intel says we’ll be able to purchase touch-enabled ultra thin notebooks this year for less than $599. I hope Apple eventually adds touch-screen support to their laptops as well. Touch technology also allows you to feel vibrations on your screen. This technology is found in most Android mobile devices today, but should migrate to Apple mobile devices and PC computers soon.

Status: PC laptops and all-in-ones with touch-screens have been around for a long time however, many of them have been expensive.

Temperature, Location and Human-like Faces – Future laptops will have the same technology we take for granted in our mobile devices today including GPS systems, temperature sensors, a compass, barometers and accelerometers. They will also have avatars that look like humans. Imagine actually seeing the person behind the Siri-like voice and hearing a much more realistic sounding voice. Here’s a preview of what I’m talking about [scroll ahead to about 8:40].

2. Computational Photography

The cameras in our mobile devices will continue to evolve beyond higher megapixels. Larger sensors will take photos with reduced noise, greater dynamic range and better low-light performance. Future cameras will also have more internal processing and manipulation capabilities. This advanced computational photography will include HDR video, strobe-motion photos, higher-dynamic range photos and 3D image reconstruction.

Your phone will soon let you change perspective after a picture has been taken

Your phone will soon let you change perspective after a picture has been taken

Camera arrays are another exciting technology you’ll see soon in smartphones soon. Their use of multiple lenses will allow you to do amazing things which are not possible today like fixing an out of focus photo after you’ve taken it, or changing the focal point from one object to another like Lytro does today (dynamic aperture control). See this feature in action here.

Status: The Nokia Lumia 920 and new HTC One have larger sensors than other mobile cameras. Examples of computational photography found in today’s cameras include HDR photos and panoramic photos. The Samsung Galaxy S III goes beyond face-tracking and can detect whether people are smiling or not. It can also recognize who is in a photo.

3. Faster 4G LTE Data Speeds

SD_logo
There are some new buzzwords which are going to make 4G a lot more confusing. Next-generation mobile processors like the Snapdragon 800 have Category 4 modems with are capable of download speeds up to 150 Mbps. That’s 50% faster than the limits of today’s CAT3 4G devices, although some tests have shown it’s over 2x faster.
LTE_adv
Another term you’re going to hear about is LTE Advanced, where multiple radio channels and advanced antenna techniques are used to increase data speeds as high as 1 Gbps. Although this is a theoretical limit, expect real-world speeds up to 10 times faster than today’s LTE phones. The LTE Advanced standard is expected to be released later this year, but don’t expect see support for it right away.

4. Ultra HD

Blah

Ultra HD displays have 4x the resolution of current 1080p


If you think HD looks good, you’ll love Ultra HD even more because it has four times the resolution of current 1080p high-definition displays. Few people will be able to afford an Ultra HD TV by 2015, but there is a chance you will be able to afford a 4K Ultra HD tablet by then. In addition to a 3840×2160 pixel display, you need both hardware and software that supports the new HVEC (H.265) video compression standard if you want to play 4K video.

Status: Panasonic demonstrated a 4K tablet at CES last month, but it won’t be available anytime soon. Nokia and Qualcomm demonstrated Ultra HD playback on mobile devices at CES as well. Those chips will start appearing in products in the second half of 2013.

5. Gigabit Wireless

One of the new technologies I’m most excited about is gigabit wireless (802.11ac). How much faster is it than current 802.11n Wi-Fi speeds? Gigabit wireless is capable of maximum speeds over twice as fast as the current 450 Mbps limit. Of course real-world speeds are lower (about 150 Mbps), but they are still twice as fast as 802.11n speeds.

5th generation Wi-Fi is coming which is capable of gigabit speeds

5th generation Wi-Fi is coming which is capable of gigabit speeds

Why you need this: If you want to stream one (or more) 1080p videos at once over Wi-Fi without buffering, you need gigabit wireless. I sometimes turn off Wi-Fi on my phone when I’m areas with fast 4G because Wi-Fi is slower than 4G. That won’t be the case in the future.

