There are a few technologies that have popped up in the last few weeks that I believe are the future. One of them is Siri and the other is the Lytro camera. I will start with Siri.

Siri

Siriously awesome

Siriously awesome

Siri is the incredible new virtual assistant for the iPhone 4S. It (she) works with voice commands and as far as intuitive control goes, it gets no better than that. Nothing comes close to voice control when it comes to passing commands right now… maybe until they perfect that Emotive brain control system.

Why is this awesome? Say for example you want to create an appointment tomorrow for 2pm. On most devices, the procedure would be something like this:

  1. Launch the calendar application
  2. Select the option to add a new appointment
  3. Enter the title or description of the appointment
  4. Enter the location
  5. Pick the date
  6. Pick the time
  7. Save
That’s roughly 7 steps and I can bet there are heaps more steps for other devices. To do the same thing in Siri is just a matter of holding the phone up to your ear and saying “Set up an appointment  for me with Michael at 2pm tomorrow”. Boom. That’s it. That is just one of the many things you can say to Siri. Siri is not only aware of who is talking, it’s aware of relations, members of the family (wife, husband, brother, contact) aaand it’s also location aware. So you can tell Siri something like “Remind me to call my sister and to take out the trash when I get home”. Once set up, it will know who your sister is and know when you’re home using GPS. Amazing.
One of the skills we master early in life is to talk. Instead of having to learn how to use computers and other devices, it’s great to see that technology has reached a point where it learns us and the way we can interact with it. That makes technology more accesible to the masses, no manual needed. The next bit of tech is also about as revolutionary, it’s called the Lytro camera.

Lytro

Lytro camera

Lytro camera

Words can not describe the awesomeness of this camera… So I found a video to break it down. In a nutshell, the Lytro camera captures the light field as opposed to just a plain image. With this light field data you can refocus an image after taking it. That’s incredible. Further more, you can parallax-pan the image and do all sorts of magic with the picture data. I can foresee this technology moving into mobile phones. I mean, there’s no need to focus and the camera is lightning fast – perfect for mobiles.

There is room for improvement though. The 8x optical zoom is probably  part of the reason why it has such unique elongated cube design. Also, I assume the large amount of data captured is the is probably why the Lytro camera can’t do video right now but I’m sure with advancements in storage and perhaps some optimization and compression, we’ll be seeing that soon.This kind of camera will definitely shake things up and I can not wait to see it extend to video capture and mobiles. Enjoy the Lyro camera demo from All Things D at the AsiaD conference with Walt Mossberg below.

 

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