4 Unforgettable Inventions From 2016

4 Unforgettable Inventions From 2016

This year's historic leaps in technology include: Pokémon​ Go​, the Galaxy Note 7, fingerprint-sensor guns and virtual reality headsets!

Though 2016 has been a rocky year, it's ushered in a lot of new technology that is quickly paving the roadway to new inventions. Tech booms from the past have since assimilated into our daily lives, and the developments taken underway in 2016 are expected to do the same as we inch closer to the new year — some being explosively good while others, not so much.

1. Pokémon Go — 3/5

With about a 100 million downloads with the first month of its debut, Pokémon Go quickly became a sensation all around the globe. It fulfilled the childhood dreams of young adults and fueled the long lasting succession of its brand through the younger generations. Although the game has crossed bounds by crossing virtual reality with actual reality, it has a number of limitations that drain the hype as quickly as the game drains the battery life of your phone. Bugs result in wiped progress and system crashes that have frustrated players who are glued to it over a long period of time, but this craze in itself has lead to car crashes, accidents and other safety hazards. And according to Forbes, there are also "mixed feelings about In-App Purchases in games."

Needless to say, overall, Pokémon Go is a major success, and its release has been met with an enthusiasm unparalleled by other games.

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 — Flop

Things took an explosive turn in August with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 which was recalled almost immediately after when several of them caught on fire with a few detonating — all because of the flammable lithium ion batteries (which, fun fact, also caught fire in hover-boards). The U.S. authorities announced a second recall in October, banning all Galaxy Note 7 phones from being taken inside airplanes after another close call with the triggered smartphone that began to emit smoke from within a passenger's laptop bag. Now, it is officially illegal to sell a Galaxy Note 7.

Samsung is hoping to rebuild consumer trust with the Galaxy 8 which may be introduced in 2017.

3. Fingerprint Sensor Guns — Prototype, 4/5

Although this isn't exactly a new concept, it's the first to actually work. A Utah company tried out the idea by manufacturing a fingerprint trigger lock, but this weighed the gun down and other issues soon made the weapon an unpopular pick for most gun owners. Then in comes 19-year old Kai Kloepfer, the first to design a fingerprint reader handgun with the fingerprint sensor built into the grip. After winning a grant from Smart Tech Challenges Foundation in 2014 for his design, Kloepfer has dedicated his time and efforts to perfecting his prototype, Biofire.

“Congratulations,” said Ron Conway, founder of Smart Tech Challenges Foundation, to Kloepfer. “You are going to save America. You are going to save lives. The gun companies won’t tell you, but the tech industry will.”

To support the finalization of the Biofire gun, check out Kai Kloepfer's website to help fund the project!

4. Virtual Reality Headsets — 5/5

March and April of 2016, respectively, marked the release of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive virtual reality (VR) headsets. Both were sold out in a matter of 20 minutes once the first batch was released, and they are still at the top of the holiday gift list this season. There have been very few technical problems found in both VR sets, besides complaints of motion sickness when the sensor is too slow to match human reflexes. Besides that, the headsets have opened the doorway to VR simulator experience in educational training, such as learning how to drive a car or test surgical equipment without endangering others' lives in the process. It also expands the realm of gaming and entertainment to new (almost frightening) bounds, like the option to watch a horror movie with a VR headset, which sounds like a thrilling idea to horror fans but may send others into cardiac arrest. As with every other technology that's come before it, VR headsets raise ethical questions, like:

Could this desensitize people to certain feelings and/or sensations, like violence?

Can it negatively impact health treatments and/or disrupt our perception of reality?

Should anything be done about the people who choose a sedentary life of virtual reality over actual reality?

Despite these reservations, VR headsets, Biofire guns, the Galaxy Note 7, Pokémon Go and an array of other technologies have all made 2016 a year of experimentation.

Who knows what we'll see next year — maybe the whole flying cars concept will finally take off!

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Why Sims 4 Is Better Than Therapy

No mom, I'm not wasting my time. I'm planning my life.

If you've ever felt like you've lost control of your life, you can fix that problem for a low fee of $20, by investing in one of my favorite casual games: The Sims 4. Starting off as a simple simulation game, this platform has evolved into a place where people can create unique storylines and almost lead second lives. Because it allows players to control an entire town of people, regulating everything from emotions to hobbies to professions, most people find satisfaction in knowing that every single one of those pixelated humans' lives are in their hands.

