It’s Tuesday morning, and welcome to the beginning of our year-in-review series. As 2016 wraps up we’ll be recapping the big winners and losers, starting with both virtual and augmented reality tech. Plus: The first trailer for Blade Runner 2049!
2016 was full of virtual reality. With spring came the retail launch of the Oculus Rift and HTC’s Valve-endorsed Vive. Later in the year, PlayStation launched its VR headset, which was cheaper because it worked with existing PS4s. However, at the same time, Magic Leap and Microsoft’s Hololens wowed with augmented reality headsets that did away with some of clunkiness of VR. (There’s always something better on the horizon, eh?) Then, proving the potential of augmented reality, smartphone-based Pokémon Go turned into the gaming hit of the year.
Thirty years after the events of the first film, Ryan Gosling plays a new blade runner that’s discovered a secret that could cause a whole lot of trouble. Entertainment Weekly reports that his job will involve tracking down Rick Deckard, who’s apparently gone missing between the original and this movie.
The Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research reactor team has announced a new endurance record for operating with “high performance” plasma in its fusion reactor. Granted, the feat only lasted for 70 seconds, but that’s still a “huge step forward,” according to the National Fusion Research Institute.
This year, Razer has delivered a gaming laptop with a beautiful display and the latest graphics chip ready to play games at their highest settings. Sean Buckley says this is one of the first gaming laptops he’s seen with enough power to make use of a 4K display, so you don’t have to choose between native resolution and a smooth framerate. The Blade Pro is Razer’s biggest laptop yet, so check the size of your backpack — and your budget — before buying in.
Now that Google’s self-driving car project is a spinoff called Waymo, it’s ready to show off the fruits of its partnership with Fiat Chrysler. These Chrysler Pacifica hybrid vans are modified to deal with the extra weight of the autonomous kit, and have already done 200 hours of extreme weather testing.
Two new laptops are rolling out from Samsung, and they’re almost unbelievably light. The Notebook 9 comes in 13- and 15-inch configurations that weigh 1.8 and 2.17 pounds, respectively. Compare that to Apple’s lightweight 12-inch Macbook which weighs in at two pounds even. To get that light, they have relatively small batteries rated for 7 hours of use, but charge fully via USB-C in just 80 minutes.
But wait, there’s more…
- Electric Objects’ digital art display is like Netflix for fine art
- Mark Zuckerberg explains how he built a “Jarvis” AI
- “Two Dots” now has a competitive mode where you can play for real money