2013's Biggest Tech Moments

Lots More Information


10 Things That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago That We Now Can't Live Without

10 Things That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago That We Now Can't Live Without

Time flies in the age of the internet. HowStuffWorks looks at 10 things that weren't around just 10 years ago.

Author's Note: 2013's Biggest Tech Moments

Events in the tech world piled up with alarming speed as I wrote this article. For some technologies, the year felt like an incremental step forward, one of many in the years and decades spent under development; for others, it seemed like a blooming, booming bonanza. I can only hope I managed to catch the highlights as they flew through my butterfly net.

Robotic cars worried me, and proliferating cameras and sensors piqued my paranoia, but in the end the two techs that tantalized me most were 3-D printing and Google Glass. I'm interested to see if the latter takes off. On the one hand, augmented reality offers endless potential to alter our lives and our environments, right down to creating consensual reality. On the other, it might just be too soon for such a gadget to catch on. Maybe it will fail; maybe someone else will come up with a better alternative. Then again, there's always the middle option, the curse of the Bluetooth headset: damnation by association.

Related Articles


  • Abad-Santos, Alexander. "Google Glass Fans Freak Out Because Driving with Google Glass is a Crime." The Atlantic. Oct. 30, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2013/10/google-glassholes-freak-out-because-driving-google-glass-crime/71085/
  • Achenbach, Joel. "Successful Launch for Antares rocket; Cygnus Spacecraft on Way to Space Station." The Washington Post. Sep. 18, 2013. (Sep. 18, 2013) http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/nasa-alert-as-antares-launches-cygnus-spacecraft-to-space-station-today/2013/09/17/56ea5968-1fcb-11e3-8459-657e0c72fec8_story.html
  • AeroVironment. "UAS: RQ-20A Puma AE." (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.avinc.com/uas/small_uas/puma/
  • Benford, Gregory. "The Wonderful Future that Never Was." Hearst. Oct. 2, 2012.
  • Bidgood, Jessica. "Programmers Find New Way to Navigate Health Plans." The New York Times. Nov. 15, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/news/affordable-care-act/2013/11/15/programmers-create-new-way-to-navigate-health-law/
  • Bilton, Nick. "Shine Starts to Wear Off a Little for Google Glass." The New York Times. May 3, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/03/the-shine-starts-wears-off-google-glass/
  • Bilton, Nick. "Trying to Make Google Glass Fashionable." The New York Times. Aug. 16, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/16/google-tries-to-make-google-glass-look-fashionable/
  • Bilton and Miller. "How Pay-Per-Gaze Advertising Could Work With Google Glass." The New York Times. Aug. 20, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/20/google-patents-real-world-pay-per-gaze-advertising/
  • Bounce Imaging. "Bounce Imaging Explorer." http://bounceimaging.com/home/
  • Bumiller, Elisabeth and Thom Shanker. "War Evolves With Drones, Some Tiny as Bugs." The New York Times. June 19, 2011. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/world/20drones.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  • Canary Home Security. Web site. http://canary.is/
  • Carmichael, Joey. "The 10 Coolest Things You Can 3-D Print Right Now." Popular Science. July 24, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-07/10-gems-current-3-d-printing
  • Chang, Kenneth. "Booking a Flight to Space, With Travel Insurance." The New York Times. Jan. 3, 2012. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/science/space/spaceflights-prepare-to-expand-customer-base.html?scp=1&sq=virgin%20galactic&st=cse
  • Cohen, Tom. "House GOP Launches Shutdown Battle by Voting to Defund Obamacare." CNN. Sept. 20, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/20/politics/congress-spending-showdown/
  • Cohen, Tom, Greg Botelho and Holly Yan. "Obama Signs Bill to End Partial Shutdown, Stave Off Debt Ceiling Crisis." CNN. Oct. 17, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/16/politics/shutdown-showdown/index.html?iid=article_sidebar
  • Colwell, K.C. "Electric Feel: Nissan Digitizes Steering, but the Wheel Remains." Car and Driver. January 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.caranddriver.com/features/electric-feel-nissan-digitizes-steering-but-the-wheel-remains-feature
  • Dugan, Andrew. "Republican Party Favorability Sinks to Record Low." Gallup Politics. Oct. 9, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.gallup.com/poll/165317/republican-party-favorability-sinks-record-low.aspx
  • Greenfield, Rebecca. "The Creepiest Google Glass App is a Stalker's Dream." The Atlantic. May 2, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2013/05/winky-google-glass/64815/
  • Horgan, John. "The Drones Come Home." National Geographic. March 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/unmanned-flight/horgan-text
  • Hornyak, Tim. "Low-cost SkySweeper Inspection Robot Scoots Along Power Lines." CNET. Aug. 6, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57597264-1/low-cost-skysweeper-inspection-robot-scoots-along-power-lines/
  • Kickstarter. "The 3D Scan-to-Print Web App." (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/volumental/the-3d-scan-to-print-web-app
  • Kickstarter. "Structure Sensor: Capture the World in 3D." (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/occipital/structure-sensor-capture-the-world-in-3d
  • Kramer, Miriam. "Cygnus Spacecraft's Arrival at Space Station Delayed by Incoming Crew." Space.com. Sep. 23, 2013. (Sep. 25, 2013) http://www.nbcnews.com/science/cygnus-spacecrafts-arrival-space-station-delayed-incoming-crew-4B11233826
  • Leckart, Steven. "How 3-D Printing Body Parts Will Revolutionize Medicine." Popular Science. Aug. 6, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-07/how-3-d-printing-body-parts-will-revolutionize-medicine
