Best Of 2012: Technology

As 2012 quickly comes to an end, we're looking back at what stood out across various industries this year. Today, Camilla, one our Youth Advisory Board members, discusses some of the biggest achievements in the tech space.

Best Of 2012: Technolgoy

This year, we’ve been met by some incredible novel pieces of technology, and stellar improvements on already-existent technology. Incidentally, we’ve also been advertised (often successfully) a fair number of less-than-impressive techie goodies, but we won’t talk about that today. For me, at any rate, the best of this year’s technology spans two separate realms of possibility: the maybe-if-I-save-up variety, and the completely unpurchaseable but nonetheless faint-worthy innovations. In these categories, I’ve picked out a couple highlights.

So, without further ado:

Your world: Roku Streaming Stick

RokuDoesn’t ring a bell? That’s because this is the present you want, but didn’t even know how much you wanted it (but, now you know, you’re going to pretend you’ve always wanted one). Basically, it looks like a USB stick you plug into your TV. Unlike a USB stick though, this tiny object provides you with extensive access to online streaming episodes on Netflix and likeminded sites — and it’s (relatively) affordable. “Stream to your heart’s content,” their website proclaims.3D printing

Out of this world: 3D printing.

Obviously, this is not a viable Christmas present, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an ‘I always WISHED this existed’ sort of dream. It’s exactly what it sounds like: you print in three dimension. It's of incredible use to architects, and apparently also in constructing dental crowns. For those of you who don’t build buildings or teeth, the options seem limitless now but after a week of printing origami-like designs, I’m not sure this gift…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I move around every few years so it would be a huge hassle to have to buy and sell property so frequently.”—Female, 28, IN

Gen Z will spend the most on rent of any generation, but Millennials aren’t far behind. HotPads estimates that 2-20-year-olds will spend $226,000 on rent before they buy a home and 24-38-year-olds will ring in at $202,000. Despite the difference, Gen Z will own their first home one year earlier than Millennials because they’ll have “a stronger job market than [M]illennials”—but, despite the myths, they are buying homes in greater numbers. PS: Los Angeles tops the list of where young demos will spend the most on rent. (Business Insider)

What’s behind board games' popularity today? The NPD Group found that board games grew 8% compared to the toy industry’s overall growth of 8% in the past year and has “no signs of slowing down.” Digital detoxing plays a part, as more Millennial parents worry about their kids’ screen time and seek toys that foster face-to-face relationships. But despite the analog appeal, games are also getting high-tech and the word-of-mouth media they receive propels social media-friendly games like Pie Face to the top of toy charts. (Kidscreen)

Parents still have the most influence over kids today, but online celebrities are also top role models. Mintel research found that 86% of 6-17-year-olds say their parents are among their top role models, 62% say teachers, and 41% say siblings. But the top kind of celebrity that gets added to the category are social media celebrities at 35%, followed closely by musicians and athletes. Only 22% said actors were among their top role models and just 16% said the President. (MediaPost)

Disney has a new beverage to fill your Instagram feed: The Purple Wall Slushie. The Millennial & Gen Z-loved company has had no problem coming up with social media-friendly items, from Baby Groot bread to a viral Beauty and the Beast-inspired tumbler, and now they’ve rolled out a boba and taro beverage at Disney World. The Purple Wall is a famous destination to snap a pic for social media in the Magic Kingdom, and this slushy is made specifically to match up with the wall (and monetize on it). (POPSUGARInsider)

Speaking of Instagrammability, the Space Needle’s new, clear benches are sure to make for a thrilling photo op. The iconic viewing deck for the Seattle skyline has been in the midst of a makeover to create a better (and decidedly more social media-worthy) viewing experience. A metal base and caging has been replaced with a high glass wall from floor to sky, and so-called “skyrisers” will let visitors sit right on the edge of it all—and snap a selfie. (Curbed)

“People have been planning outfits since the start of the year [for prom].”—Male, 15, NC

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