Technology That Works: Gadgets to Enhance Your Performance
What would you do without your laptop? Your smartphone? Your tablet? In the grand scheme of things, these tools haven’t been around very long, but the days of landlines and dial-up seem like a lifetime ago. With our seemingly unquenchable thirst for a Wi-Fi connection and instant gratification, one could argue that we are too attached to our technology, though there’s no denying the progress we’ve made because of it; we can do things today our ancestors couldn’t even dream about. Our capabilities in almost every area of life are enhanced through technology, but it’s our professional lives that can really benefit. Technology truly can be a tool in the workplace, and using it can improve your performance, increasing productivity, streamlining processes and more. Here are just a few of the most impressive–and helpful–tech developments that will change the way you work forever.
Printing has made great strides since Gutenberg’s printing press of the 15th century, the most recent being three-dimensional printing. Also called additive manufacturing, these printers can use materials such as plastic, ceramic, metal and even glass powder to create 3D objects from a digital file. According to 3dprinting.com, “the [printing] software slices the final model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. When this prepared file is uploaded in the 3D printer, the printer creates the object layer by layer.” The possibilities for 3D printers are endless, although the most immediate applications include model-making, design visualization, prototyping, metal casting, architecture and the like.
Easy on the eyes
Computer eye strain is quickly becoming more prevalent as society becomes more attached to technology. Think about it; most of us have work computers, personal computers, tablets, smartphones and televisions, all of which we spend quite a bit of time looking at. “Peering into an abyss of high-energy visible [HEV] artificial blue light for hours can disrupt your entire system; your eyes, neck and back, circadian rhythms, serotonin levels and overall health,” says GUNNAR, an eyewear company looking to alleviate these problems with its patented technology. According to GUNNAR, nearly 70 percent of Americans suffer from some form of digital eye strain, and prolonged exposure to the artificial light emitted by our gadgets can lead to headache, dry eye and blurred vision. Furthermore, it can also contribute to more serious vision problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. These doctor-recommended lenses aid the eyes to focus more naturally to reduce strain and are specially tinted to reduce the effects of the artificial blue light.
Tight deadlines and packed schedules can create mountains of stress. These days, the pressure to do it all makes our brains feel so fried that some days it’s hard to form a sentence. The makers of Melomind have been there, and their neurofeedback technology aims to help our brains relax and reset so we can get back to our packed daily routine. According to Melomind, neurofeedback uses audio or visual feedback of real-time brain activity to improve its function. In other words, it measures your brain’s stress levels and forms a relaxing audio session tailored to the results, a musical prescription for the brain. A Melomind session takes around 15 minutes–easy to fit into any day–and the increased productivity and attention are well worth it.
Our smartphones and other portable devices may be permanent fixtures in our hands or bags, but soon our tech gear will be affixed to our bodies. Google Glass may not have taken off like the creators had hoped, but it was a step toward making wearable technology more mainstream. The ever-anticipated Apple Watch was released in April, but it’s much more than just a watch. It can text, track activity, make phone calls, send emails, send sketches and “tap patterns” to other watch-wearers–and, yes, tell time. Other products in the market have a similar focus; the Ring is a plastic device you wear on your finger that can turn on and off lights, send tweets, take photos, pay bills and more; each action gets its own gesture that the device recognizes. The Ring is designed to sync with other devices via Bluetooth, and most new products come with that capability: your phone, your TV or your home appliances, for example.
Bigger. Better. Faster. The constant forward motion of technological developments is inevitable. When society finds a way to do the impossible, we follow with, “How can we do this better?” This question will always be what moves us to reach new heights. Three-dimensional printing, tech that’s worn like an accessory, glasses to prevent digital strain, brain relaxers–these are just a sampling of tech developments in the market and soon to come that are quickly changing the way we work. With the help of tools like these, we can work faster, smarter and harder, achieving more than we thought was possible. HLM
Sources: 3dprinting.com, apple.com, cnet.com, gunnars.com, melomind.com, pastemagazine.com and psprint.com.