10 Tech Trends for 2016
The new year should bring significant developments in virtual reality, smart cars and little green things.
Predicting the future is always a little dicey, particularly in the realm of technology. Things tend to move fast. But with this year's Consumer Electronics Show underway, a kind of rough consensus is emerging on what to watch for in 2016. We take a look at 10 cresting trends for the year.
With the long-awaited arrival of the
, 2016 is expected to be the year when virtual reality finally becomes actual reality. Oculus announced new details at CES: The $599 Rift will debut in March, with more than 100 compatible titles released by the end of the year.
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Our seemingly inevitable future of self-driving smart cars will roll a bit closer in 2016. Ford has announced it will
of its autonomous test car fleet, and you can expect more dialogue between your car, your phone and even your
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With Netflix and YouTube leading the way, expect purveyors of online streaming media to continue their all-out assault on Hollywood, network television, cable, satellite and other quaint little entertainment institutions. Watch for improved buffet-style TV channel
for dedicated cord cutters.
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As sci-fi as it sounds, the era of companion robots has officially dawned. We should see several consumer models finally hit shelves in 2016, like the home personal assistant
, pictured above, or the mobile humanoid 'bot known as
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When the FAA announced mandatory registration of drones in late 2015, the agency was clearly preparing for 2016. Expect an aerial armada of lighter, faster, nimbler drones with improved camera technology and earnest user-friendliness. Some, like the
pictured here, will follow you around on their own. Others might eventually
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Artificial intelligence will continue to be a white-hot area of research in the labs, as it has been for several years. But watch for more curveball applications to leak out to the real world as neural networks start tackling activities like
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With crowdfunding hitting its stride as an entrepreneurial superhighway, expect plenty of small-scale eco-friendly innovations in 2016. For instance, the
water bottle system pictured here fills itself by condensing moisture from the air.
The year started out with a
when Ukraine officials confirmed that hackers had caused a massive blackout by targeting power grids. It's believed to be the first attack of its kind, and you can expect cybersecurity issues to be on the front burner in 2016 across the board.
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Wearable computing devices continue to be a slowly percolating trend, and we'll likely see iterative improvements on popular fitness bands and smart watches. Also keep an eye peeled for innovative variations on the theme, like the
One of the year's quieter anticipated trends may actually prove to be the most useful for us civilians, on a day-to-day basis. At this year's CES, several companies showcased promising new products for charging up your phone quickly, or wirelessly, or both at the same time. Stealthy little items like the
side table, pictured here, take advantage of emerging smart phone standards for wireless charging.
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