With a new year comes new technology to get excited about, and while the past few years of tech development have been nothing short of mind boggling, 2021’s gadgets show absolutely no sign of slowing down what has been an exponential burst of technological advancement.
What’s on the menu for the next 12 months? A little bit of spatial reality, a self-driving taxi, immersive VR and, of course, a speaker powered by, you guessed it (you didn’t), water. Here are four of the most bewilderingly impressive pieces of tech set to hit the market this year.
Sony Spatial Reality Display
A special type of augmented reality that projects virtual images onto real objects, spatial reality has reached a point of development where Sony now offer a ridiculously accomplished piece of display tech in the form of their Spatial Reality Display.
The SRD produces lifelike three-dimensional viewing for the user without the need for an intermediate device, glasses or a headset. The gadget utilises a real-time rendering algorithm alongside integrated eye-tracking technology to detect your eye movement within a millisecond, sensing your pupil position on vertical, horizontal and depth axes. In layman’s terms, that means it knows exactly where you’re looking at all times, so the image projected remains flawlessly 3D, regardless of your positioning.
The only drawback? A cool RRP of $5,000 will likely leave most people observing from afar.
Ampere Shower Power
Onto something a little more of a novelty but still completely remarkable, Ampere’s Shower Power is a Bluetooth speaker built for shower use, powered entirely by water. Once linked up to your shower, the speaker’s generator uses the water flowing through it to not only produce music while you’re washing, but also to charge the battery for up to 20 hours unsupported use.
Made from recycled ocean plastic, the eco-factor is strong with this one. Still, for those wondering whether it’ll sound any good, Ampere have worked with a number of popular Bluetooth speaker manufacturers, including Monster and Braven, to ensure the musical substance matches the sustainable style.
Virtuix Omni One VR treadmill
If you’ve ever seen home videos of people trying out VR and consequently running into walls or smashing into and breaking furniture, you’ll appreciate that VR immersion isn’t completely fluid in practice just yet. Looking to change that is the Virtuix Omni One VR treadmill – a four-foot-wide platform that allows you to move up, down and side to side in a 360-degree radius, and even detects if you crouch or kneel.
The next big step in making the home VR experience as real as possible, the fairly portable size of the Omni One makes it legitimately accessible for most home users.
Zoox Autonomous personal vehicle
The dream for those who worry about awkward conversations with their taxi driver, Zoox has made a move straight out of the Minority Report/I Robot and co. playbook and introduced an autonomous personal vehicle hailing service.
One of the next steps up in futurology from today’s staples of Uber, Lyft and other hailing services, the Zoox offers a spacious interior cabin with two benches that allow you to sit comfortably while the car weaves its way through traffic for you. That should make the future of taxiing safer, cleaner and a bit more fun.
These four gadgets are just a handful of the utterly perplexing technologies due to be released this year. With lockdown having helped many of us to save up a bit of extra cash, some of us might be able to afford one or two of them, too (the Ampere Shower Power should cost around $100, for example). Still, bear in mind some of these gadgets are very expensive, and you’ll need to budget carefully in order to make room for them.
With tech and gadgetry advances continuing to blow our minds, one can only wonder what’s around the corner for 2022 and beyond.