With a brand new year comes exciting new technological developments. Following the year kicking off with CES 2022, we’re looking forward to seeing what this year has in store for upcoming tech. So, what are the main tech trends we can expect to see thrive this year?
A popular tech trend we expect to see (or not see…) this year is invisible headphones. At CES 2022, various brands showcased their new headphone options to visitors, but the most exciting ones weren’t the traditional headphones we have grown to know.
Shokz (formerly known as AfterShokz) has launched a new set of Bluetooth bone conduction headphones. Where we once craved the absolute silence of noise cancelling headphones, bone conduction headphones are designed to let you hear high-quality sound while being aware of your surroundings. They are ideal for people who want to remain aware in busy environments (in the office, perhaps?) or while partaking in outdoor activities including running and cycling.
Bone conduction headphones work by sending vibrations through your cheekbones and jaw, into your inner ear. The brain then processes those sound vibrations into the content that streams through the headphones. Since they do not plug your ear canal, they are a perfect option for those who want or need to be aware of the happenings around them.
Another exciting trend in the headphone world is invisible headphones. The Noveto N1s appear to be a soundbar speaker, but thanks to their beamforming technology, the device creates a headphone experience, without headphones.
The beamforming technology works by transmitting ultrasound through the air, meaning the audio is heard only by the user. The non-headphones use motion sensors and facial recognition to track the user’s ears to ensure the sound consistently hits the right spot, even when a user turns their head. Others in the room will only be able to hear a whisper of a sound, while the user is immersed in three-dimensional audio.
This technology could be another great alternative to wearing headphones in the office, and help reduce listening fatigue and headaches that are a common result of wearing tightly-clamped headphones for long periods of time.
We can’t mention any new trends without talking about the impact of COVID. As the world still continues to move back to normal, hybrid working is becoming increasingly popular among the global population. This year’s CES featured countless new technologies that were developed and built after the pandemic started. This means tech was geared to have higher webcam quality, audio and AI noise cancellation and to be used from anywhere—at home or in the office.
The increased time spent at home also means that there were more home-based tech developments. This includes more home assistants, and more accessible healthcare and fitness machinery.
Healthcare and fitness
An intriguing healthcare development comes in the shape of a light bulb. Sengled is the smart light bulb with built-in health monitoring technology. This light bulb can track sleeping patterns, heart rate, body temperature and other vital health signs. Using Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave radar, combined with advanced AI algorithms, the bulb can accurately track health statistics. Users can connect multiple bulbs together with a Bluetooth Mesh network to create a virtual map that can consistently track and detect human behaviour—it can even detect when someone has fallen asleep and send for help.
As fitness trackers continue to be popular, they also continue to get smaller. Starting from armbands, to watches and fitbits, to where we are now: rings. That’s right—there are now powerful smart rings that can do everything from track health and fitness to letting you pay for a coffee.
The McLear RingPay takes contactless payment a step further, and helps you pay with a finger. Compatible with both iOS and Android users, the ring creates an isolated bank account that sits between your cards and lets you make payments up to £100 with a closed-fist gesture. A companion app keeps track of your spending (including locations and amounts) and activates an automatic top-up.
Another exciting smart ring is the Circular Ring. Although yet to officially be on the market, it’s potential for health, fitness and habit tracking is huge. The hypoallergenic plastic ring has an accelerometer and heart rate monitor that will track a user’s health 24/7. It will also offer sleep tracking, including the ability to measure blood oxygen levels and a wearer’s circadian rhythm. In addition, the ring will also include a smart assistant that will track and help you act on bad habits to address them.
It’s impossible to talk about the technology trends without mentioning the Metaverse. While technically not yet here, the metaverse has been one of the hottest buzzwords of the past year. However, the reality of the Metaverse is looming. This year we can anticipate more tech brands, gaming companies and social platforms to continue developing Metaverse accessories and experiences.
These can include headsets and controllers that assist in blending reality and digital worlds, or virtual goods and services consumers can purchase within a Metaverse environment that could benefit them in real life (similar to an NFT experience).
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