Randy Rieland in Smithsonian:
It’s customary this time of year to write paeans to the past 12 months and get all mushy about things you’d pretty much forgotten. But we don’t need that, right? We’re all forward-thinkers here, aren’t we? So I’ve created an alphabetical list of things you’ll likely hear about more often in the months ahead. At the very least, you’ll have some new words to drop into conversations at the New Year’s Eve party to show how much you’re already plugged into next year. Here you go, the ABC’s of 2012 (Part I):
Augmented reality: Sure, it’s been around awhile, dating back to when yellow ”first-down” lines were first overlaid on football fields for games on TV. But using apps to layer virtual information over a real-world environment—think reviews that pop up on your screen when you focus your phone on the restaurant–is about to go mainstream. Coming soon: Google Goggles, glasses which will give the person wearing them all kinds of info about what they’re looking at.
Biometrics: There are so many things besides your sparkling wit that make you who you are–your DNA, iris scans, voice patterns or facial features—and the science of using them to identify you is getting more and more James Bondian. Now IBM is predicting that within a few years, we won’t need passwords, even at the ATM.
Electric cars: The truth is, there’s been nowhere near an electric car boom. So far Nissan has sold only 20,000 of its all-electric Leafs worldwide and Chevy fell short of its goal of selling 10,000 of its hybrid plug-in Volts this year. But Ford, Honda and Toyota all plan to launch electric vehicles in 2012 and Nissan announced this fall that, along with scientists at Kansai University in Japan, it had developed the technology to fully charge an electric car in only 10 minutes.