Trends in Travel Gadgets
2014 is going to be the year of awesome toys that will make the travel experience better. It won’t improve how we document our adventures – travel services and passing the time will progress too. For those of us who love travelling and moving forward, keep an eye out. Technology is coming with you.
Move on from smartphones because smartwatches are the new frontier! These watches will have the same capabilities as cell phones, but they wrap around your wrist. The current prototypes are quite bulky, but I imagine that they’ll be as tiny as Casio in no time.
Remember those snap bracelets you had as a kid? They were straight and flat but flicking them wrapped the bracelets around your wrist – it was so much fun! SnapWatch is bringing them back and making them better. The entire watch has a flexible screen and they’re in talks with flexible plastic company Plastic Logic to make an e-paper screen to improve the prototype.
The Clarion Hotel in Stockholm was one of the first hotels to start using digital keys. Guests use their smartphones to unlock the door to their room with a link they receive when they check in. The next step? Using biometric data! Hotel room doors should have fingerprint scanners. When we arrive at hotels and hostels, we would scan a finger at the front desk to check in. Then you’ll never forget or lose your key – hopefully!
Travellers will have even more vibrant ways to enjoy down time during their travels with minimum equipment.
For watching films on the go with your newfound hostel friends, pick up one of these DLP Pico Projectors. The projector can be plugged in to any smartphone, tablet or PC with a USB cable. It will project movies, photos, or TV shows in high-quality resolution onto any flat surface for your viewing pleasure.
For the more literal take on this trend, Vuzix Corp has come up with movie-screen eyeglasses that can be plugged into an iPod. These wrap-around sunglasses will allow you to watch a film like you’re in a movie theatre.
People in the tech business are optimising every gadget they have so it can have the prefix ultra in it. First is UltraHD, which you can get with new camcorders. Film all of your travel adventures and watch them back like you were there – maybe with your Pico Projector!
Ultrathin and ultralight laptops and smartphones are also being rolled out this year. The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is a 14” carbon-fibre laptop that’s even lighter and sturdier than the Macbook Air. It has a high functionality, but can take a bit of roughhousing in your backpack on train and bus rides.
Don’t know how to say “Can you take my picture, please?” in Swahili? Not to worry – Canon has taken a page out of the smartphone’s book. The new Canon PowerShot N100 has a Dual Camera mode that will allow travellers to really get into the scenery. The camera takes two photos simultaneously with front and rear cameras, and incorporates your selfie into the main portrait.
Alyssa James is a freelance writer with over four years of research and writing experience. Her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Travel + Escape, Matador Network, peer-reviewed journals and local newspapers. For more information, check out her website Alyssa Writes.