Technology

7 Future Gadgets (You Can Have Today)

We all know the future is coming (that’s kind of how it works) but sometimes it’s surprising just how fast it shows up.  Here are 7 futuristic gadgets you can add to your lifestyle right now.  Which ones are on your shopping list?

Website for Vuzix augmented reality glasses1. Augmented Reality Glasses.  Google’s much-hyped Project Glass may not be available in stores, but you can go online right now to pick up a pair of augmented reality glasses from Vuzix.  These things will layer relevant information directly onto your vision smoothly and seamlessly.  At least, for $5,000, I sure hope they do.

2. 3D Printers.  Ever seen a sci-fi movie where the main characters need a screwdriver or something, and call up a “replicator” to create one on the spot?  Well, 3D printers are the first step toward that.  For now, consumer versions mostly work with plastic, so some complicated objects are off the table.  But with the right designs, you can still print off just about any 3D object you need or want.  Makerbots has one popular model, but there are others too.

3. Projection keyboard. This is a weightless, virtual keyboard made of light; you can use it to turn any flat surface into a working interface. I last looked into this when I investigated that iPhone 5 “demo” going around the internet.  Although the mobile phone version is, in fact, a myth, you can absolutely get a standalone version.  Here’s one model, available from Thinkgeek or Amazon.

4. Voice Commands.  Okay, so Siri isn’t perfect, but come on – the classic vision of the future involves talking to your devices, and she’s the first foray into that brave new world.  One day, your house, car and grocery store could respond to voice commands.  For now, settle for an iPhone 4S to get a taste of it.
Sketches of charts from Wolfram

5. Artificial Intelligence.  Wolfram-Alpha is an ongoing experiment with artificial intelligence, of a sort. It’s a science database that you can ask questions of, in conversational English.  It then interprets your words, and rather than just tossing you a web page, it tries to answer your question or carry out the requested analysis.  Visit wolframalpha.com and try it out.

6. Tickets to Outer Space.  I am forever grateful to NASA for pioneering manned space exploration.  But the technology has now matured to the point where private companies are taking over.  And that means you – yes, you! – can buy yourself a ticket into space, straight out of your little-kid fantasies.  Check out Virgin Galactic’s website, and if you’re flush with cash, give a call to one of their “space agents.”
Companion robot shaking hands with a human

7. Household Robots.  If you have a Roomba, you’ve already got a little robot that sweeps your floor for you.  But will you take the next step and trust a robot to mow your lawn?  Pick up the terrifying Automower and find out today!  If virtual companionship is more your thing, swing by Mitsubishi and ask for a Wakamaru to keep you company.

Guess if I want to go into space, I’d better start saving soon!  Do you own any of these pieces of the future?  Any great ones that I missed?  Tell us about it below!  And check out this list of futuristic Christmas gifts for more ideas.

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3 thoughts on “7 Future Gadgets (You Can Have Today)

  1. The automowers will be the first to attack when Wolfram-Alpha (tungsten?) takes control of all the robots and stages its rebellion against us troublesome humans. And the woman the ad is sleeping so peacefully as the automower sneaks in for the kill!

    • Yes! I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to give autonomy to a lawnmower, but they just made the robot uprising that much worse for everyone.

  2. I read an article last spring or winter (which at this point is almost a year after this article was posted), talking about how someone was trying to get a patent and license for plastic guns which could be printed from a 3d printer, that shoot real live metal rounds, . So of course one of the first things we’re going to do with rudimentary replication technology is stream line a way for us to kill each other for fewer cents on the dollar. I’m not so sure the lawnmowers will have many of us to mop up once the uprising comes, unfortunately

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