2017 has been an interesting year for world politics, climate change events and, of course, some astonishing leaps in technology.
There s been very life-like robots, good news for medical students, and brain chip implants... Read on to find out about the greatest, strangest tech news of 2017, and place your bets now about what s coming next in 2018.
1. Augmented Reality Healthcare Education
Companies like 3D4Medical have been developing 3D anatomy tools for medical students to learn with, without needing access to real cadavers.
3D imaging in medicine has been around for a while, but this new technology makes the organs appear to pop out of the screen, and the images can be manipulated in a way never seen before.
2. Smart Speakers Go Mainstream
This year, it became commonplace to have an Amazon Echo or Google Home set up in your house. The speakers allow easy ordering of products, controlling appliances by voice, and having your virtual assistant search the web for you, which has completely taken over the household tech market.
The cheapest and best recommended sets cost only $50 (the Echo Dot and Google Home Mini), and people around the world are set to receive them for Christmas this year.
It s reported that Microsoft, Samsung and Apple are developing their own rivals as we speak. But for now, move over Siri – Alexa s time is now.
3. The Bitcoin Boom
A stratospheric surge in the value of Bitcoin lead to huge increases in crypto trading in the latter months of the year, bringing cryptocurrency to the attention of the world. Who knew there were others besides Bitcoin? Now, you ve probably at least heard of Ethereum, Ripple and Iota, to name only a few.
Some people insist it s a bubble that s overdue to burst – but they ve been saying that since Bitcoin was valued at $1,000, and now it s hit highs of $19,000. Have you bought yours yet?
4. The World’s First AI-Citizen
Sophia , the humanoid robot created by Hanson Robotics, was given citizenship of Saudi Arabia in October.
She is the first robot to ever be given citizenship of any country, and she promptly used her position to call for Women s Rights in the Middle East.
5. Face ID
The iPhone X was released in early November this year, along with its controversial facial recognition technology, which was claimed to be a secure way to unlock your phone using your features.
However, the technology was plagued with problems, including the failed on-stage demonstration at its unveiling, and claims by a user in China that her phone was unlocked via Face ID twice by an unrelated co-worker.
While facial recognition isn t entirely new, its use in a smartphone was brought to public attention this year, causing fresh debate surrounding privacy.
The Elon Musk Round-Up
Musk has made so many leaps in the 2017 tech scene that we ve given him his own section – and this is only some of them.
6. Neuralink: Musk s latest brainchild is a neurotechnology company first reported in March. According to its website, the company is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers . It s reported that the
primary use of this technology for now is to assist those with severe brain diseases, but has an eventual aim of human enhancement . Chips in our brains used to be the reserve of science fiction novels, but Mr Musk is edging it closer to our reality.
7. SpaceX: Also in March, the Musk-founded aerospace company re-used a rocket booster for the first time in history. This is the most expensive part of the launch system, and the event is billed as a revolution for spaceflight .
8. Solar roof tiles: Under his Tesla company, Musk has done away with solar panels and created invisible solar roof tiles built straight onto your house – genius. They look exactly like normal tiles, and come in 4 varieties, with more being released in 2018.
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