Futuristic drones, wearables, and augmented reality are cool tools to watch, say tech enthusiasts.
Speaker and self-professed gadget geek Leslie Fisher took to ISTE 2015 to share her favorite futuristic tech tools at her session “Attack of the Gadgets,” where she previewed everything from drones that follow you to next-gen augmented reality tools to a gadget that really does attack you.
From the just-released to the possible pipe dream, here’s a sampling of the future of tech:
Lily. Your own personal paparazzi drone flies and follows you (or, rather, the tracking device you wear like a watch) for up to 20 minutes as it snaps photos and records video from way up high. It’s also waterproof, captures sound, and shoots in HD. Release: February 2016; $500
Pavlok. Fisher describes this bracelet that uses light electric shocks to help wearers reach goals and break bad habits as “a personal coach for your wrist — a personal coach who is basically a low-grade masochist.” Users who don’t meet their goals risk getting zapped, having shaming Facebook posts pushed to their feed, and even losing money (to other users who are meeting their goals, naturally). According to a video on its website, the bracelet bullied one user into abstaining from all refined sugar (which admittedly was her goal) in a single day. Release: Pre-order; $200
QBall. Basically a dodgeball with a built-in microphone, this soft, bouceable sphere can be linked into any sound system and tossed around a classroom or auditorium for audience participation. Release: Pre-order
(Next page: Augmented reality, iPad tools, & more)
Microsoft HoloLens. Think Google Glass in 3D, but, perhaps, in learning from Glass’ downfall, designed more for home, school, or professional use. Using augmented reality to layer 3D models around your natural environment, Microsoft brags of applications in gaming (picture a Minecraft world in your living room), STEM careers, and — why not? — squinting to see a distant television-like “screen” while wearing enormous glasses. Release: 2016, likely
Osmo. This little device hooks onto the iPad’s camera and lets you play games (tangram puzzles, word games) that combine physical objects with the iPad’s interface. In one activity, you can draw lines or place objects on a piece of paper that are mirrored onscreen and impact how a ball bounces. According to the publisher, it builds social intelligence and creative thinking, but all Fisher noticed was how unnaturally well the kids in the video were taking turns.
Release: Already out; $80
Myo. This armband uses the electrical activity of your muscles to wirelessly control nearby devices with the snap of the fingers or a simple gesture. Astounding technology, although according to this video it seems somewhat bizarrely limited to advancing slide presentations. Even the Clapper had more uses. Release: The future is here! Or can be for $200
3Doodler. By melting a special filament, this maker space-friendly pen exudes a quick-drying ink that can draw in 3D. Different nozzles and accessories can change up the look and there are more than 60 colors to choose from.
Release: Out now; $100