THE BLOG

2013: A Transformative Year for Tech?

22/03/2013 15:27 GMT | Updated 19/05/2013 10:12 BST

2013 promises to be one of the most transformative in tech ever. In fact, it's already started with the industry's biggest annual circus, CES, which saw the introduction of curved OLEDs, 4K TVs and tablets, 1080p smartphones, a smorgasbord of smartphone-connected gizmos, self-driving cars and the evolution of motion control. Future gazing at technological innovations is fun, but what's more incredible is witnessing those advancements unfold right in front of your very eyes.

Take augmented reality: a decade ago the concept of AR was merely science fiction. Now it's being used for so much more than locating your local coffee shop and could eventually change the entire concept of mobile devices. The Vuzix M100s, Oakley Airwaves and Google's Project Glass throw up a wearable AR experience designed to effortlessly deliver information to the user and offer a level of interaction that's never been done before - whether it's giving voice commands to take a picture, reading texts or email from your phone, navigating a map, controlling music or visually connecting with people around the world.

With advances in sensors and wireless wizardry migrating to body-worn devices, the age of wearable tech is swiftly approaching. And with the Pebble and rumoured Apple iWatch making smartwatches cool again, the demand for tech timepieces that extend the mobile experience and make email notifications, messages, alerts, apps and social networking more accessible is growing by the day. While the iWatch is stuck firmly in rumour territory, the Pebble Smartwatch displays email, social networking updates, apps and more on its e-ink-style display, further bolstering the smartwatch's position as a device that will grow to be an important part of our daily lives.

Evolutionary new ways of interacting with our devices is paving the way for the dawn of a new sci-fi era - like the Tactus Tablet's ability to conjure up keys on a traditional flat touchscreen for a tactile typing experience. But this isn't the only innovative interface intent on revolutionising screen interaction. The future looks flexible thanks to Plastic Logic - one of the driving forces behind this mind-blowing tech that sees an advanced army of super-thin, low-powered bendy e-ink and colour displays housed in ultra-thin form factors. The PaperTab concept, which looks and feels like a bit of paper, can interact and share information with other PaperTabs wirelessly upon contact and turn pages in a document by bending the screen, changing the face of device interaction as we know it.

But interaction, as we know, isn't just about physical contact. Leap Motion's jaw-dropppingly awesome 3D motion control tech system looks set to bring its awesome Minority Report interface to our desks with a hand-tracking system that's one hundred times more accurate than Kinect and offers an experience that doesn't exist in our mouse or keyboard. Pinching-to-zoom, doodling, modelling and gaming are all possible like never before and its gripping, nudging and pinching capabilities are pretty impressive, making its potential for gaming - particularly first person shooters - huge.

Talking of gaming, 2013 is set to be the year of revolutionary games consoles, each carving out their own niche in a bid to offer something drastically different to traditional gaming. One of the most exciting innovations of the year is the Kickstarter funded Oculus Rift headset that has developers and gamers excited about the possibility of virtual reality-based games. Ouya, another Kickstarter success story, promises to bring open-sourced Tegra 3 powered Android gaming to gamers, hackers and developers alike with console-quality titles sold through a built-in store. Chuck in Nvidia's Project Shield - an Android, Tegra 4-powered console controller hybrid capable of powering 4K content and streaming content from a PC - and it's clear the console gaming industry is on the verge of a shake up and 2013 is going to be the year of the kooky console.

So there you have it. The next 10 months are going to undoubtedly prove nail-bitingly exciting for tech, bolstered by new innovations and wonderful advancements that will ultimately improve our day-to-day lives. And if you've ever dreamed about owning a folding car, the upcoming release of the Hiriko means you're in luck.

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