Edge of Innovation

Tech buzzwords of 2015 (part 2): WiGig, procedural generation and clever WattUp-ery

 

Every year there are a rowdy band of new technology buzzwords that have the potential to shape the digital year ahead. In 2014, it was terms like wearables, big data and gamification. This year, we’ve already encountered words like Quantum dots, SuperMHL and RealSense. There are some others you need to know too.

Think of WiGig (aka Wireless Gigabit) as a short-range Wi-Fi or a wire-free version of HDMI. Based on the 802.11 wireless standard, it uses the 60GHz spectrum to wirelessly connect any device that would usually be plugged in using an Ethernet, USB, HDMI or DisplayPort cable. It only has a range of about 30 feet (and won’t work through walls), but it’s 50 times faster than Wi-Fi, capable of reaching speeds of up to 7Gbps. Read more about it here.

intel wigig dock
The Intel Wireless Docking system uses WiGig to seamlessly and automatically connect a laptop to displays, peripherals and external storage.

The big buzzword in gaming this year is procedural generation. Titles like Minecraft, Elite: Dangerous, Star Citizen and No Man’s Sky (pictured top) are using the technology to create vast play areas that aren’t built by hand but automatically produced by mathematical formulae.

Not only does procedural generation enable game developers to create more content with less effort, it enables them to engineer gameplay experiences that are unique to every player. So rather than play a scripted story, you tell your own.

Wearable technology is poised to hit the big time in 2015 and one word you’ll be hearing more of is bioimpedance (aka Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis). The 30 year-old process describes the gathering of fitness data by passing a small electrical current through the skin and measuring the resistance to it.

Jawbone UP3 bioimpedance
The bioimpedance system on the Jawbone UP3 consists of four electrodes – the two outer electrodes drive tiny electrical energy and the two inner electrodes pick up changes in voltage.

The Jawbone UP3 features bioimpedance technology instead of an optical heart rate monitor. It can still measure your pulse, but can also track other useful metrics such as hydration and body fat, all while minimising battery drain.

The Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t a new idea either – the concept of networked smart devices was floated back in the 1980s. But it’s only now that technology has advanced to a state where wirelessly linking gadgets to the Internet (and to each other) is not only possible, but affordable.

The shift has begun with wearables that monitor your health and web-connected Nest thermostats that learn your occupancy habits. It will continue with smart cars that intelligently monitor road conditions, smart appliances that report their own faults and packages that track themselves.

The last of our buzzwords (for now) describes a technology that is truly game changing. While current wireless charging solutions require you to place your device onto a charging pad, a WattUp transmitter beams out an RF signal that can juice up multiple gadgets at a range of up to 15 feet. Check out the video below for a demonstration.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLZIuJv8Rqw?rel=0

There are no charging pads. No messy cables. Wire-free power can fuel smartphones, tablets, wearables, cameras, wireless keyboards/mice, headsets and toys, overcoming the limitations of today’s battery technology. Remember the name.

Read: Tech buzzwords of 2015 (part 1): Quantum dots, superMHL and 5th generation processors

 

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