WEB & TECH / DEC. 10, 2014
version 6, draft 6

5 Future Technologies For the Workplace

Technology is an indivisible part of contemporary life. Let’s just admit it to ourselves, technology is invading our lives faster than soccer moms rushing to a one day sale at Yoga Pants R’ Us. I mean come on people; we have ‘smart’ refrigerators at this point. If you need a refrigerator to tell you that you need to buy soup, maybe you don’t quite deserve that soup. I’m not a fear-mongering anti-technologist though. Technology not only has its place, but it can be a great tool in the workplace. Here are five future technologies for the workplace.

#1 PaperTab

PaperTab is an attempt to bridge the gap between the flexibility, mobility and tactile nature of paper and the efficiency and speed of digital. Because who hasn’t wanted to fold up their tablet and put it in their back pocket? If you have, firstly, you probably have ogre like strength, and secondly, you are immediately in the market for a new tablet. The PaperTab is the result of Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab research and seems like an amazing, much more natural way to interact with your work. It’s basically a foldable tablet and can be combined with a “smart desk”. The smart desk has surfaces that interact with the PaperTab and activate various functions. Because no picture I can find would do its superlative level of cool justice, you can check it out in the video below.  

#2 Livescribe

Humanity has been using paper for millennia. It’s convenient after all, it’s light, compact and disposable. It also mass murders trees to be produced. We’re all aware of the positives and negatives of paper, but with the advent of digital everything we have found another problem. The damn thing doesn’t have any USB ports. You’ve sat in a two hour meeting frantically jotting away and now your boss wants details on what he missed. You have to sit, type out everything you wrote already and then email her the details. Not anymore. With the Livescribe smart-pen, anything you write gets automatically digitized, not only that, but it can also record audio and sketches. You can even share your notes with other users!

 

 

Murdering trees has never been more convenient!

 

#3 Handwriting apps

Maybe you’re not into paper-murdering thousands of trees a year; there is another way to digitize your handwriting. There are various apps out there such as One Note and Evernote, which can translate your indecipherable chicken scratching into eloquent prose (use Helvetica font for extra hipster cred). The eloquent prose is going to have to be in the writing of course, an app isn’t going to make you F. Scott Fitzgerald no matter how many hours you spend in a Starbucks doodling.

#4 Holographic Displays (kinda)

For years we have been promised giant, glass displays that feature cool, glowing holographic windows that you control by waving your hands in front of you like a crazy person conducting a pigeon orchestra in the park. A company named zSpace has kind of done that by combining a 3D display/ glasses and a special stylus. Close enough. Although, more novelty than real-world application at this point, if combined with diagnostic/ Imaging technology such as MRI, ground sonar or 3D sonograms, I can see it being an indispensable tool for a variety of fields. Designers, mechanics, medical professions and even Archaeologists will be able to probe inaccessible areas in 3D. Although, Indiana Jones would be a pretty boring movie if he just put goggles on, looked at a screen and waved a pen in front of it like a possessed maestro to explore an underground chamber.

#5   The future of micro-managing

Although intended as a medical device, this application could have some great uses in the office. Instead of carrying around a key, fob or card to get in and out of the office, how about a bio-sticker? The only down side of it is that it tracks brain, heart and muscle activity. Your boss will be able to tell if you’re sleeping on the job or involved in a little office romance in the lunch room at any given moment. It’s a small price to pay for empty, keyless pockets.

Is there a technology that exists that you would like to use in your office? Let us know in the comment section below and I will hook you up! (that’s not true I don’t have that kind of influence in the tech industry.)

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