This Is New Business Tech News – Drones, smartphones and virtual reality dominate tech news in 2016
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(23 Dec 2016) LEAD IN:
High-flying drones, smartphones and virtual reality technology made some of the biggest tech news headlines in 2016.
While Microsoft Xbox unveiled plans to build the most powerful games console ever built, a smart sensor suit aimed to raise awareness of spiralling pollution in urban areas.
Experts said virtual reality, ‘Internet of Things’ devices, smart robotics and self-driving cars were the hot tech trends at January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
At the event’s annual ‘Unveiled’ showcase, a collection of fledgling startups and high-flying companies exhibited their latest creations.
“Just from a year ago, it’s like all the building block pieces have come together towards artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, driverless cars,” says Robin Raskin, founder of Living in Digital Times.
“That was all like science fiction hype just a year ago at CES – virtual reality – and this year it’s all real.”
At Mobile World Congress in Spain, South Korean tech maker Samsung unveiled its latest smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S7.
Rather than a wild departure from previous incarnations, the S7 boasted upgrades to its camera and battery, plus other features to satisfy the company’s loyal fan base.
But experts said the top tech trend at the annual wireless show wasn’t smartphones themselves, but what they could do.
“The smartphone is getting more powerful and more connected to all the things you might have at home or with you,” said Shu On Kwok from AndroidPIT.
Virtual reality was one of the biggest trends at Mobile World Congress.
Companies like Samsung, LG and HTC were showing off their latest virtual reality headsets, while others were revealing new content or new applications for a virtual reality world.
In March, a Japanese graduate built this mechanical clock that wrote out the time every minute.
Posted on Twitter and re-tweeted over 100,000 times, the clock and its maker, Kango Suzuki, became known around the globe.
Over in Germany, a group of students at the University of Kiel turned a high-rise building into an oversized video game screen.
Using 392 LED lights, installed in each of the building’s windows, students could play ‘Tetris’, ‘Snake’ and ‘Pong’ on their way home from late classes.
In the UK, an energy tech company was demonstrating how hydrogen fuel cells could be used to significantly extend the range of commercial drones.
Intelligent Energy said its technology could extend flight times from 15 minutes to up to two hours, benefiting a range of industries from inspection to search and rescue.
In April, a special test took place between the International Space Station (ISS) and a state-of-the-art test area on Earth that mimics the surface of Mars.
British astronaut Tim Peake drove and controlled a Mars Rover from the ISS.
The European Space Agency wanted to see what challenges an astronaut might face by taking control of a remote system.
Taiwan’s top tech companies were showcasing their latest smart products at the annual Computex in May.
This family robot – which Taiwanese tech maker Asus named ‘Zenbo’ – could melt people’s hearts just as much as it could help around the home.
Zenbo was designed to interact with family members, turning on the TV and going wherever he’s told to.
In Germany, scientists developed a robot that could move people around in a large space with a gravitational force (G-force) of up to 1.5 G.
The ‘cable robot’ created a virtual reality world beyond the ordinary, but also allowed experts to study how the world is perceived in our own heads.
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