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It’s our favorite time of year, when frogs from around the world examine the state of technology’s future.
Below you’ll find 15 declarations and projections from experts whose work continually advances the human experience.
This compilation forecasts a few of our expectations for the future, and we look forward to your feedback as we collectively consider what is to come.
Fitness technology startups are primed to shake up the health and fitness wearable industry, offering true insights and recommendations for athletic training. 3D, pressure, and motion sensors are being integrated to assess form, movement quality, and muscular exertion to automatically log your workouts and provide real-time recommendations to prevent injury and improve training.
Companies to watch: Sensoria, Moov, LEO, GYMWatch
The introduction of Amazon Echo is just one of many examples of ambient intelligence. We’ll see a surge in products and services that quietly pay attention to what’s happening around them — learning what people do, how they sound, and what they’re interested in — all in the service of making better guesses as to what people might need or want. Prepare for a very smart, ambient world.
Companies to watch: Amazon Echo, Google Now, Microsoft Cortana
What if our bodies could tell us we were sick, even before we felt symptoms? Nano particles, designed to live within the human body, are opening up opportunities to monitor the health of a person in real time with extreme accuracy. This emerging technology, along with other advanced diagnostics techniques, will enable instant disease detection, enabling much faster treatments and better outcomes.
Companies to watch: Google[x], Danny Hillis
“Ubiquitous (or pervasive) computing” has become the norm as microprocessors, sensors, and cloud services made their way into almost everything in our homes, cars, offices, and beyond. It is becoming too burdensome for many connected product and service companies to deliver software that can anticipate use cases and integration points of thousands of new connected products coming to market. A shift is underway in software and service design where the command and control of this complex connected world around us will rely on “casual programming” experiences — giving every day, non-programming people the tools, services, and APIs usually reserved for the hackers and technology elite in friendly and accessible forms.
Companies to watch: IFTTT, Wink, Zapier
Recently, cutting edge technology has been pushing its way into the food chain. In 2015 it will finally make its way to the dinner table. From 3D printed meals to data-derived diets to efficient home farming, technology is poised to revolutionize the dinner options in a 21st century home.
Companies to watch: ChefJet, Mellow, 3D Robotics
2015 will see a new roster of connected kitchen devices that will profoundly change the way we produce, consume, and interact with food. Don’t be surprised to come home to a robot cooking pizza from original Italian recipes available on the Internet, or by making coffee (almost) out of your smartphone.
Companies to watch: My Vessyl, LG
Mobile is transforming developing markets; opening access to critical services like education and healthcare, improving financial inclusion and improving the efficiency of trade. frog is at the forefront of this transformation, researching and designing mobile solutions for the underserved in a diverse range of markets. With over four billion people yet to connect to the internet, the opportunity to create meaningful impact is immense.
Companies to watch: Internet.org, Google Project Loon, GSMA mAgri
Secure messaging had the reputation of being for shady people. But ever since a series of high-profile hacks in 2014 laid bare the private lives of several celebrities — as well as thousands of civilians — there has been massive interest in messaging (voice, text, photo, and video) that is meant to be fundamentally secure from snooping. A new set of products emerged to take up this challenge, including everything from personal data vaults, to secure encrypted calls, to video chats. Expect to see even more platforms that make it easier for you to live anonymously online.
Companies to watch: Silent Circle’s Blackphone, SpiderOak Cloud Storage, Geeksphone, DarkMail Alliance
Imagine a factory in the future where the parts of a product assemble themselves, or where physical objects can adapt to a user over time. For instance, a 4D-printed chair could become more comfortable over time, or become stronger at stress points, instead of breaking. What if? This is the aim of 4D printing, a field popularized by MIT’s Skylar Tibbits and his self-assembly lab. We’re on the verge of seeing explosive progress in the world of 4D printing. Expect to read about advancements in the field in the near future.
Companies to watch: Nervous Systems, Stratysys
Digital currencies, including crypto-currencies, will thrive. Governments are exploring frameworks and systems to regulate and manage digital currencies, which will make their ubiquity in our everyday financial vernacular more profound. Ecuador’s Congress recently approved a reform to create a digital currency, and the New York State Department of Financial Services is considering establishing virtual currency exchanges. The UK government is calling for information about the benefits and risks of digital currencies. We can expect digital currencies to be used interchangeably with legal tender, giving birth to a frictionless, agile, universal payment system that will expand beyond the current banking ecosystem.
Companies to watch: Government of Ecuador, The UK Government, New York State Department of Financial Services
What if your app and wearable device could not only diagnose your sleep apnea, stress, and anxiety, but also provide clinically proven treatments? While wearable health activity trackers were all the rage in 2014, the future will see the rise of therapeutic solutions: data-tracking hardware paired with clinically proven software that simulates cognitive behavioral therapy. These new solutions will address chronic behavioral conditions, from sleep disorders to stress and anxiety.
Companies to watch: Big Health, Lantern, Olive
Your everyday items will be getting an upgrade. More and more companies and designers will create innovative smart textiles embedded with new technologies and sensors, which will impact everyday lives by monitoring health, behavior, and the environment. This year the hottest wearable device might just be the shirt on your back.
Adaptive technologies will become omnipresent both in and out of the classroom, providing students with the ability to learn content at their own pace and potentially test out of areas when they are ready. Real-time data will lead to more actionable items for students and teachers—allowing for a personalized path to success.
Companies to watch: Knewton, Aleks, Alt School, Dreambox, Kidaptive
Hiring is time-consuming. To save time during the hiring process in 2015, more companies will turn to video games to evaluate job candidate nuances such as creativity, problem solving, and collaboration. Candidates’ game scores will be measured against scores of successful employees, making hard data — alongside subjective opinions from hiring managers — an asset to predict success.
Companies to watch: Knack
Everyone will grow their own organic lettuce and trade it on a local social network for other types of vegetables. Our habits around food production and consumption are undergoing a radical shift, from wider adoption of CSAs to the prevalence of organic food, consumers are taking control of how and what they eat with new smart food technologies. Several companies are designing easy-to-use and aesthetically pleasing hydroponics and aquaponics systems for the home, which will allow anyone to manage a mini-farm with a smartphone. Greater food autonomy is on the horizon.