Tech Column: Spotlight on upcoming gadgets and technology trends. - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Islander Times News

Tech Column: Spotlight on upcoming gadgets and technology trends.

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Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014 5:14 pm

Wearable technology is just like the tablet computer: it has been around for a long time, but only recently has it become a major product category. The biggest difference between tablets and smart apparel is that Apple puts tablets in the mainstream. Smart watches and glasses have been in futuristic movies for a very long time. Virtual reality has always been a video game player’s fantasy. Most of these technologies have been a far-off dream, but today’s tech companies are edging towards making them a reality.

Smart watches have been growing in production for the last few years as companies look somewhere other than smartphones for profits. The smart watch industry right now is near nonexistent. While there are many options on the market, most of them are too geeky looking, expensive, or nonfunctional to warrant a purchase by the everyday consumer. The biggest potential change in this attitude is the Moto 360, a smart watch that aims to blend the aesthetics of a normal watch with the functionality and appeal of a smartphone. The Moto 360, developed by Google-owned Motorola, hits stores this summer at a price rumored to be low enough where people might actually buy one.

Most current virtual reality games are nothing but cheap gimmicks. A company called Oculus (now owned by Facebook) wants to change those terrible games into something you’re willing to buy with their virtual reality headset called Oculus Rift. This device is small, lightweight and fits over your eyes. It is capable of playing major games like Minecraft and enables first-person shooters similar to Call of Duty. It is in closed beta right now, which means a public release is in the near future.

Out of all these futuristic products, the most exciting one is Google Glass. This heads-up display technology provides an overlay for the world around you by putting a transparent screen in front of your eyes. Imagine looking at your smartphone whenever you want, without taking it out of your pocket. While there are some major privacy issues surrounding this technology, (it has a camera capable of facial recognition on the front) it has the potential to change the world. For example, as you look at a product in the store, Google Glass could automatically find it at a cheaper price at a different location down the street. Directions could appear in front of your face before you have a chance to make a wrong turn. San Francisco 49ers Coach and CUSD Parent Jim Harbaugh recently sported his Google Glasses on the field. All of these innovations have their downsides, and those must be considered as these products near their releases to the public. The world is changing at an ever-increasing pace; the hard part for the everyday consumer will be keeping up.

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