Great computer hardware features keep emerging every year. The first computers were built in the 1940s, and they were huge, bulky machines with a single purpose: to calculate artillery trajectories for World War II battleships. The first personal computers appeared around 1980, but it was not until the 1990s that we saw the rise of the PC as an everyday tool. Below are some computer hardware features that have changed the world.
Quantum computers have existed since the early 20th century, but only recently have they become a commercial reality. In general, quantum computers harness the strange properties of subatomic particles, such as qubits, which can exist in multiple states at once (i.e., superposition). This gives them enormous processing power, especially when working on certain types of problems. However, unlike classical computers, they cannot be easily programmed or reprogrammed. Instead, they must operate more like biological systems, where their behavior is based on randomness rather than logic. Google has developed its own type of quantum computer called a D-Wave machine, which uses 2000 superconducting loops called “qubits” to perform calculations. These qubits are generate from materials similar to those they use in conventional transistors, except they can store information without changing state.
They also work by interacting with each other through what’s known as quantum tunneling. This means that if two qubits interact, one may transfer its energy to the other, causing both to flip simultaneously. This process is very fast because it does not require electrical current to flow; instead, it occurs due to quantum mechanical effects.
3D printers have been available since the 1970s, but they were expensive and required extensive training to use. Today, though, they are relatively inexpensive, easy to learn how to use, and capable of producing objects with complex shapes. Most modern consumer grade 3D printers use an additive manufacturing technique called fused deposition modeling (FDM) or selective laser melting (SLM). FDM works by extruding small amounts of plastic material, layer by layer, using a nozzle. SLM works by heating up a metal powder until it melts, then blasting a laser onto the object to harden the melted area into place. Both techniques produce high quality results, although the resolution depends on the size of the printer. For example, a desktop 3D printer might print something the size of a Rubik’s cube, while a large industrial model could print something the size of an entire car.
Augmented reality (AR) blends real life images with virtual elements overlaid on top of them. AR glasses, for instance, display digital information about the surrounding environment, while mobile phones show relevant content when users take pictures. While this technology seems simple now, it’s important to remember that augmented reality itself isn’t new. It was actually theorized back in 1979, and several companies started offering headsets to consumers before Apple even released the iPhone. What makes AR different today is that smartphones and tablets have advanced to the point where they can run sophisticated applications. Making AR possible at home, when playing online casino games, and in the office. Companies like Microsoft, Magic Leap, and Facebook are all investing heavily in AR development, and some of them already offer products.
Virtual reality (VR) immerses you in another world, usually involving a simulated experience. VR headsets block out everything else around you, including the physical world, so you feel completely cut off from your surroundings. The first models were bulky and heavy, but over time they became lighter and less obtrusive. Now, VR is to make a comeback as a result of technological advancements in graphics and computing. Google Cardboard allows people to explore VR via smartphone. Oculus Rift offers a full PC-based solution, while HTC Vive provides a premium option with room-scale tracking.
Wearable technology, also known as wearable computers, smartwatches, or personal area networks, refer to small electronic devices that connect to our smartphones. They have become increasingly popular since their introduction because we can use them to check emails, text messages, social media updates, and much more. However, not only do they provide communication functionality, but they also track activity levels, sleep patterns, and heart rates.
The future will bring us many exciting innovations, but the above hardware features will likely be among the most significant. As we move forward, we will continue to see improvements in the way we communicate, work, play, live, and travel. We will also see continued growth in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence.