10 Tech Products To Get Psyched About In 2017
While the election this week introduced new unrest (on more sides than one), please try to remember that even in times of uncertainty and change, technology can still makes progress. Moore’s Law has survived for over 50 years through wars, recessions, and everything else our world has been through.
Products like Google Home and Amazon Alexa already made a splash this year and will continue to grow next year. My list covers some of the more nascent and emerging products.
Without further ado, here are the products coming into the mainstream in 2017 that we can be excited about. These are all specific products, not just drawing board concepts.
Number 10: Snap Spectacles
The Snap Spectacles, which are already available in the company’s hometown of Venice, CA, will be getting a much broader roll out in 2017. Spectacles may succeed where Google Glass failed. It combines a much easier to use product with fun, goofy and more natural use cases connected to Snapchat. Plus it’s been 3 years (an eon in tech time), smartglasses get to be cool again.
Number 9: Starship Technologies
While you don’t get to make a Superman “it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a drone” references, this little delivery robot has its wheel planted firmed on the ground. In late 2016, Starship Technologies rolled out their delivery robots in Washington D.C. and then Redwood City, CA. These delivery assistants have rolled around 11,600 miles and encountered 1.8 million people. Let’s hope Ahti Heinla (@ahtih) and team will lead a fleet of these little carriers to save us from the empire of big box stores.
Here’s a bonus close-up picture of Starship Technologies at the 2016 GSV Pioneer Summit:
Number 8: Electron (Rocket Lab)
Space, the final frontier, is about to get a bit more crowded. While this isn’t a product you can pick off the shelves, the Electron rocket from Rocket Lab is dramatically decreasing the cost of accessing space.
For $50,000 you could hitch a ride (for your satellite, not for yourself) into space. Each Electron Rocket uses less fuel than a 737 airliner flying from SFO to LAX and the company has the ambitious goal of launching more than 100 rockets a year. Fast Internet beamed from space, real-time climate monitoring around the world, instant tracking of key economic assets, the possibilities are endless.
Number 7: Zipline
While the U.S. Federal Aviation Association has cautioned Icarus (reference), some countries are saying “let ’em fly” when it comes to drones delivering important life saving medicine. Zipline, a startup that announced a $25 million round with top Silicon Valley investors, are working in Rwanda and other markets to drop medical supplies. The drones fly at 60 miles per hour and they never have to worry about getting a speeding ticket.
Number 6: Remedy
Want to talk to your doctor at a moment’s notice just by tapping your phone. Now you can. The long awaited promise of on-demand and personalized healthcare will take a leap forward in 2017 with apps like Remedy. Using data from numerous other cases and its AI engine, Remedy can treat 70% of cases remotely and quickly find additional help for you as needed. On the doctor side, Remedy helps with the administrative burden, which is a staggering $250+ billion a year in U.S. hospitals, or 25% of total hospital spending. Hopefully the true stories of hospitals that have more billing employees than number of patient beds will be stories of yesteryears.
Number 5: Tesla Solar
Tesla is making roofs cool again. The new lineup includes attractive roofing tiles that contains solar cells inside. With over 5 million new roofs installed each year, integrating solar cells inside roofing materials is a natural way to accelerate solar adoption. Their goal is to roll out the roofing solar products at a price equivalent or lower than non-solar roofs plus the cost of electricity. You never thought we’d get to the point of designating smart versus dumb roofs did you?
These roof tiles comes in 4 types to accommodate various house styles. Can you tell that these roofs below all have solar cells in them?
Number 4: Anki Cozmo
If you grew up watching Wall-E or Star Wars, you’ll appreciate Anki Cozmo which is already on the market and should make a big showing in 2017. These little robots can form expressions and interact with you in a human way. Beyond just fun and games, these smart toys aspire to inspire a new generation of builders and makers. Cute, and highly educational.
Number 3: Octane AI
As a stand-in example for the entire chatbot industry (yes, it’s an industry now), Octane AI lets any business create a basic chatbot that will showcase products, answer customer service questions and perform a range of standard tasks that free up the business owners to focus on bigger strategy work. Soon, bots unleashed by numerous startups and the American MAFIA (Microsoft, Alphabet, Facebook, IBM, Amazon) and Global STABS (Softbank, Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, Samsung) will become your assistants and perhaps, if you are lucky, your friends.
Number 2: Tesla Model 3
You now no longer have to build the future, the future will build itself. Just kidding, but at least all Tesla Model 3s come with full autopilot hardware and can receive ever improving self-driving software updates over the air. So at least on your way to work building the future, your car can drive you there by itself. Model 3s are slated to roll out of the massive factories in late 2017. One key point that you may have missed, Elon and team are focused on making the machines that make the machines much better, meaning they aim to make the factories that produce cars, batteries, solar panels to be much more efficient and faster. This drives up volume and drives down cost. Let’s hope they do this as fast as humanly possible.
Yes, Tesla got to double dip on this list because saving the world from climate change doesn’t have one silver bullet solution.
Number 1: Magic Leap
It would truly be a magical leap forward if Magic Leap releases its consumer product in 2017 and it works the way these teaser videos show. It’s number 1 on my list both for how cool it could be and the broader implications. Computing will be smack center on your face and things you used to do on your computer, your tablet, your phone, and even your watch can be done by swerving your head, blinking once for yes, twice for no, and so on. Who am I kidding, I don’t know exactly what kind of user interface Magic Leap will roll out, but whatever it may be, it could radically change humanity’s relationship to technology.
From Spectacles to Magic Leap, “a computer on your face” is the theme that bookends my list of next year’s big ideas. Sandwiched in the middle are robots, toy robots, flying robots, driving robots. It’s an exciting time to be alive not because these will be life changing products in our future, these are the life changing products now.
Thank you to Slater, Abhi, Suzee, Michele, Betty, Harry, Luben for reading drafts of this.