It is impossible to deny, that we are now well and truly in the digital age. Resistance is futile.
Ambitious, if slightly extraordinary concepts in films such as Tron, Blade Runner, Back to the Future and more recently I, Robot, gave us a ‘glimpse’ of what the future may hold, but how far away are we really from witnessing the ideas of these over-stimulated directors come to fruition?
Unfortunately, we are still some way off being able to pop to the shop on a Marty McFly Mattel hoverboard, but that is not for the want of trying. Many designs and prototypes have been made, but none have come close to reproducing the experience depicted in the film.
The idea of human-built robots uprising and attempting to overthrow their creators is nothing new, and the Japanese are currently leading the way in designing and building eerily life-like robots, but the threat of a rebellion is about as likely as a DeLorean actually traveling Back to the Future.
So what gadgets are readily available to us?
To first understand this, we must consider how they have come about. Consumerism and the modern way of living have demanded that our gadgets operate in a certain way, as the following are expected of them:
1. Information/Labour-saver – A gadget must either make menial tasks easier, or provide us with information.
2. Efficiency – Speaks for itself.
3. Speed – If it is going to take longer than doing it the old fashioned way, then what is the point?
4. Compactness/Mobility – No gadget can really honor that title if it does not at least have a mobile counterpart.
5. Look – It needs to look cool, futuristic, and mysterious!
The key, which has already been mentioned, is digital. Watches were digitalized, then along came the internet, then radio and TV were given the digital treatment – so below is a list of the top 10 gadgets that can truly claim to have changed our lives or the way we interact with our environment and other people. [This is a guest post by Yang, who’s interested in all the quirky but cool things in the world. She’s also good at creative stag and hen do ideas.]
Paved the way for the 3DS and PS Vitas of today, and made school bus journeys and rainy lunchtimes a pleasant experience after all. Nothing like it had really been seen before, and although the graphics were shady (pun intended) it was the first step of a revolution in mobile game-play.
From early models to the the latest iPod Touch, Apple truly reinvented the way in which we listen to – and have instant access to – music. Gone are the days of having to carry a boombox like a bazooka on your shoulder, or a carry-case of your favorite CDs along with an un-pocket friendly walkman/CD player. The latest Touch boasts Face Time, HD Video Recording, Retina Display, Air Play, Music + iTunes, Games + Apps, iOS, iCloud, Air Print and Voice Control.
Perhaps not really taking off as an individual gadget in its own right, the birth of the webcam certainly influenced the way modern technology is built today. Very few laptops are now made without a built-in webcam, and the cameras on phones are utilized to allow video calling. It meant that computer software such as Skype allows meetings to be held over long distances, and friends and family can stay in touch in a more personal way than just being able to hear their voice.
Satnavs and TomTom’s have more or less made the road map redundant, which is all you can ask from a modern gadget. Gone are the days of sitting on the side of the road whilst Dad spreads his A3 map on the car hood. They are fun too, with downloadable celebrity voices allowing the likes of Homer Simpson to frantically tell you which turn to take.
Considered as a better option to the iPad, and unlike its Apple counterpart, the 7 inch touch screen gadget supports flash as well as voice and video calls. Completely re-imagining the laptop, Tablets, Kindles and the like are becoming more powerful and more compact with each new release, and the possibilities and use of them are all but endless.
A technology that almost snuck up on us like a highly trained ninja, bluetooth has now become so mainstream and synonymous with the 21st Century it is a wonder how we ever lived without it. The applications for it are endless, allowing us to wirelessly transmit data between phones, PCs, TVs, and even allow us to wirelessly use our phones whilst driving, meaning bluetooth can help avoid an unwanted run-in with the boys in blue.
Although it must be said that photos produced from a polaroid retain a certain charm, it certainly was not fun when you realized that the film was full, and a trip to go and get it developed was required. Now, you can take countless photos and not only view them instantly, but have them uploaded and printed within an instant, and the quality of picture keeps on improving.
All from the comfort of your armchair, the remote control allows you to tell your Sky + HD box to pause live TV if the double glazing salesman decides to pay a visit just as it looks like your football team is about to concede, then fast forward to real time so that you don’t have to witness it. It allows you to rewind, record other programs whilst you watch something else, record whole series, and view it all in spectacular High Definition.
We all remember a time when we would visit our nan, and she would still have an old black and white box telly. Well not anymore. Flat screen, digital, and now 3D TV is literally staring you square in the face. Already incorporated in most cinemas, 3D technology, whilst perhaps still in the early stages of development, is a very exciting prospect indeed.
Android, iPhone and Smartphones have literally redefined the way we live. Now, a mobile does not simply make calls, take photos, and allow us to play Snake. They can talk to each other, to laptops, to TVs – to pretty much anything with a digital pulse. You can watch films on them, have instant access to YouTube and Facebook, play PROPER games, store ALL of your music, and more, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
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