What you’ll need to buy: In order to experience gigabit Wi-Fi speeds you’ll need to replace your current Wi-Fi router with a new 802.11ac router like this one. Keep in mind the standard is not finalized, so you’ll want to update your firmware after that occurs. You’ll also need a laptop or mobile device which supports gigabit Wi-Fi. You’ll see phones with gigabit wireless support available in the second half of this year.

802.11p

Car-to-car Wi-Fi is coming – Another Wi-Fi standard to watch for is 802.11p which allows cars to form a mesh network and communicate using Wi-Fi technology. Cars with this technology will be communicate with other cars and warn each other of upcoming hazards. Don’t expect to see cars with 802.11p this year however.

6. Eight-core Mobile Processors

Samsung and Huawei have been announced 8-core processors for mobile devices. Although this sounds impressive because it’s twice as many as you’ll find in a mobile device today, the jury is out on whether these first generation 8-core processors are really faster, or just a marketing gimmick. There are two problems with first gen 8-core CPUs: First, all cores do not run at the same speed. The first 8-core CPUs have 4 fast cores and 4 slower cores. Second, initially only 4 cores can be running at any given time. As a result, it appears the main benefit with these will be improved battery life, but it’s unclear whether it will be better than current quad-core processors which can scale down both voltage and frequency.

7. 64-bit Mobile Processors

Although the world reacted with amazement when Apple announced the iPhone 5s had a 64-bit mobile processor, ARM announced 64-bit mobile processors were coming nine months before Apple’s announcement. ARM claimed 64-bit processors would provide up to 3 times more processing power than today’s chips and be able to address much larger amounts of memory. This could help mobile processors to enter new markets like servers and high-end PCs. Back in January of 2013 I predicted “Although there doesn’t seem to be a strong reason to use these chips in smartphones today that doesn’t mean someone won’t try it as a marketing gimmick.”

8. Smaller, Faster, More Power Efficient Chips

– Before the iPhone 5s, Apple was still using a 45nm processor, while the best Android phones have been using 28nm processors for years. Intel already has 22nm chips for PCs and Intel, Early in 2014 Intel plans to release a 22nm mobile processor. Samsung, Qualcomm and others are working on 14nm and 20nm processors as well. It’s been said these new chips will be 60% more power efficient and 60% faster than today’s 28nm chips. 10nm processors might be available as soon as 2015.

9. Smarter TVs

– Samsung and others have announced smarter TVs that have face recognition, voice recognition, personalized home screens and more advanced remote controls. This is sometimes referred to as the “Your TV” concept. Expect more integration between social media. Also soon set top boxes may become optional as this technology either moves to the cloud or is embedded into your TV.

10. Curved and Flexible Screens

– Curved screens aren’t new to smartphones. At least four phones have had them — going all the way back to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Nexus S. Expect to see more curved screen smartphones to be released this year — along with curved screen TVs. Flexible screens have been demonstrated by Samsung and others for years and could be available before the end of 2014. They will be much more resistant to cracking than the screens we have today.

– Rick

Copyright 2013-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

How to Upload Photos Directly from Your Camera to Facebook or Instagram

Last updated: January 5, 2013

This article has had almost 9,000 views. Thanks for reading it.

The Canon EOS 6D is one of several new Wi-Fi enabled cameras

The Canon EOS 6D is one of several new Wi-Fi enabled cameras

Most Instagram photos are poor quality because they were taken with a smartphone. You can now take great-looking photos from a Wi-Fi-enabled camera and upload them directly to the Internet without using a laptop. I’ll describe how this is done using a Canon EOS 6D, but the process is similar with other Wi-Fi cameras. The Canon EOS 6D is pricey, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a camera to do the things I’m describing. Wi-Fi enabled cameras like this Samsung model start around $150. Canon has affordable Wi-Fi cameras as well.

Canon's EOS Remote running on a smartphone

Canon’s EOS Remote running on a smartphone

Getting the Right Software

Start by downloading the free EOS Remote app from Google Play. After you’ve installed EOS Remote on your smartphone or tablet, you need to activate Wi-Fi on your camera and connect it to your mobile device. The next section describes how this is done.

