February 14, 2017
Ten years may not seem so long ago, but things were quite different then. The mortgage bubble hadn’t yet burst to launch the Great Recession, and nobody had ever heard of a Fitbit. While most of the basic background tech was in place, it is only in the last decade that the electronics below become viable enough to shake up the consumer electronics industry now and in the future. If you look around, you’ll realize that technology is something that is very much a part of society and our daily functions. We use technology in the morning when we get up, on the way to work, during work, on the way home, and usually to relax at night. If you aren’t aware of the role technology plays in your life, imagine you are in a power outage and consider everything you would be able to use without a way to charge it or power it electrically. Below we have discussed four different ways that electronics has rapidly advanced in the last decade.
1. Connected Appliances
As of 2013, people began talking about the ‘Internet of Things.’ It’s the same compact technology behind mobile phones that lets your electrical devices, even your refrigerator, connect via Wi-Fi. Your Smart thermostat or lights can respond to mobile apps and send you alerts if there’s a problem. They can also send information to manufacturers that helps build better products. While these new innovations have made life much more convenient, it is sometimes overlooked just how much technology plays a role in our daily lives. Think of all the electronics and appliances you use in your daily routine; or even your morning routine. What would happen if those electronics all of the sudden quit working and you had to change your routine? When we stop to think about it, it’s quite shocking how much technology is integrated into our lives.
2. Robots Everywhere
In 2012, Rethink Robotics began selling a mobile robot capable of learning and performing simple tasks without harming nearby humans. Robotics is expected to be an $80 billion industry by 2022. Those who have completed electrical engineering online classes are becoming sought-after employees. Online degrees are available to provide the training in navigation, communication, and micro-devices involved in this rewarding field that continues to change the world.
3. 3-D Printers
The first prototypes appeared around 2010. These machines can lay down a variety of materials to create objects with precision—often within the width of a human hair. We’ve seen 3-D printers create arterial transplants, custom prosthetic limbs, car parts, and gourmet desserts. One day they’ll become the single most important home appliance, capable of creating almost anything you need. 3-D printing technology is definitely something we can expect to expand and grow in the future.
4. Wearable Technology
It started with the Fitbit back in 2007, but now you have other companies producing their own health tracking devices. The Sony Smartwatch appeared in 2012 to combine some features of cellphones and Fitbits. Google Glass came along in 2014 to present information on wearable lenses. While most consumers are still obsessed with their Smartphones and all they can accomplish, the wearables industry is also expanding, and in the years to come may replace Smartphones.
While more sophisticated systems are benefiting science and military as well, the biggest impact for most of us is consumer electronics. The tech is now so small that it brings Internet connection, cloud computing, and thousands of apps straight to our phones. As the IoT and wearables take off, modern electronics can deliver these capabilities straight to you—on almost anything you own.
Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.