  • Lecher, Colin. "So Long, Dear Console. We Knew You Well." Popular Science. December 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.popsci.com/bown/2013/depth/so-long-dear-console-we-knew-you-well
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory. "MiniMAX: A Compact, Portable X-Ray System for Field Inspection." The Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation. July 11, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.lanl.gov/projects/feynman-center/technologies/sensors-electronics-instrumentation/miniMAX-portable-xray-system.php
  • Lovett, Ian. "California Shuts Down Sites Mimicking State Insurance Marketplace." The New York Times. Nov. 14, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/news/affordable-care-act/2013/11/14/california-shuts-down-sites-mimicking-state-insurance-marketplace/
  • MakerBot Industries. "MakerBot Digitizer." (Dec. 9, 2013) http://store.makerbot.com/digitizer.html
  • Microsoft. "Your Feedback Matters – Update on Xbox One." (Dec. 9, 2013) http://news.xbox.com/2013/06/update
  • Motorola. "MOTO X." (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.motorola.com/us/FLEXR1-1/Moto-X/FLEXR1.html
  • MSNBC. "SpaceX Plans to Mark 'Year of the Dragon' with a Big Blast." Jan. 23, 2012. (Jan. 24, 2012) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46107436/ns/technology_and_science-space/#.TyB5qm9SSP0
  • NASA. "Cygnus Rendezvous Postponed to No Earlier Than Saturday." Sep. 23, 2013. (Sep. 25, 2013) http://www.nasa.gov/content/cygnus-rendezvous-delayed-48-hours/#.UkNYkYashcY
  • Netburn, Deborah. "Watch that Robo-WildCat Go: Boston Dynamics' Newest Four-Legged Robot." Los Angeles Times. Oct.04, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/04/science/la-sci-sn-wildcat-robot-0131004
  • Nosowitz, Dan. "Super Simple 3-D-Printed Robot Can Inspect Power Lines for Cheap." Aug. 7, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2013-08/super-simple-v-shaped-3-d-printed-robot-can-inspect-power-lines-cheap
  • Nosowitz, Dan. "3-D Scan and Print Right from Your Browser." Popular Science. Aug. 22, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.popsci.com/gadgets/article/2013-08/finally-easy-way-3-d-scan-and-print
  • Nosowitz, Dan. "A 3-D-Scanning Depth Sensor You Can Clip to an iPad." Popular Science. Sept. 17, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.popsci.com/gadgets/article/2013-09/kinect-depth-sensor-you-can-strap-ipad
  • O'Donnell, Jayne. "Automatic Braking in Cars Helps Cut Down on Crashes." USA Today. July 19, 2011. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-07-18-self-braking-cars_n.htm
  • Orland, Kyle. "PlayStation 4 Hardware Review: Off To a Mixed Start." Ars Technica. Nov. 15 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/11/playstation-4-hardware-review-off-to-a-mixed-start/
  • Orland, Kyle. "Xbox One Review: More Than a Game Console, Less Than a Living Room Revolution." Ars Technica. Nov. 19 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/11/xbox-one-review-more-than-a-game-console-less-than-a-living-room-revolution/
  • PC Magazine. "3D Printing: What You Need to Know." (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow_viewer/0,3253,l=289174&a=289174&po=1,00.asp
  • Pear, Robert, Sharon Lafraniere and Ian Austen. "From the Start, Signs of Trouble at Health Portal." The New York Times. Oct. 12, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/us/politics/from-the-start-signs-of-trouble-at-health-portal.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&
  • Pear, Robert and Ashley Parker. "House Passes Bill Letting People Keep Their Health Plans." The New York Times. Nov. 15, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/us/politics/obama-to-meet-with-insurance-executives.html?_r=0
  • Popular Science. "Best of What's New 2013." (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.popsci.com/bown/2013
  • Prox Dynamics. "PD-100 PRS: Your Personal Reconnaissance System." (Dec. 9, 2013)http://www.proxdynamics.com/products/pd_100_prs/
  • Savage, Charles. "C.I.A. is Said to Pay AT&T for Call Data." New York Times. Nov. 7, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/us/cia-is-said-to-pay-att-for-call-data.html
  • Schlesinger, Robert. "The Corporate Roots of the NSA Spying Controversy." U.S. News and World Report. June 8, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2013/06/08/nsa-prism-phone-records-spying-are-built-on-corporate-surveillance
  • Smale, Alison and David E. Sanger. "Spying Scandal Alters U.S. Ties with Allies and Raises Talk of Policy Shift." The New York Times. Nov. 11, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/world/spying-scandal-alters-us-ties-with-allies-and-raises-talk-of-policy-shift.html?_r=0
  • Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. "Conservative Group Tests New Attack on Health Law." The New York Times. Oct. 31, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/news/affordable-care-act/2013/10/31/conservative-group-tests-new-attack-on-health-law/
  • University of Bristol. "Humanoid Robot that Sees and Maps." Bristol Robotics Lab. July 1, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2013/9536.html
  • University of California, San Diego. "SkySweeper Robot Makes Inspecting Power Lines Simple and Inexpensive." Jacobs School of Engineering. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/news/news_releases/release.sfe?id=1352
  • Vaas, Lisa. "Face Recognition API for Google Glass to Be Released This Week." Naked Security. May 29, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2013/05/29/face-recognition-api-for-google-glass-to-be-released-this-week/
  • Virgin Galactic. "Booking." (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.virgingalactic.com/booking/
  • Walsh, Declan. "Drone Issue Hovers More Than Ever, Even as Strikes Ebb." The New York Times. Oct. 24, 2013. (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/25/world/asia/drone-issue-hovers-more-than-ever-even-as-strikes-ebb.html

More to Explore