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The technology that will invade our lives in 2022
Every year, I look ahead to what’s new in consumer technology to guide you on what you might buy and warn you about what’s sure to be a fad. Many of the same “trends” appear over and over again because, simply put, technology takes a long time to mature before most of us want to buy it. That is true also this year. Some 2022 trends that tech companies are pushing are things you may have already heard about.
A great example is virtual reality, the technology that involves goofy-looking headsets and controls for manipulating 3D games. It’s expected to be at the center of trends again this year, now that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and other tech enthusiasts have revamped it for hype as “the metaverse.”
Another very striking category will be the so-called smart home, the technology that helps control household appliances with voice commands directed to a speaker or a button on a smartphone. The truth is that the technology industry has been trying to reach our homes with these innovations for more than a decade. This year the products will finally start to look practical.
A recurring technology on this list is also the digital health equipment that monitors our physical condition and helps us diagnose possible ailments. And automakers, who have long been telling us about electric cars, have begun accelerating their plans for a national plan that seeks to phase out gasoline-powered car production by 2030 in the United States.
welcome to the metaverse
For more than a decade, technologists have dreamed of an era in which our virtual lives play as big a role as our physical reality. In theory, we would spend a lot of time interacting with our friends and colleagues in virtual space and, as a result, spend money there to buy outfits and items for our digital avatars.
“We’re in a world where people broadcast an image that mirrors them several times a day,” said Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist who has written extensively on the metaverse. “The next phase takes that visual representation and gives it dimension. You enter an environment and express yourself through an avatar.”
That looks like something out of a science fiction movie. But throughout the second year of the pandemic, a critical mass of factors came together to make the metaverse more realistic, Ball said.
“In terms of infrastructure, a lot still needs to be accomplished,” he said. “A lot is being said for now, but I don’t know how much reality there is in those words.”
By Brian X. Chen
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