When I started playing the Sims, I created a young adult with my likeness, and used my starter budget to buy a small plot of land where I built my first house from scratch- an accomplishment that sent my Sim into debt, ultimately killing her ability to find a partner, which left her living in the local park and eating hot dogs until she died from an overdose of soda. (See, unhealthy sugars CAN kill you).

My second try was more successful- I created an overweight man (it would take longer for him to die of starvation) who was a bit of a nerd, but still charismatic. Long story short, Benson Olson lived a long and peaceful life, ultimately succumbing to old age. From that moment on, I knew I how to maneuver the game properly- and the rewards were so satisfying.

I was able to decide fates, but the game forced me to stay organized. Fathering too many children or going to work too often was often a cause of stress for my Sims, so I learned how to balance their needs while still having fun. The level of patience it takes to play the Sims is crazy- relationships take time to build and sometimes they don't work out too well.

That's where cheats come in handy. The developers of the SIms 4 actually encourage users to use cheats, giving users the ability Sims millionaires in less than a minute, or to force relationships between NPCs, no matter how compatible they may be.

I've often found that naming Sims after people in my life, then making their lives hell has been another benefit of the game- you can totally mess with them by starting a fire in their house, or tipping over trashcans until you're banished. Some of my friends have even requested to become part of my households- in the form of pets, because they're too scared to be 'humans' in my unpredictable Sim worlds.

Overall, the Sims 4 may seem like a timewaster, but the way this game stretches the creative bubble is both beneficial and therapeutic.




Cover Image Credit: WIndows Central

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Apple Music Versus Spotify

Which music app reigns supreme?

I recently went through an internal struggle; wanting to stay loyal to apple music with the draw of Spotify including Hulu in their package slowly pulling me in. I had to go based off of my friends' recommendations of both music streaming apps, although they tended to be a bit biased. It was time I tested both for myself and finally settled on the best one. Both get the job done, but there are surely pros and cons for each.

Music Variety

When it comes to this category, Spotify reigns supreme. The app features a lot more remixes than Apple Music does, and I feel as though I’m exposed to tons of new music. Of course this category isn’t terribly important, as you could download any song from the internet and upload it to either app.

Storage

Every iPhone comes with iTunes, so why download another app for music when you’re trying to save space? This was one of the issues I had with Spotify in the first place, it required me to download the app on my phone as well as the program on my computer. My mac already comes with iTunes, but I guess this isn’t such a problem for Android and PC users.

Packages

Spotify definitely wins this round, a normal membership now comes with access to a basic Hulu account! If you’re a student, this means only $5 a month for both services! It’s basically a dream come true.

Shuffle

Random, but this is something that I have noticed as a difference between Spotify and Apple Music. Spotify’s shuffle is significantly less shuffled than Apple Music’s. I find that when I press shuffle on Spotify I constantly hear songs by the same artist a bunch of times in a row, while I never encounter this problem with Apple.

Organization

Apple Music is more organized than Spotify is. On Apple Music, I can choose to arrange my playlists, however, I like based on artist, date added, or even song title. I can do this on Spotify too, but only from my computer. On the app, my music is always organized by date added, which is not my first choice. It’s a small problem, but one I definitely took notice of.

Discover Weekly

One of the great things about Spotify is the personalized playlists it makes every week- and they’re pretty good! Apple Music doesn’t really have anything similar to this, which is a shame and a half.

Radio

Both of these apps have their own version of “radio” services, where you can create a radio station based off of a song, artist, or album. Spotify seems to always been spouting out new songs by the hundreds, even if you’re not sure how some of them made it on the radio playlist. Apple Music seems to play the same few songs on repeat, and keep them the same for everyone. So both apps have their downsides here, but Spotify definitely shows more diversity and gives more songs chances to shine.

My honest opinion: you can’t go wrong with either of these apps. Both have high-quality music with almost unlimited options that are easy to use. I personally use Spotify, but it was mostly because of the Hulu promotion (definitely worth it by the way). I’ve tried both, used both for a few months, and this is my consensus. No matter what you use, happy listening!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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