Today I have compiled a list of 5 technologies to look forward to this year. I believe the item’s on this list will be game changing in their technological area: 5) Synaptics new range of touch interfaces Synaptic’s are touch pad manufactures who have been around since 1995. If you’ve had any device that has a touch device, the chances are you’ve used one of their products. This year they will be releasing a new range of touch products that will offer more than the current touch products around at the moment. These are: ForcePad, ThinTouch and the ClearPad. The ForcePad is their latest Touch Pad device. This uses pressure tracking sensors instead of the traditional mechanical switches that are in current use. What it does is measure the pressure that your finger is asserting on the pad. Light movement will move the cursor around on the screen and applying pressure will select. This is similar to standard touch pads. However, the pressure tracking sensors allow for extra features as it allows the tracking of multiple fingers. For example: When you use your current touch pad, to right click an icon you have to you the right click button on the bottom of the touch pad. What they have done is do away with the buttons at the bottom and made it so that taping the pad with two fingers is right click. The extra functions are supposed to work in conjunction with the new Windows 8 operating system (which is designed for touch input first). The ForePad allows the users to use all of the 8 touch commands that come with Windows 8 and has the technology to expand in the future. The next in their products is the ThinTouch. The ThinTouch is synaptics new range of keyboards that were originally designed for the ultrabooks and thin notebooks. The main difference is the thickness of the keys. Modern keys use a scissor technology. These range from 6mm to 3.5mm. In comparison, the ThinTouch is 2.5mm at its highest point. This allows for very thin laptops or larger batteries for the laptop. But, this isn’t the coolest thing about the ThinTouch. The whole keyboard is equipped with capactive touch sensors which will allow you to do gestures with the keyboard along with the touch pad. Since each key has a capactive touch sensor installed there is an electronic field over the surface of the keyboard. This would allow for near field gestures to be done as well (waving your fingers over the keyboard rather than touching the keys.) The last of their products is the ClearPad. This is designed for smart phones, tablets and notebooks in mind with up to 17” displays. This uses a single chip (a combinations of display controller and touch controller) to do the work. This reduces the energy consumed, the cost of the ship and reduces the latency as well (latency means the time between command and response). This allows for much quicker response times to your touch commands, increases the battery life of the device and brings down its cost. Overall the reason I’m looking forward to these devices coming out is because they will change the way we interact with the devices we use. It will allow for much more fluid control over the touch device and improve the PC human interface. 4) The rise of OLED When is comes to display technology there are 4 technologies used: Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), Plasma, Cathode Ray Tube (still around but not in main stream use) and Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED). The last one in that list is the latest in display technology. It has been around for while and is utilized in small screen devices such as the PSP Vita and the range of Samsung smart phones. However, LG have very recently released their new 55” TV that uses OLED. The great thing about OLED it that it is much for energy efficient compared to LCD and plasma. It also allows for much thinner displays compared to LCD and plasma. Combining both of these qualities means it’s great for portable devices as it would offer greater battery life (or in the case of static displays less electricity being used which is great when we are all going green) and will either make the device thinner or offer more space inside the device to be utilized by other systems. The most interesting thing about OLED is that a number of people believe that OLED could herald flexible, “bendy” devices. The reason for this is that OLED doesn’t require a glass screen. This means that devices that are made from OLED will be lighter, more durable and can be folded away or even wearable. Samsung are already in the final stages of making their flexible phone (made from OLED) and should be released in the first couple of months of 2013 3) Google Glasses Google glasses are Google’s latest in mobile devices which run off the android operating system. It is a pair of glasses which displays the data on the inside of the glasses as a HUD (Heads Up Display). It is controlled by voice command and can be used on the move. Even though it isn’t the first pairs of HUD glasses it will probably be an innovation in its own right (such as the iPad not being the first tablet but it did kick start tablet technology). What the glasses allow you to do is to have a constant stream of data whilst you are on the move. So unlike smart phones (which you have to hold in your hand and look at) all the information will all ready be there in front of yours eyes. There are also rumours that Google are considering adding a phone capability to the glasses. With this capability it could completely change the playing field when it comes to portable devices. 2) Leap Motion Leap motion is a small box that sits in front of your keyboard. What it does is add a completely new dimension to controlling your computer. Traditionally you’d use a keyboard and either a touchpad, touch screen or mouse to select items. What leap motion does is it allows you to control the computer by waving your hand over it. It senses the gestures your hand makes whilst over the device and then translates and inputs it into the computer. To get a better understanding I highly recommend you watch the video on their website: https://leapmotion.com/ 1) Oculus Rift As a fan of video games I’m very much looking forward to the Oculus Rift. What most gamers want and enjoy about gaming is immersion, the feeling that they are actually inside and are apart of the game they are playing. This is mostly achieved by getting the biggest screens possible (or in the case of a number of avid computer gamers having multiple screens), having a good surround sound system and, if you are very serious about your gaming, a head tracker (this tracks to movements of your head and then uses that in your game). The only downside to all of this is that it costs a lot of money and is limited on the feeling of immersion in the sense what you see on the screen is limited in the field of view. What Oculus Rift does is take immersion to the next level. It’s a pair of goggles that you wear on your head. It will then display the game inside your goggles which will gives you a peripheral vision and a sense of depth, none of which can be achieved by a normal screen. It links up to your computer using a DMI connector and there are plans in the future for it to be used on consoles as well. They have a video on their website that demonstrates the Oculus Rift: http://www.oculusvr.com/ I hope you have found this blog interesting and will look forward to these new technologies with the same anticipation as I do. Thank you for reading.