March 25, 2013

The Future is NOW

Technology rules our lives even more than we think sometimes. We are so dependent and so connected all the time and for many of us, it'd be near impossible to live without it. Our society and our industries are changing at such rapid paces to keep up with the modern age and that's exciting all in itself. It's all happening right now and as we further understand the potential of all these innovations, we will not only be challenged to think in new ways but live differently as well. Today we'd like to introduce to you the freshest, most revolutionary products and services out there in the market to help you live smarter, safer and simpler.

video via Google

If your shoes could talk, what would they say? Last year, we familiarized you with Project Glass and now Google and Adidas have teamed up to create a talking shoe that not only acts as a fitness tracking device, but motivates and connects the wearer to the web as well as social media outlets. The shoes were first unveiled at the annual South by Southwest festival as an experiment with wearable technology. This new take on footwear represents another trial at blending both the physical and digital worlds into one.

photo via ABC News

We all have suffered from the MTA's recent fare hikes and by the end of the year we will see some major public transportation upgrades as 16 subway stations around the city get installed with touchscreen travel kiosks. These new "On the Go! Travel Stations" will offer an interactive travel map, real time service updates and step-by-step directions as well as information on local restaurants and major attractions. Tourists fear not any longer!

photo via Vine

If you haven't already seen it all over your Facebook feed, Vine is the newest addition to the social media family. Basically its the Instagram of short video clips that can be shared on other networks like Facebook or Twitter. The whole point is to create a "shortened form of something larger" as the length of posts are limited to six second loops. The app which was just released right around Fashion Week, has been exploding all over social media networks so download it now and let us know what you think!

video via Outbox

The physical mail industry has been hit hard as the e-mail boom continues to dominate how we send greetings, pay bills, etc and now its getting digitized even further with Outbox. This new service links both email and physical mail into one, by taking your tactile mail and presenting it in an inbox on your smartphone. Users take a snapshot of their mailbox key so Outbox can make a copy and collect all their letters, bills and promos three times per week. Each piece is then photographed and uploaded to their inbox where users can then access it and sort it just like with other incoming emails. Outbox is calling their employees "unpostmen" because they literally undo what the USPS does and save paper in the process. It's the simplest way to keep yourself organized and view your mail whenever and wherever you are.


The robots are coming...to retail at least so say goodbye to that friendly sales person. Hointer, a menswear shop located in Seattle and run by former Amazon executive Nadia Shouraboura, allows shoppers to use smartphones to scan the QR code tags of the items they like which are attached to the entire store's selection of designer jeans. Once the jeans are picked, a robotic system in the back room of the store delivers the items to customers' dressing rooms where they can be switched out for different sizes and colors of their liking. If they find a pair they'd like to buy, they simply may a smart purchase by swiping their credit cards via a machine and go! This is a revolutionary step for brick and mortar operations as they struggle to keep up with online businesses and could eventually lead to the extinction of actual store employees.

video via Leap Motion

What if you could use your computer by barely lifting a finger? The Leap Motion Controller is a new device that does pretty much that by sensing how you move so you can interact with your computer by using just your hands. It tracks the way you point, wave, reach, grab, etc and translates it onto your screen. This new device, set to launch mid-May, takes designing, gaming and learning to a whole new level. Now that's definitely a major leap in technology and we can't wait to get our hands on one of these!

photo via ecouterre.com

Probably the biggest innovation (and the one we are personally most excited for) are at-home 3D clothing printers. Joshua Harris has created a 3D garment printer which can rapidly prototype to bring clothing production to a home near you! This not only eliminates shipping and transportation costs but it cuts down waste because unwanted clothing can be returned to the machine to be recycled. So what does this mean for retail and small designers? It means reworking the consumer experience, making major changes to production and promoting endless opportunities for design. Staples is already experimenting with it and will launch the first consumer 3D printing service in-store in both the Netherlands and Belgium this year. This is just the beginning for 3D printing, which will eventually move into the home as we move into the future so stay tuned...

As you can see, anything is possible. Things we dreamed of 10, 20, 30 years ago are coming to life and it won't be slowing down anytime soon. If in today's world we have talking sneakers, computers that work with our hands and 3D printers, what does our future hold? It will be interesting to see where technology will lead us next and we will continue to keep you updated on the newest innovations to come. In the meantime, we'll keep dreaming up the future as it quickly becomes a reality right now. 

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