With the different news I find about acquisitions by big companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, etc, I sometimes feel like maybe I should have stuck with the engineering field. For our research project in college, my group built a wearable device with an accelerometer. The device was called Axel. It was actually just an improvement of one batch ahead of us who built the foundations necessary. What we did with it though was to enable it to recognize movements of people - from walking, standing and other actions. The goals we had were to:
1. Improve functionality of the device
2. Lengthen battery life and make the device actually wearable
3. To create software that will enable the results to be interpreted and activities plotted by time
4. To enable the device to be compatible with using SD cards since initially data wasn't in the format that's ubiquitously recognizable
And now, what do we have, Samsung, Google (through Motorola) and other tech companies releasing devices that perform the same things we built 4-5 years back. A lot of companies are pitching themselves in the prime position for the inevitable age of the "Internet of Things."
This blog entry was inspired by the acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook. At first, I thought it was interesting for Facebook - primarily a social media platform - to purchase Oculus Rift - a virtual reality hardware+software company. But then, thinking about it, it does make sense for Facebook. Facebook will be a good platform where Oculus can reach the masses. As Zuckerberg justifies:
"Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together. I can’t wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us."
On the other side of the spectrum for the future, we have Google funding R&D for computer driven cars. Tesla as mentioned in the article - through Elon Musk - has done research for Hyperloop which could be the future of mass transit. And also, on the topic of Elon Musk - who I think is a visionary almost on the level of Steve Jobs, he's company SpaceX is building rockets that could enable people in the future to inhabit Mars.
The future is starting to be not as how Sci-Fi pictured it to be. Not exactly, but close to it. We've seen parallels of IPads, smartphones and the like in Star Wars and other science fiction shows. It's exciting to think what the future will be like with more innovations and technologies in research and development. It's actually something I hope I could live to see and experience.
I'm happy that the big companies are not just focusing their monetary muscles to make profit in the now, but investing heavily to position themselves for the future.