In 2012 we witnessed the arrival of the Cube, the world's first home 3D printer; the Raspberry Pi, a computer that costs just £30; and Microsoft's first tablet, the Surface. So what new tech are we looking forward to testing next year? Here’s our pick of the gadgets we’re most excited about in 2013...
Google Project Glass
Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin loves the internet so much that he’s found a way to use it literally all the time. His new Google endeavour, Project Glass, overlays information from the web, such as weather reports, messages from friends and map directions, on top of the real world through one of the glasses’ lenses. The specs are also fitted with a camera that lets you take pictures or record video without much fuss. It’s a revolutionary bit of tech, it’s just a shame you’ll be a bit of a social pariah if you wear them in public.
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The Xbox 360’s successor will finally be unveiled in the summer of 2013. Currently codenamed 'Durango', it’s whipped up a veritable whirlwind of rumours. The latest intelligence – gathered from leaked Microsoft presentations and hardware – is that the console will include Blu-ray support, the ability to record from live TV, 3D gaming and a renewed Kinect device that will supposedly work with augmented reality glasses. It’s thought that the Xbox 720 will be powered by 8GB RAM and a quad-core processor, making it vastly more powerful than the current generation of consoles.
Normally we wouldn’t get very excited about a new thermostat, but the Nest has been designed by two former Apple employees who were involved in the creation of the iPod and iPhone. The Nest learns your habits every time you adjust it and automatically heats your house to suit. It even lets you control the heating when you’re not in via the mobile app. The makers of the device claim that this smart heating can halve your fuel bills. It’s already available in the US, and we’ve been told it’s likely to land in the UK in 2013.
Read more: Nest
Virtual Reality (VR) gaming has been every gamer’s fantasy since the film The Lawnmower Man came out in 1992. Thankfully, the Oculus Rift VR headset is nothing like that – it’s much better. Connected to a PC, it presents your environment in full 3D, with a 110° field of view that tracks your head movements so you can look around virtual worlds. It’s been trialled by some of the gaming industry’s leading figures, like John Carmack the creator of Doom and Quake, and has received their seal of approval. When the headset launches next year, its makers say they’re hoping to keep it under the $300 (£185) price mark, which is unprecedented for this kind of technology.
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Most health monitors rely on a pedometer to tell you how active you're keeping. The only trouble is that they’re not very good if you exercise by, for example, cycling or rowing. The Basis band is a heart-rate monitor that works without a chest strap so you can wear it all the time and get an accurate reading, no matter what you're doing. The band is also loaded with other detectors, such as a galvanic skin response sensor which monitors sweat levels and an accelerometer so you can see how changes in your heart rate correlate with your exercise habits. This device could give you a more accurate picture of your health than any other consumer gadget to date.
Read more: Basis