From the Apple Watch to 3D printers, 2015 has been a big year for technology. With Back to the Future now completely set in the past, what will 2016 hold for gadget fans?
2016 is looking to be the year of the smartwatch. Despite the fact that smartwatches were around in 2015 , in the new year they’re set to become even more popular. The technology to develop the gadgets has become a lot more widespread meaning manufacturers have been able to refine and tweak their tech.
While early watches weren’t the best looking of accessories, designs for 2016 will be sleeker and trendier with a huge choice of designs, straps and customisations.
Hoover Wizard is available on the market right now. Similar products, will likely surge in popularity in 2016.
The company, who are best known for their vacuum cleaners, have developed kitchen appliances that can be controlled from your smartphone or your PC. Hoover Wizard is a collection of appliances including an oven, hob, hood, fridge-freezer, washing machine and dishwasher which are all wi-fi enabled.
The range works with Android 4.0, iOS 7 and Windows PCs via their app. Users can keep an eye on energy consumption, access favourite programmes, receive alert messages and check appliance status. The Hoover Wizard is availiable right now but it’s likely the new year will see an influx of similar gadgets.
“The automated home is now a reality, with many new builds having heating and lighting controlled by an app and the associated energy saving benefits” Scottish gadget expert Colin Kelly explains, “We’ll see more of this, and greater use of robots. They are already helping with some repetitive chores in the new Glasgow hospital, for example, we might see them doing more tasks in hotels and large office complexes.”
Bluetooth keyboards have been available on the market throughout 2015 but 2016 will see the introduction of one ideal for iOS devices. Stunning Gadget’s bluetooth keyboard has been designed and built with iOS in mind. Of course you can still use it with other Bluetooth-enabled devices but it’s shortcut keys work best with Apple systems making it easier than ever to type lengthy pieces of text on your tablet.
Samsung has confirmed it’s working on a folding phone and if the leaks are correct, that could arrive as early as January 2016. The gadget will use flexible OLED technology meaning that the phone’s display can bend as opposed to being pre-bent like the previous Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The development will produce phones that look like nothing like anything we’ve seen. LG are also developing the bendy screens and even debuted a television so thin it can be attached to a wall using no more than magnets.
VIRTUAL REALITY GLASSES
Scotland is currently playing a significant part in the development of virtual reality. Scottish investment firm Par Equity have backed a Silicon Valley start-up aiming to transform the wearable technology market with the latest virtual reality (VR) glasses and Edinburgh based Eyedak Ltd and Eyedak SL in Gran Canaria have been working on their own product.
2016 is going to be the year of virtual reality, according to Colin. He says: “Already consumers are experiencing products like Google Cardboard, which for as little as £20 allows me to immerse myself in full 360 degree virtual reality video. Microsoft is working on hologram technology and this will further revolutionise the way we do business. For example a plumber might be able to give advice by appearing via hologram in a customer’s kitchen and pointing out how to carry out a basic repair, rather than having to attend in person. This won’t become mainstream this year but will start to gather some momentum.”
Augmented reality has been used in smartphone apps for a few years now but it seems it’s soon to become an actual reality. Augmented reality devices have been appearing in headsets and in cars and most recently. they have gone into space. Augmented reality technology allows you to scan your camera over anything – a shop or restaurant, for example – which it will identify and make suggestions based upon what it sees. Smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 1020 have already capitalised on AR, allowing the user to point the phone to a city street and see names of shops appear above buildings in the display, but this is likely to be developed into something you can use anywhere, without a wi-fi connection.
There will also be a change in the publics approach to technology, Colin predicts: “People are becoming more aware of issues like sustainability. Consumers want to know where products come from and it matters to them that companies are ethical - whether it’s paying tax to the government or giving staff a living wage. Some big brands who don’t do this might suffer and that allows other companies with new ideas and a different way of doing business to prosper.
“Gadgets and technology will continue to be important in our lives but we’ll see more people opting out and demanding time AWAY from connectivity. I think the ‘wearable technology’ bubble has already passed - I think 2016 will become the year the Apple Watch is regarded as a disappointment.”