As of 2013, only 36% of the world’s population had access to the internet. It is anticipated that by 2015, 50% of the population will have access to the internet, and as a result, we will have officially entered the Innovation Age. The impact that a more connected world could have on our society is immeasurable. Although they may seem like concepts taken from an episode of The Jetsons, the following are five examples of innovative products that are either currently available or will be in the near future that can dramatically improve the ease and comfort of one’s life.
Nest is a smart thermostat. This means that it has the ability to learn user habits and can adapt to them automatically over time, so you won’t have to fidget with it in the summer and winter. It also has the ability to connect to many other devices (car, phone, washing machine, etc). Half of one’s energy bill is wasted via the thermostat, so Nest is helpful in the sake of efficiency. In addition to learning your preferences, it knows when you are out of the house, so it turns off the heat/AC automatically in order to save you money. And due to the connectivity of the devices, it knows when your are returning so that your home is comfortable by the time you arrive.
Apple Healthbook is a new feature of iOS 8 (and a key feature of the highly anticipated iWatch) that measures essentially all of a user’s vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, respiratory rate, etc). It will also have a feature that measures the quality of sleep that a user received. This new app really seems like it could empower a lot of people to monitor their health more carefully and effectively, and as such, is a prime example of technology improving our lives.
Google Self Driving Car:
Though there is a functioning prototype of the Google car, it still isn’t ready to be mass produced for a large market. However, these autonomous vehicles, if mass produced, could greatly reduce the risk of vehicular accidents in the future. Also, they restore a great deal of independence to people who might have disabilities that have prevented them from driving previously.
Crowdfunding sites are a relatively new thing on the internet that are essentially fundraising platforms for various causes. Strangers will pool their money together to rally around a certain cause, whether it’s a creative venture (à la Kickstarter) or raising money for someone who’s sick in the hospital. These sites have given the ability to drastically change one’s circumstance all due to the kindness and generosity of strangers.
Mint is a personal finance website (and app) that is owned by Intuit. It puts all of your accounts, transactions, budgeting, investments and savings in one easy-to-read location. It will send you alerts about possible fraudulent activity, remind you of bills that are due, and give you a warning when you’ve gone over your budget. It is super helpful for those who often struggle with keeping a close eye on their financial situation.