Tech products to watch out for in 2021
Find out how the demand for environmentally friendly, personalised products are influencing the gadgets in our homes – and how advances in manufacturing technology and robotics are helping to fulfil that demand.
Every generation past has been astounded at the rate of technological change in their time; from steam to electricity, computer technology to global travel. The speed of advancement is still as heady as ever, but the drivers behind it are changing along with our priorities and lifestyle choices. Our desire for personalised, bespoke products that suit our needs – and quickly – has increased the demand for 3D printing technology. Our drive to save our planet and protect it for future generations is pushing the development of electric vehicles as well as drones. And busy lives, the constant battle to free-up our time, is driving us to take robotic technology to places that, until recently, would have been seen as pure science fiction. We take a look at some of the technology we should all be watching out for in 2021 as R&D teams and manufacturers around the world continue to push the envelope.
Drones are fast becoming a mainstream gadget and are popular in industrial settings where they are disrupting traditional processes, in small businesses where they are complementing traditional information gathering techniques, as well as with hobbyists. This study by dronesdirect shows that when it comes to embracing drone technology in the home, rather than Gen Z taking the lead, the main proponents are actually in the age groups of 46-53 years and 55+, and are using them to enhance traditional pastimes.
According to Business Insider, the drone services market is expected to climb to $63.6 billion globally by 2025, with ecommerce stores like Amazon taking up the technology to provide driverless deliveries, and commercial drone sales largely responsible for this explosion in growth.
Still struggling to see where a drone might fit into your life? How about this Ring Always Home Cam, a drone which patrols your property on the lookout for intruders.
We couldn’t write a piece on gadgets without including the critical green technology that is on everybody’s lips at the moment. The demand for guilt-free travel is forcing key players in the automotive industry into a race to produce affordable, practical electric vehicles that will capture the imagination of even the most staunch petrolhead. This research by next greencar shows that up until 2019, plug-in hybrid vehicles were by far the more popular choice, but with the UK infrastructure for charge points improving year-on-year, so too does the popularity of full battery electric cars, with over 215,000 pure electric cars on UK roads by the end of February 2021.
The two cars raising expectations for this year? The Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model 3, both cited by Whatcar and Top Gear as classy, fast, practical and fun to drive. Just as long as you have a cool £40-60k in your back pocket.
As for electric bikes, there is a quiet revolution happening on our streets. Unlike electric cars or scooters, the aim of the electric bike is to assist the rider rather than do the work for them, reducing the level of effort from the cyclist without completely removing the fun factor or exercise benefits. Electric bikes are available in all styles, and generally come with eco tour and turbo modes so that you can select your riding style according to your location and battery life. Electric bike sales currently sit at around 60,000 per year in the UK. However, with cities investing in cycle lanes and hire points, plus the impending ban on electric and diesel cars later in the decade, Halfords are predicting a significant growth in the sale of electric bikes over the next ten years.
A particularly cool combination of electric bike and 3D printing technology comes together in the Superstrata E bike; you send them your dimensions, riding style and other choices, and they will use 3D printing technology to manufacture a bespoke carbon fibre electric bike to order.
Image source: superstrata.bike
3D Printing Technology
The market for additive manufacturing has been growing year on year since it emerged and is forecast to double in size every three years. According to Jabil’s research on 3D printing trends, even in the past two years the use of 3D printing technology by manufacturers has skyrocketed, with Research and Development now by far the most common reason for using the technology.
One of the greatest users of 3D printing technology has become the automotive industry, embracing this manufacturing technology not only for development cycles but also to reduce lead times on the production of custom jigs and low volume parts.
But with 3D printing available so widely, including in some people’s homes, what are we actually printing? Everything from prosthetic limbs to musical instruments and shoes. With the vast array of materials available for 3D printing now, you would struggle to find a product which couldn’t be printed through additive manufacturing, one of the reasons why platforms like Geomiq are becoming so popular; simply upload your design, select the material and go. What could be simpler?
We are all pretty familiar by now with how robotics is used in manufacturing technology, creating efficiencies and precise, repeatable processes. However, robotics technology is entering our homes, workplaces and educational settings. Here are just a handful of innovative robotics gadgets that are finding their way into everyday life:
- Oregon State University use Starship robots to deliver food to students and staff across their 500-acre campus using a combination of machine learning, AI and sensors to traverse sidewalks and avoid objects in their way.
- We can soon expect robotics technology to help with domestic care; Samsung are launching a range of care robots which can undertake tasks such as reminding you to take your medicine, monitoring your heartrate and calling the emergency services if you need help.
- If you’re looking for a greener and healthier lifestyle, the obvious choice is to leave the car at home. But that means carrying all your shopping home… or does it? Gita Bot is designed to follow you around, carrying your bags so you don’t have to, taking on board up to two shopping bags.
- If what you really want is some help around the house, then the Foldimate not only washes and dries your clothes, but has a robotic folding machine built in so that you don’t have to sort and fold your clothes.
- Want to take your chore reduction a step further? The Moley Robotic kitchen will cook for you as well!
Never before have we been in a position to make such individual choices about our purchases – in some cases designing them ourselves for immediate production. Could online, on-demand manufacturers like Geomiq be the future not only for industry, but for consumers, too?
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.