Digitization is often associated with the intangible. Software, programs, apps, data – all of this exists in the airwaves of the Internet. But it’s impossible for us mortal, earthbound humans to access all this digital data without hardware. Thankfully, tech hardware trends no longer manifest themselves in the restrictive form of a desktop computer.
The growing “Internet of Things” (IoT) has led to an explosion of different hardware formats in recent years. You can find them everywhere, from laptops to mobile phones, from smartwatches to tablets, from cars to refrigerators. Of course, this is an ongoing development, with more inventions appearing all the time. Here are three of the most intriguing tech hardware trends to watch out for right now.
1. Smart glasses and Neuralink address issues.
The concept of smart glasses has been floating around for years. In fact, stories have been around for almost a decade — not just about smart glass use, but even addiction. And yet access to this cutting-edge wearable technology has remained elusive for the general public.
It seems that those days of inaccessibility may be coming to an end in the not too distant future. Reports claim that Apple, Facebook and Amazon are all trying to develop their own versions of wearable AR hardware. Production plans are in flux thanks to the pandemic. Still, we may see a purchasable version of the hardware in the next few years.
In addition, the manufacturers do not only produce intelligent glasses for the general public.
Even before it becomes commonplace, the technology is already being repurposed for more targeted and beneficial applications. XRAI Glass has officially launched a line of smart glasses that help deaf people see real-time conversations. This technology turns conversations into subtitles in no time. This allows a wearer to see the conversation before their eyes, making communication infinitely easier.
While smart glasses have been a long time coming, it seems their debut will be more than entertaining to the general public. It can be life changing.
Implantable devices are on the immediate horizon.
Neuralink is another revolutionary piece of tech hardware that could change a lot. This neurotechnology solution, which is still under development, seeks to use implantable brain-machine interfaces to help people with physical disabilities perform previously impossible tasks.
“You can think of the Neuralink device like a Fitbit or an Apple Watch,” says co-founder Elon Musk. “There we take out a kind of small quarter-sized section of a skull and replace it with something that in a lot of ways really resembles a Fitbit, Apple Watch or some kind of smartwatch thing.”
If successful, Neuralink could be the next step in personal tech hardware. Implantable technology is poised to take the potential of smart glasses to a whole new level.
2. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) are exploding.
Both AR and VR are still in their infancy, with more hardware being released every year.
Jeff Wong, EY’s Global Chief Innovation Officer, talks about the potential of this technology market: “We already have products such as high-resolution virtual reality headsets to offer an immersive view or two-dimensional treadmills to simulate walking in a virtual environment and gloves for haptic feedback that allow us to “move” and “feel” virtual objects. I have no doubt that these cornerstones will continue to improve, their capabilities will expand and prices will fall.”
As Wong suggests, there’s a lot more to AR and VR than just putting on smart glasses.
In fact, one of the reasons Apple’s smart glasses aren’t quite out yet is the assumption that the Silicon Valley tech giant’s much-anticipated AR/VR headset will launch first. This should exhibit Apple’s signature sense of quality. It is rumored to have ultra high definition screens as well as epic cinema speakers. It can even sport a trendy fabric exterior.
Competition in the AR/VR space is intensifying.
While Apple may be a trendsetter, the company isn’t the only presence in the AR/VR game in 2022.
Facebook has also caused a lot of buzz about its latest VR headset, the upcoming Oculus Quest Pro. As well as improving the overall experience, the headset will be able to use face and eye tracking to match facial expressions. The set was also recently rumored to be very similar to the one Apple is trying to launch.
While AR glasses are the favorite for the next wave of consumer AR/VR hardware, standalone VR headsets remain a close second. The question is, will Apple’s upcoming set be able to capture a slice of the market that the Oculus brand dominates?
3. Fitness technique is home bound.
Home fitness hardware has been a growing area of the health and wellness market for years. However, the shift to a remote lifestyle during the pandemic helped fuel this evolution.
Two years later, a range of health and fitness-focused hardware tech solutions are hitting the market — and many of them are rewriting what home fitness looks and feels like.
Leading the way is a wave of smart home fitness equipment. This includes everything from smart bikes and elliptical trainers to wall-mounted workout screens. Fitness mirrors are one of the most popular products lately. The reflective screens mount to the wall and provide oversized access to a variety of different live streaming workout options.
And of course, the creative combination of tech hardware trends and fitness doesn’t stop there. The home-focused health and wellness IoT has also created internet-legal rowing machines, fitness trackers and boxing gloves. FightCamp even has a full-fledged home boxing gym with state-of-the-art punch tracking technology – yes, you read that right – to streamline your workouts.
Fitness has been a focus since before the days of the Spartans. And yet it has never been easier to access technical hardware solutions to get the most out of every single session.
Every day new possibilities come to light.
From practical smart glasses solutions to immersive VR experiences to rewarding home fitness gear, the IoT is expanding every day.
Software typically takes the spotlight. However, the sheer number of new tech hardware trends emerging from this is mind-boggling. It’s a technological revolution that affects everyone around the world. It no longer matters how, where, or when we live the life that best fits our schedule.