Making Your Camera a Wi-Fi Hotspot

Wi-Fi Setup
The first time you setup your Canon EOS 6D camera as a Wi-Fi hotspot you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Press the Menu button on the EOS 6D and use the main dial to select the wrench icon with three dots next to it.
  2. Set Wi-Fi to ‘Enable’ and then move down to ‘Wi-Fi function’ and set a nickname for your camera (e.g. Canon 6D). Press the ‘Q’ button to tab down to the letters and the main dial to select them.
  3. Enter the desired name and press the ‘Menu’ button when you are finished. Press ‘Set/OK’ to proceed.
  4. Wi-Fi Function

  5. Now move the main dial to the second position labeled ‘Connect to smartphone’ and press Set. Then press ‘Set’ again to make the camera an access point and press ‘Set’ for OK.
  6. Press ‘Set’ again for ‘Easy connection.’ Then press ‘Set’ for OK.
  7. Now go to Settings > Wi-Fi on your tablet and select the nickname you entered for your camera.
  8. You’ll need to enter the encryption key that appears on the camera display into your tablet and touch ‘Connect.’
  9. Now launch the EOS Remote software on your tablet and touch the name of your camera on the tablet display. Then press ‘Set’ on the camera twice to save your settings.

This might seem like a lot of steps, but most of these only need to be performed once. After you’ve setup Wi-Fi, all you need to do is press the ‘Menu’ button and use the main dial to select ‘Wi-Fi function.’ Then you select ‘Connect to smartphone’ and ‘Connect.’ That’s it. If that choice isn’t available, first select ‘Exit’ and ‘OK’ and ‘Connect to smartphone’ will appear.

Once your camera is connected to your mobile device, you can use your smartphone or tablet as a remote control and viewfinder. You can also view all of the photos on your camera on your tablet at full resolution.

You can view, save or delete photos on your camera using  your tablet

You can view, save or delete photos on your camera using your tablet

Viewing Photos from the Camera on Your Tablet and More

Now that you are connected to your camera, there are many things you can do. Here are several examples:

  • Touch ‘Camera Image Viewing’ in the EOS Remote app to view all of the images on your camera.
  • Touch a photo to view it and swipe to the left to view the next image.

  • Touch the trash can icon to delete a bad photo.
  • Touch the icon on the far left to save your favorite photos to your smartphone or tablet. Keep in mind that these are reduced-quality images, so you should not delete the originals on your camera.
  • Now we're ready to upload our photo to Instagram

    We’re now ready to upload our photo to Instagram

    Uploading Your Photo to Instagram

    Instagram
    After you’ve completed the preceding steps, you are now ready to upload a photo to Instagram (or another social media site). You’ll probably only need to read this section if you haven’t used Instagram before.

    1. After you’ve saved the photo you wish to upload, you need to go to Settings > Wi-Fi on your tablet and select the wireless access point you use to access the Internet. Then touch ‘Connect.’ Note: This step is not required if you’re using a smartphone.
    2. Now touch the Home button and go to All Apps > Gallery
    3. Open the folder with the same name as your camera (e.g. Canon EOS 6D)
    4. Touch the photo you wish to upload. Then touch the share icon near the top of the screen.
    5. If you don’t see Instagram, touch ‘See all’ and select Instagram from the list.
    6. Now crop your photo, add a filter and touch the icon in the upper right to save your changes.
    7. Now enter a description and hashtags for your photo and touch the green checkmark to upload it to Instagram.

    Follow me on Instagram @rickschwar . You can see higher-resolution pictures taken by the Canon 6D on Google+ as well.

    More Fun With Wi-Fi

    This is just one of many things you can do with a Wi-Fi-enabled camera. You can use similar steps to upload a photo to Facebook or other sites. You can also do the following:

  • Transfer images between cameras
  • Remote control your camera
  • Send photos from your camera to a Wi-Fi printer
  • Upload photos to a Web service without using a mobile device (requires direct connection to a computer)
  • Send images directly to a DLNA-certified TV
  • Please refer to the documentation that came with your camera to learn how to do these things.

    Here are some other fun things you can do with a Wi-Fi-enabled camera

    Here are some other cool things you can do with a Wi-Fi-enabled camera

    Closing Thoughts

    If you don’t already have a Wi-Fi-enabled camera, you should make sure your next camera has this feature. It’s nice to be able to upload great looking photos without using a computer.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

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