With 2012 coming to an end(not the world), it’s time to reflect on this years tech that will help shape tomorrow. From the NASA Curiosity Rover, to the Microsoft Surface and the Tesla Model S, see the tech that will revolutionize the world in 2013 and beyond.
6) NASA’s Curiosity Rover & Sky Crane Landing System
NASA has made history in 2012 by landing the 1,982lbs Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars. Although this may seem like something we have done many times before, it was a revolution in spacecraft landing techniques.
All previous rovers landing on Mars were essentially wrapped in bubble wrap, given a parachute and we hoped for the best. The Space Crane system will allow us to land much larger and more delicate mechanical systems on Mars by gently lowering the equipment to the surface of Mars, and then jettisoning the space crane miles away from the equipment.
5) MakerBot Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer
The MakerBot Replicator 2 allows anyone with $2,199 budget to easily fabricate and create almost anyting they can think of. This device makes it much cheaper to prototype and even create products for sale.
The machine uses spools of plastic filament to lay down layer after high-resolution layer of resin that forms your object. The 3D printer revolution has begun. Head over to http://www.makerbot.com to make your imagination and 11.2 L x 6.0 W x 6.1 H your limits of fabrication.
4) Philips Dimmable LED 12.5 Watt(60 Watt equivalent) Light Bulb
With the incandescent light bulb being banned in the United States in 2014 you will have no choice but to use a more efficient light bulb. Most people are familiar with the CFL(aka Compact fluorescent, aka squiggly bulb). These bulbs are an excellent energy saver, but have about half the life expectancy with the nasty side effect of releasing toxic mercury into landfills when disposed of improperly. That’s right, CFL bulbs are to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Save your self the trouble by investing in an energy saving bulb that doesn’t have to be handled as hazardous waste.
Philips 60 Watt LED equivalent bulb consumes only 12.5watts of energy, lasts 22.8 years, can be used on a standard dimming circuit and will not fade fabric or colors. That all sounds great, but a common argument they cost twice as much as a CFL. Keep in mind that that negligible 1.5 Watts saved with an LED light over a CFL is over the 22.8 years life span, which is over 3 times longer then the CFLs 7 year life span. Pay twice upfront, save energy and get and extra life out of the bulb. That sounds like a winner to me.
3) Second Generation Nest Learning Thermostat
Your heating and cooling bill is typically 50% of you energy bill. This fact alone means small improvements in efficiency will save you a lot of money in the long run. The Nest thermostat can save you up to 20% of your heating and cooling bill. The Nest thermostat allows such savings by learning your living patterns, controlling your HVAC system more efficiently and allowing for remote control of your heating and cooling system via your computer or smart phone.
All of these features can be added to your home in less then 30 minutes. Not only will you save yourself some money on you monthly energy bills, but your thermostat will look a whole lot “cooler.” The savings of 20% on half of your energy bill, essentially paying itself of the first year, makes this the number one pick for saving money on your energy bill.
2) Microsoft Surface Tablet
Microsoft has been in the tablet category for a while now, but never in a form that customers accepted. Microsoft made a bold move with Windows 8 by removing the Start menu and replacing it with the touch friendly Start Screen (aka Metro), and in the process they have created the Surface tablet that may even rival the iPad.
The Microsoft Surface Pro tablet runs a full version of Windows 8 that runs all of your favorite x86/64 Windows programs in a form factor that was dominated by what is essentially an operating system for a smartphone. This allows for you to run any app that you would typically run on your PC like Microsoft Office or its free rival Libre Office. These full featured Office suites alone makes the Microsoft Surface, for many users, more useful then a tablet running iOS or Android.
In addition to the Surface Pro being able to run legacy Windows apps, a program call “Blue Stack” allows you to run most Android apps on your Windows 8 machine. With Blue Stack you have access to 700,000 Android apps to keep you busy until the Windows Store gets filled with apps.
Even with the oddities found in Windows 8 we think that the Microsoft Surface is on the path to being a no compromise tablet, even for hardcore PC users.
1) Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S is in our opinion the single most influential piece of tech this year. The Tesla Model S is showing the world that electric cars are viable alternatives to standard gas powered vehicles, and that you can go green without driving a slow ugly shoe.
The Tesla Model S can get 300 miles on a single charge, while out performing many gas powered competitors in the same class. While the Model S still suffers from the long charging time EV’s are know for, there are now options that allow you to charge your Model S to 80% in 30 minutes.