Most of us would say that 2020 was an incredibly difficult year thanks in part due to COVID-19. Between the amount of jobs lost, business closures, lack of disposable income for leisure, travel restrictions, social isolation, and the death toll, 2020 has been the most mentally taxing year we’ve experienced in a long time.
With all of that said, 2021 seems to be a year of slow recovery. Vaccine rollouts, for instance, should reduce most of the barriers created by COVID-19 and allow us a little breathing room during the second half of 2021.
This year is also gearing up to be a great one in terms of some new technology that’s about to hit the public market. Besides the tens of thousands of satellites SpaceX intends to launch to provide internet access to rural communities, here are four more innovations that we may see hit retail soon!
Imagine a smart keyboard that is accessible by anyone with limited motor skills from disorders such as cerebral palsy. The Key-X was created for this purpose. With only eleven large buttons, it allows the user to easily type every possible character that one can type on a regular keyboard. It’s even capable of precise mouse movements on the screen and multiple types of clicking.
Even better, it’s great for gamers with physical disabilities as it can combine keys to perform multiple functions. Additionally, for those with severe limitations, an accessory called a-blinX allows this keyboard to be used exclusively by blinking. Admittedly, the price of the Key-X is a bit outrageous, though this is reflected by the current lack of supply. This will likely change if the Key-X becomes more widely available.
Coming from France is an innovative little tool that makes driving much safer. The EyeRide HUD was initially designed to give hands-free access to digital tools on motorcycles, though it’s expanded to now be inclusive to cars, too!
With the EyeRide HUD, information like your GPS route, incoming calls, and music selection appear in your peripheral vision rather than on a dashboard that you have to look away for. With vocal commands or a tiny remote, you can activate any of these services without actually taking your eyes off the road.
At the moment, it’s certainly expensive for what it is, but for a device that could potentially save your life, how can you really put a price on that?
3) Water Walker & Spa
This next innovation was created in Japan and is extremely limited in terms of product availability. In short, it has to be ordered from their website from one of their distributors! Based on the name, you can probably guess what this is. Acting as both a treadmill and a relaxing spa, you can perform a workout and then immediately bathe/shower afterwards.
The Water Walker & Spa is designed to provide an experience akin to walking or running while adding less stress to the body. Those with injuries can receive the same benefits without the pain flare-ups. Aerobic exercise has come a long way from outdoor running, and it will be interesting to see if this idea takes off throughout North America over the next couple of years.
While this $90,000 machine is much too expensive for the average consumer, we could potentially see a few of them at local gyms over time.
4) Solar Roadways
The last technology here is arguably the most innovative and useful in a world irreversibly damaged by climate change. Compared to asphalt and concrete, the price of Solar Roadways will likely be much higher in terms of initial investment. However, the payoff will ultimately cut costs in the long run. After four lengthy testing periods over the last decade, Solar Roadways are almost ready to be sold commercially.
Replacing our current roads, this new technology can generate electricity for external use by absorbing rays from the sun. LED lights powered by the sun replace lines and signage that must regularly be updated. Snow and ice melt on their own without the need for clearance. These roads are also “impervious to potholes” and, most importantly, the solar energy stored doesn’t produce greenhouse gases or air/water pollution.
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