Technology is no longer scary, or even boring. Here’s how geeks have their fun, and you should too
If you grew up like I did in the 1970s, you probably live in awe of technology. Like me. Those were times when portable music meant lugging huge boom boxes—guzzling D-sized batteries—while going out on picnics. Portable communication was the stuff of science fiction, a technology that reached its climax in Star Trek. Even the refrigerator needed de-frosting every 10 days. Some say the world was simple then. But I say technology has made our world more comfortable, not complex. Today’s worst Indian car is more efficient, more comfortable and runs faster than anything we had in the 1970s.
The last decade changed the way we deal with technology. We even look at geeks differently. Geeks no longer fantasise only about the latest chip from AMD. Today’s geeks are fun-loving. They are determined to enjoy life, and are using technology to do just that.
Technology is evolving to ensure that everybody can live a great life. It gives you the tools to do what you want to do, when you want to do it—from letting your mobile phone hunt for an ATM or restaurant to using augmented reality to evaluate a car without even going to the showroom. Welcome to a world of superconvenience.
Here are a few cool things that will change your life irrevocably. For the better, we expect.
REALLY SMART SMARTPHONES
Smartphones started out as mobile phones that could double up as PDAs. Today, they have limitless capabilities. You can scan the barcode of any item at a store and send it to Amazon to compare prices. Just wait till all retail stores enter this game. Face recognition apps will identify who you’re speaking to at a party. Once Pranav Mistry’s Sixth Sense technology gets into these gadgets, you could get closer to something seen only in sci-fi flicks: telekinesis.
EMWAVE STRESS RELIEVER
With 16 years of scientific research, a company called HeartMath has been able to understand how the inner mechanics of stress affect both your performance and emotional state. Its personal stress reliever is a unique portable device that tells you how stress is ruining your body (if your wife and doctor are not enough).
You know that awful feeling of waking up tired even after eight hours of sleep. Well, new research says that the trick to waking up fresh is not to know when to sleep, but when to get up. This Wakemate does exactly that. It identifies your unique sleep cycle and then chooses the best time to wake you up. And its price is not something over which you will lose any sleep.
Wii-Fit will change the way you look at exercise. After all, dragging yourself to a gym is tiring enough in itself. With Wii-Fit, your living room or even bedroom can become your gym. It uses gesture recognition technology to let you play games like virtual tennis or boxing, where you control the game by running, jumping and reaching out—instead of using a mouse.
THE NEATO XV11
Remember how the vacuum cleaner was supposed to relieve your life? Sadly, we never got round to using it because it was literally a pain in the back. So here comes the Neato, a robotic cleaner. It automatically maps all the rooms on a floor and methodically cleans each while you are away at work. In case you forget to charge it, it even charges itself.
COLOUR E-INK SCREENS
An e-ink screen is more comfortable on the eyes (than an LCD screen) because it is non-flickering and looks like real paper. Its battery lasts very long because it needs power only while turning pages (unlike LCDs that need to stay powered all the time). The only trouble with them earlier was that initial brands like Kindle had no colour. That was then. Today, with Nook Colour, you have no reason to look away.
Price: $249 (Nook Colour)
THE HONDA U3-X
The Segway was supposed to revolutionise personal transport. The only problem was, the vehicle itself was not very portable. You still needed a car to take it to the mall. So here is Honda’s solution. You not only ride this U3-X into the smallest of office spaces, you can even carry it in a suitcase—if not a large briefcase.
Price: not available
This is not the first 3D camcorder in the market. And that says a lot about how the 3D market is evolving. People, it seems, want to watch birthday parties in 3D, not just Avatar. This Sony gizmo gives you 3D in High Definition. For the weak hearted, or really daring types, you can choose between light 3D effects or really intense ones.
The Sony above, great as it is, still needs special 3D glasses. This Nintendo, for kids of all ages, gives you 3D without special glasses. So the next time Mario jumps up for the coin, watch out for your nose.