3 Exciting Tech Trends Take the World by Storm in 2016

New trends redefine what it means to live in Western society.



Tesla

Technology, like time, constantly marches onward. Just when it seems we have reached some new height, news hits us that there another mountain to climb. While last year was a great one for tech, 2016 looks like it will be an even better one. Here’s a quick look at some of the most exciting trends that could really start to hit their stride this year.

We’re one step away from finally getting the Holodeck.

The rise of Virtual Reality has been a long time coming. For years now, it has seemed that VR was perpetually “one more quarter” away from actual reality. That, however, may be about to change. VR is no longer some far–off pipe dream as major companies begin releasing these devices to consumers this year. From headsets such as Google Cardboard and the Oculus Rift, to full–on experiences such as Microsoft’s stunning Hololens, VR is here and ready to play in a big way.

The biggest challenge to VR will be market adoption. Just how many people are going to want to strap a headset on to enjoy their content? Fortunately for the companies placing their bets on VR becoming the next game changer in entertainment, VR has widely varying entry levels. From Google Cardboard costing as little as $30, to a mid range headset such as the $99 Gear VR, all the way up to the $599 Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, which many expect to be in a comparable price bracket, VR companies have ensured that there is a price level for everyone wanting to get in on this new wave of entertainment.

3D Printing: more than just a hobby.

3D printing has seemed like a fun little oddity for a long time. The idea of having a machine that would print things for you has appealed to most people, even if they don’t have the $5,000–plus needed to invest in a machine for themselves. For a while now, 3D printing has seemed like a real, serious, important avenue for change and 2016 could well be the year that we see widespread adoption of 3D printing in fields that may surprise many.  While the news that SpaceX will be 3D printing their own rocket parts is exciting, the most incredible news about 3D printing comes from the medical field.

As advancements in technology continue, it is estimated that soon scientists will be able to simply 3D print skin for burn victims, stem cells for future research, and possibly entirely new organs for people needing a transplant. That would be one of the greatest breakthroughs in medical history. No longer would people have to suffer as they waited on transplant lists. Science may soon allow us to take another step closer to ending human suffering, thanks to the powers of 3D printers.

Autonomous vehicles: the car of the future, here today.

It’s no secret that self–driving cars are coming. Companies including Google, Tesla, Uber are all heavily investing in the idea that, relatively soon, the days of humans operating cars will be a thing of the past. With a new report saying that these self–driving cars will be on the streets of more than two dozen American cities by the end of this year, the question arises in how will governments, both on a local and federal level, deal with this. Changing existing laws and writing new ones takes time and if there is one thing that the forward charge of progress lacks, it’s patience.

Google’s self–driving cars have driven for more than one million miles and Tesla’s Elon Musk is making ever increasingly bold claims about when the self-driving firmware patch for the super intelligent Tesla line of cars will be ready. This technology is coming, and fast. Though it is unlikely that 2016 will be the year that everyone abandons their cars in favor of the fully autonomous robot overlords, 2016 will be the year that governments and companies have to really start preparing for a world in which human–driven cars are the exception, not the rule.