Technology seems to be evolving at a faster pace than ever before, with new products disrupting the marketplace every day. As the world becomes more connected and ideas can be shared more freely, small innovators in the tech field are far more able to take their products from conception to commercial delivery. Breaking into the tech market is tough, with thousands of products vying for space, but any company which can stand out from the crowd has the chance of rapid growth and sustained success.
Below are some of the top technological advances made in the past decade. From autonomous vehicles to space-travelling robots, we have come incredibly far in a very short space of time. The internet has enabled much of this tech growth, allowing those with bright ideas to access funding, networking partners and the commercial market. Expect even more rapid growth in the coming decade, with tech advances of the near future likely to include Elon Musk’s hyperloop transport system, robotic assistance pets and smart cars that learn their own routes.
It may seem that iPads and tablet devices have been around forever, but the first generation of Apple‘s computer-mobile hybrid device is just eight years old. Along with the iPhone, which debuted in 2007, Apple has changed the mobile landscape permanently. The power and performance of a laptop is now far more mobile thanks to the development of tablets, and these touchscreen-based devices have transformed daily life. From restaurant ordering to stock management, tablets now appear in many commercial industries and are valuable pieces of office equipment.
Use of artificial intelligence is growing quickly, and products that were once the stuff of science fiction movies are now commonplace in people’s homes – and in our businesses. Chatbots and communicative devices are the biggest advance in this sector, products like Amazon Echo and Google Home can respond to consumers, answer commands and complete basic service requests. They can also analyse data and learn from it, making them valuable pieces of equipment for modern businesses who need to understand their customers better.
Another technology of the future that is available to us today, autonomous cars are becoming the hottest tech product of the moment. Investment in the self-drive sector keeps growing, with major names like Google, Tesla, Uber and Amazon working on autonomous transport for the commercial and private sectors. Self-driving shuttle buses are already using the streets of Las Vegas, while Tesla’s Autopilot feature is offered in the automaker’s high-end cars.
In traditional business, funding for startups came from securing investment – and this often relies on having a strong name to back up a new product. However, platforms such as Kickstarter have brought a new kind of investment to the market: crowd-funding. With an internet connection and some details about the product, anyone can launch their entrepreneurial career. Interested consumers can invest small – or large – amounts on the products and services they want to see in the market, and in exchange, they get VIP benefits such as early delivery.
Of all the technological advances man has made in the previous decade, the leaps forward in space travel are perhaps the greatest. In 2011, the Mars Rover robot known as Curiosity began his journey to our nearest neighbour in a search for potential life. As well as discovering the existence of water, indicating that life on Mars was once highly likely and that life forms could still remain there, the anthropomorphic robot is also well known for his cheeky selfies and his annual birthday celebrations.
Virtual and augmented reality
Imaging technology has improved vastly in the last 10 years, with relatively small and cheap gadgets capable of producing high-resolution images. Cameras can be attached to mobile devices, to drones and even to vehicles to add all manner of safety, entertainment and connectivity functions. This improved visual technology has led to the revival of virtual reality, abandoned in the 1990s but revived with modern gaming headsets and content. Augmented reality, using video content overlaid on camera screens, has also blossomed in recent years. The popular mobile game Pokemon Go is a great example of AR technology in action.
The Hadron Collider
Debuting in 2008 after 14 years of development, the Large Hadron Collider celebrates its 10th birthday in 2018. The huge machine uses magnets to simulate the conditions of the forming of the universe, as scientists search for the particle which they theorise caused the world to start to exist. Though we are still some way from having any definitive answers from the experimental model, researchers are a huge step closer to learning how our universe works – and why we are here. As far as tech advances go, this is probably the most impressive development of the past decade.