Whichever hot gadget do you hope to find under he tree this year? An iPod Photo? Motorola RAZR V3 cell phone? But those are so passé. So AARP. So 2007. To be truly hip, you need to start angling for the hot tech toys of Diwali 2010.
Like, maybe a translating digital camera. Say you're hiking in the Spanish jungle, and you get bitten by a snake. While scrunch up in pain, you notice a sign that says, "¡Peligro! Serpientes venenosas!" But you don't know Spanish.
So you take a photo of the sign, click a "translate" button on the camera, and the screen shows that the sign says, "Danger! Poisonous snakes!" Wouldn't that be handy? There's actually a working prototype in Hewlett-Packard's labs.
Technology is moving so fast that some prophecy about consumer gizmos in 2010 seem almost unbelievable. The ultra hot tech gifts that child might demand three or four years out. These products might be mainstream by then, or might be the kind that only early adopters buy. But early versions are being developed now inside labs and start-ups.
The predictions come from H-P Labs, Microsoft Research, Motorola's labs and the FedEx Institute of Technology. Also contributing is technology author Stephen Waite and Internet whiz kid Blake Ross. According to them, here's what you might find under the tree at the end of the decade:
Personal Smart Stuff Technology. (PSST) Open a box of PSST, and you'd find sheets of dot-size stickers, each embedded with a tiny radio frequency identification (RFID) chip that can store a few bits of data and transmit it wirelessly. You'd also find half-dozen or so RFID readers to place around the house to tie in with your wireless network.
You put the stickers on things — your iPod, key chain, jacket, notebook and so on. On your home computer, you enter some information that corresponds with the sticker on each item — perhaps what the item is and some instructions. Maybe you tell PSST that if it senses that your jacket (presumably with you in it) leaves the house but your keys are still on the kitchen counter, PSST should send a text message to your cell phone, giving you the number of a good locksmith.
In essence, your stuff would be on your home network, much as Web pages are on the Internet, everything one owns to be indexible, One can search to see if he has a CD before buying it, and if one does, have it give off a signal so one can find it in the closet." At H-P Labs has tested a rough version on a sixth-grader. They attached one sensor to the kid's T-shirt, one to his scooter and one to his backpack. If the boy got dressed, hopped on his scooter and left for school without his backpack, an electric shock — ha ha, just kidding, it was a little red light — reminded him he forgot something.
The Mach-X ND Razor and Never-Smell Sox. Nano technology can give materials astounding new properties. Only a few items — such as Nano-Tex pants that feel like cotton but don't wrinkle — will be on the market next year.
One likely product: a razor, coated with diamond like nano-materials that will never get dull or corrode. One blade for the whole of a man's shaving life — a great bar mitzvah gift! Of course, it would probably cost thousands of dollars.
Another nano-product: socks that feel like cotton but are infused with anti-microbial silver particles. Leave a dirty pair in your locker for six months, and instead of smelling like a public toilet, they won't smell at all.
Subscription robots. Start with something like Sony's Aibo robot dog — but a more advanced version, with excellent speech recognition and a wireless Internet connection. Mix in broadband Internet and Wi-Fi in your home. What do you get? A "toy" for your kid that can download and deliver content and services from the Net, says Jim Phillips, CEO of the FedEx Institute, which is working on such devices. Maybe you want this toy-bot to teach your kid Chinese. Pay a monthly fee, and the bot will follow your kid around, naming things in Chinese and responding only to commands in that language. Or subscribe to a bedtime-story service, and the bot will read your child a different book every night. This could also be a good companion for, say, your aging mother, along with a service that makes the bot follow her around.
Personal Theater. A cell phone that's also an MP3 player is cool this year. A cell phone that can download and play movies on a tiny screen will be cool next year. By 2010, you'll want a cell phone that can deliver a complete surround-sound home theater experience, says Padmasree Warrior, Motorola's chief technology officer. Motorola is working on phones that could download a full high-definition movie. The phone would include a micro-projector that could show the movie on any flat surface, whether a wall or the back of a tray table on an airliner. Headphones would deliver theater like sound. No word, though, on when cell phones will be able to make popcorn.
3D video player. If cell phones can deliver a digital movie, then you're going to expect something more from a home theater. And that, apparently, might be 3D theater, according to Microsoft Research chief Rick Rashid.
TV programs would be shot from multiple angles, and software would put the images together into a 3D effect that would not require those goofy glasses. "All of this works today in the lab," Rashid says.
Club Health Integrated Personal System. To be otherwise known as CHIPS.
By 2010, Ross suggests, high-end health clubs will embed chips and wireless transmitters in all the equipment. You could then get a watch with wireless capabilities, heart rate monitor and other health features. When you do 20 reps on the ab machine, your watch would record the reps, the weight, the time it took and whether you were close to having a heart attack. If you actually do have heart failure, the watch could call a hospital When you go home, the watch would connect to your wireless network and download all the info into your home computer, which might also contain software that could tell you how many more reps you'd have to do to burn off that chocolate éclair you just snarfed down.
Electronic paper reader. Electronic paper and ink have come a surprisingly long way in recent years. By 2010, consumers might be able to buy a foldable device with the size, weight and feel of a comic book.
Text and graphics would look like a printed product, though the ink could be changed to become anything — an issue of Time, the latest John Irving novel, INDIA TODAY. New content could be downloaded wirelessly. So no need to Buy Newspapers and Magazines.
This futuristic write-up on how technology will change the way we live by the year 2010 is dedicated to my would-be Dr. Neena Bhatia and her Late mother Mrs. Krishna Bhatia. Dr. Neena is a great inspiration to contribute in whichever way one can contribute to humanity and be selfless and spread love, peace and education all over the world. My Heart full best wishes to Her for fruition of the selfless service she is doing to the society as a whole and the unknown people for whose happiness she strives day in and day out.
Vijay Kaul is a Technology man doing Global Best Practices Awards assessment and recommendations, Business Analytics, Consulting and Project Management for the Information & Communication Technology Practice of A Growth Consulting M.N.C. As an Industry Analyst .Vijay's greatest asset is his domain knowledge of both Telecom & I.T. Domains and his understanding of the Global Markets.Vijay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 91-11-9868513728.
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