10 future gadgets that will shape the next decade

Whether you like it or not, gadgets are transforming the way we live. From using our phones to communicate to checking our smartwatch for new fitness stats, future gadgets are starting to feature heavily in all our lives.

It isn’t going to change in the future. When, as you might suspect, we’re only going to become more reliant on technology. Future gadgets will be exciting, impressive and terrifying all at once. Exciting in the sense these gadgets will help us to look good, feel great and be more efficient. But terrifying in that we won’t need to think as much; gadgets will handhold us through our daily lives.

Fancy a glimpse of what’s coming your way? ‘Course you do! Here are 10 future gadgets that we’ll be seeing more of as 2020 approaches:

  1. Foldable phones

Recent phone releases, such as the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8, are powerful devices able to do a lot. But, as far as design goes, there’s no getting away from the bulk of these handsets. Stick one in your pocket, and you’re left with an awkward lump in your silhouette – hardly flattering.

Samsung has already claimed it hopes to launch the first bendable phone in 2018. To start with, this could take the shape of a normal phone with a curved screen. In a few years’ time, however, we could have paper thin phones that are much easier for us to store.

  1. Earphones for language translation

Removing barriers to communication is a big topic in tech. It’s one reason Google and Skype both offer tools to make language translation simple. It’s also why earphones that translate languages in real-time will be a popular future gadget.

Soon flunking French class won’t be such a big deal after all!

  1. Augmented reality street maps

Augmented reality is going to take off, and this is going to be especially useful for navigation. Today, people are reliant on the likes of Google Maps and City Mapper, but these apps aren’t the most intuitive. Ever had to awkwardly wave your phone in the air to make sure that little blue arrow is pointing in the direction you’re facing?!

Augmented reality will allow you to superimpose directions onto your screen. With a big fat arrow on top of your real-world surroundings telling you which way to head, there ought to be no chance of taking a wrong turn.

  1. Health-monitoring wearables

With the growth of Fitbit and similar smartwatches, the demand for wearables that help us stay healthy is clear. At the moment, these wearables do little more than track heart rate and blood oxygen levels. But in the future, we’ll see gadgets that provide more detailed health diagnostics.

  1. Mirrors that double up as screens

Microsoft has already announced plans to produce a smart mirror that can read your emotions. So, we can expect mirrors to start doubling up as interactive screens in the not-so-distant future.

Initially, these mirrors will display essential information such as the weather, time and date. But with time, this future gadget will be pulling in whatever information you desire from the internet, whether that’s a makeup tutorial or a men’s fashion column.

  1. Beds optimised for the perfect night’s sleep

There’s been talk of smart beds for a while now. These beds of the future will be able to change temperature to keep you snug and adjust your position to stop you snoring.

Early smart beds won’t come cheap, with prices expected to start at around £7,000. I think I’ll stick with the Night Nurse and ear plugs for now.

  1. Eco-friendly showerheads

Showering is apparently so much fun that a lot of us don’t want to get out. In fact, one Unilever study revealed that the average person spends eight minutes in the shower, using the same amount of water and energy as it takes to run a bath.

These colour-emitting showerheads change colour based on how much water you’ve used up: green for up to 10 litres, purple for 10 – 50 litres and red for over 50 litres. It is a nice idea to stop water wastage, although that neon light is a blight on an otherwise relaxing shower routine.

  1. Smart contact lenses

Sony Contact lensesWouldn’t it be cool to zoom in on something in the distance? Or take an on-the-spot recording of exactly what you’re looking at? It’s all a bit ‘Black Mirror’, I know, but this will all become possible if smart contact lenses take off.

Sony has already patented the concept of intelligent contacts. Exactly how this future gadget will work and what it’ll be capable of is a mystery for now.

  1. Self-sufficient fridges

How we manage a food shop will change over the next ten years, helped along by smart fridges. These fridges will scan the expiry date on your groceries and tell you when you need to order new food in. Most likely, you’ll pair the fridge with an app, so you can simply hit a button to bulk order a quantity of goods.

Albeit a time-saving future gadget, a smart fridge isn’t all about being lazy. By alerting you to upcoming expiry dates, it should help minimise food wastage. Also, there’s been talk of pairing these fridges with recipe apps. A recipe app could present you with a choice of dinners based on what you’ve got in the fridge (and teach you how to make the meal you want).

  1. Shatterproof phones

Even if foldable phones become a thing, it’s unlikely glass screened phones and tablets will disappear altogether. So, manufacturers will need to continue their efforts to make these devices as durable as possible.

Scientists from the University of California claim to have made a glass-like material that can heal itself after getting cracked. The molecules in the material are bonded in a way that allows them to reattach after a tear. I think I just heard a ‘hallelujah’ from all the Clumsy Craigs out there…

When will these future gadgets be available to buy?

We know many big businesses, including Samsung, Microsoft and Sony, have invested in these gadgets of the future. Their funding will have sped up the development of the technology and in most cases, made it likely we’ll see the gadget on sale by 2020.

Of course, some gadgets could flop, never making it past their first year. Although I like the thinking behind a showerhead that tells you when to get out, whether your average household would see it as beneficial is debatable.

At the same time, there’s a lot of potential for these future gadgets to take off and become an essential part of our day-to-day. Perhaps 10 years down the line, having a fridge that orders your food shop and a bed that stops you snoring will be as normal as owning a toothbrush.