As the year draws to a close, we are inevitably forced to look back and ponder on what has really happened this year? 2015 has been a big year in the world of tech; from the Apple Watch, to the hoverboard. Not only has technology advanced to make life a little more fun and interesting, there have also been stories of tech projects that have genuinely helped improve the lives of others; some stories you will have definitely heard of and some that you may not have caught.
Here’s a look at the some of the most defining tech moments of 2015.
1. Apple releases the Apple Watch
When Apple introduced their first wearable device, they expected it to be as popular as all their previous devices. After it’s release, Apple boasted the many benefits of the Watch, however their sales plummeted by 90% after it’s first week of sales, according to a report from Slice Intelligence.
This may be due to the watch’s high price of at least £250, and customer’s being dissapointed with the watch after purchase, even saying, “In hindsight I should have probably given that money to charity.”
2. MOM – The Inflatable Incubator
Awarded the International James Dyson Award the MOM is an “inexpensive, electronically controlled, inflatable incubator constructed to decrease the number of premature child deaths within refugee camps.” It’s basically a pop-up incubator that has been used in refugee camps to help prevent the deaths of prematurely born babies. The incubator retains heat and keeps the baby warm and comfortable.
This is truly a great invention of 2015, and we’re glad there are people out there using tech to better the lives of others.
3. Volkswagen’s Dodgy Emmisions Tests
Before September, Volkswagen has a sterling reputation; they were the car that you knew would run for years, and go for hundreds of thousands of miles. Come September, and people began to wonder how much of that is true, after the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) accused Volkswagen of installing software on their cars that conceals the cars’ emmisons, making them look more environmentally friendly than they actually are. According to an EPA press release, the software was installed in over 500,000 diesel cars in the U.S alone.
But what did the software actually do? It basically detected when the car was having an emmisions test, and changed the performance of the car, to improve results, meaning that people’s cars weren’t always as ‘green’ as they thought.
4. The Hoverboard
On October 21st everyone went a little bit crazy over “Back to the Future Day”, however
one of the film’s predicitions of 2015’s tech did come true; the Hoverboard (or ‘Swegway’). The world has gone a bit crazy for them, and most people have had a crack at riding one. Viral videos have been storming social media, of people riding (and even falling), and no matter where you look, you’re bound to see one somewhere. However they’re not always as fun, or safe, as they look, with reports of hoverboards catching fire, and even exploding. UK government have even passed a law, banning them from pavements and roads, as they are too unsafe. Amazon have even been contacting customers that have bought the product from their site, and asking them to throw them away.
5. 3D Printed Limbs
3D printing is extremely cheap, with cost savings of up to 70%. For this reason, 3D printing in the world of medicine has increased dramatically in the past year. Another winner
of the James Dyson Award is Joel Gibbard, for his work with 3D printing. The robotics graduate won the award for creating a cheap alternative to prosthetic limbs, using only his 3D printer. Prosthetic limbs can usually cost as much as £60,000, however Joel and his company Open Robotics have been able to cut that down to a miniscule £3000.
However it’s not just Joel that’s been changing the industry this year; founders of robotics startup Exiii have created a mechanical hand and forearm, costing only $200. The ‘Exiii Hackberry’ is shown doing everyday things like turning the pages of a magazine, tying a shoelace and zipping up a jacket, which may sound like everyday activities, but are massive advances in the world of prosthetics.
So, 2015. It’s a been a big year for tech, and we’re hoping 2016 brings more amazing gadgets our way.