Rich Warren | Looking to the future | Scientific technology


“Quick quick, the old year is passing,” says the Christmas carol. Soon comes the Consumer Electronics Show 2022 in person in Las Vegas. This stimulates my investigation into future post-2022 innovations for your electronic chalet and garage. I’ll report on CES when it concludes, but read on for short and long term tech that will add sparkle or expense to your life.

Imagine a child born in the hospital not charging a fixed birth fee, but billing parents monthly for as long as the child lives. It is the new paradigm of technology. Many new cars are now leaving the lot with subscriptions for various features not essential for basic transportation. Toyota recently started charging for remote start and smartphone control on some models on a monthly basis.

Currently, all TV manufacturers track your viewing habits and sell this information to marketers. Most also insert advertising inconspicuously and sometimes not so inconspicuously when using smart TV features. This is how they keep television prices so reasonable. Don’t be surprised if in a few years you pay not only your mobile phone provider for connectivity but also the smartphone manufacturer for various features of your phone. They are already selling your data to marketers. Mobile carriers are already charging monthly fees for improved spam and nuisance call filtering.

Video conferences and calls will follow the same trajectory as when HDTV supplanted old-fashioned analog television. The pandemic has accelerated the development of better video meetings and chats. The three-dimensional cats are coming. These advances will snowball for those with true broadband broadband internet access.

That brings us to the next good news. High-speed Internet will become universal in most rural areas of Illinois, whether by fiber or satellite, within two years. Thanks to recent infrastructure legislation, don’t be surprised to see a fiber slicer on a farm road near you. For those in high density areas, expect speeds of 2 gigabits. This will download an hour of uncompressed audio in about five seconds.

While the best Internet connection will be fiber (or wired fiber for the last few hundred yards), everything else in the electronic chalet will migrate to wireless. Some wireless products will be powered by the radio signal that is already providing data. So, in the not-so-distant future, your CCTV cameras might not need a battery or a wired connection.

Say goodbye to cable and satellite entertainment packages and their inboxes. Internet will provide all the content. You won’t need a digital video recorder as the internet provides on-demand content 24/7.

The science fiction of just a few years ago is going to materialize. The luminescent walls in your home will change color as you wish. Display devices for televisions, computers and smartphones will be integrated seamlessly into these walls.

Affordable, short-haul electric air taxi flights will transport you from Champaign to Bloomington or maybe even Chicago. Do not confuse them with your own flying car or helicopter, which will be technologically possible, but not socially or logistically practical. Likewise, the contrarian in me does not predict any autonomous and truly autonomous personal vehicle before 2030.

When it comes to exciting gadgets, smartphones will far surpass the Apple Watch, combining fully voice-controlled in-ear electronics with video displayed wirelessly on smart glasses, such as those sold by Facebook. For better or worse, many will wear them during all their waking hours.

Every wheeled object, from shopping carts and baby strollers to disabled walkers, will contain tiny motors to propel those wheels. Who imagined ten years ago that almost all children’s scooters would be motorized?

Before considering the electronics industry to be benevolent, here is an incident from 1924. A cartel of bulb manufacturers agreed to limit bulb life to about 1000 hours, which was significantly shorter than the norm. at the time. Could LED lights last forever without manufacturers designing them to fail after warranty expires? Good year.

Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime consumer electronics critic. Email him at [email protected]


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