2013 Tech Highlights
In 2013, tech innovation has seen us move closer to a post-digital vision, where the melding of analogue and digital becomes indistinguishable.
3D Printing & Drawing
2013 was the year of 3D printing, shifting from fashionable gimmick to a viable means of instant production. The Cube is the best we’ve seen in terms of size and price (starting at £949, it’s small enough to fit on a desk). See 3D Printing Update for the latest.
Projects like the 3Doodler however, are even more instantaneous. This pen is a compact 3D printer that releases heated plastic as you write or draw mid-air. Another example is the Mataerial anti-gravity modelling device that can create large-scale linear objects without the need of additional support structures.
Similarly, Circuit Scribe is a rollerball pen that writes with conductive silver ink. Users can create simple circuit systems within seconds; a great tool for education. We are expecting even more disruptive innovation like this in 2014.
Dawn of the Drones
A week after E-tailer Amazon’s announced its drone delivery concept Deutsche Post-DHL commenced its own test flights. The German delivery company's efforts could see medicine delivered quickly, or to hard-to-reach places more efficientlly by using drones. While scepticism for Amazon's delivery plan is high, this initiative reveals how far drone technology has come over the year.
New Digital Interfaces
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, South Korean brand Samsung announced flexible OLED displays that can be bent and moulded – the idea being that soon any surface or object can be a computer.
Global tech company Fujitsu Laboratories has designed a touchscreen interface that responds to a user’s touch, making static objects like paper interactive. See more here.
A similar project by designer Jakub Záhor allows users to create an operational screen out of any glass surface. A pocket-sized device streams a hologram display on to the surface, which users can interact with. Read more about it here.
Coin: a credit-card-sized device that digitally stores data from multiple debit, credit or loyalty cards in one place.
Project Ara by Motorola: an open-source platform to create modular mobile phones.
Neptune Pine Smartwatch: which dubs itself “the most connected independent smartwatch”.
Disney’s Paper Batteries: an innovation that sees electricity generated without batteries.
Toymail: a wi-fi-connected toy that allows parents to communicate remotely with their children.
See our New Startups: Tech Trends for 2013 report for a forward-facing look at the tech landscape.