Advertising
Advertising

5 Ways Technology Will Bring Us Closer to the Outdoors

5 Ways Technology Will Bring Us Closer to the Outdoors

An old Greek myth claims that Prometheus, a Greek Titan with an affinity for the human race, stole fire from the ancient gods on top of Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind, enabling early men and women to accomplish feats previously impossible for them. The use of fire provided humans with a prehistoric means of harnessing large quantities of energy, methods that still stick with us today. Cars, cooking, and manufacturing all still owe much to spurred combustion, making fire one of the first and longest-lasting forms of technology in existence.

For all its humble roots in nature, we tend not to think of most modern technology as “natural”. Here are five ways that technology is bringing us closer to nature, and one way it might drive us away from it forever.

1. Drinking Poop Water with Portable Water Purification Devices

we go to extremes to demonstrate confidence in the donations we distribute (life straws demonstrated here)
    Image via Wikipedia

    It took the mastery of fire to truly tame water, and for a long time in human history, boiling water was the only way to sterilize it and make it potable. For a liquid as imperative to survival as H2O, and considering that a majority of the human body consists of water, it’s surprising that technology has taken so long to create a portable purifier. Utilizing a charcoal and iodine filter with an advanced membrane, products like the LifeStraw have been created as the the aquatic equivalent of flint and steel: a piece of technology that provides instant access to water.

    Portable water filters now allow the avid outdoorsman/woman to go further and longer than they ever have before, freeing them from the weight of water as cargo or the unnecessary expense of energy boiling water. Imagine possessing a straw that would allow you to drink out of virtually any water source, wherever you go (including “poop water”). Brooks and streams all become nature’s cross-country water fountains with technology such as this, and murky wells can effectively support and sustain life in simple, rural villages. That’s powerful.

    Other, more advanced pieces of equipment utilize UV rays to eradicate harmful microbes and bacteria from drinking water (though it’s worth noting that they are nowhere near as heavy duty at sanitization as the LifeStraw yet). Much like most traditional purification devices will need a change of filter, a UV purifier will eventually run out of battery — as will most any other piece of tech you take into the wilderness.

    Advertising

    2. Charging Anywhere with Portable Power Sources and a Global Power Grid

    “If it weren’t for electricity, we’d all be watching television by candlelight.” – George Gobal

    The problem that most futurists face when they think about technology and the great outdoors is the same question most iPhone users face after a day’s worth of heavy use: the damn devices lose their charge so quickly! Silly jabs aside, the eternal struggle for more battery life may be witnessing its final days. For those that want to pay homage to Prometheus, the VOTO charger is basically a power strip with a tail that converts carbon and hydrogen into energy once engulfed in flame, and the BioLite CampStove is a miniature twig-consuming furnace that internalizes the process (though it’s not very powerful). For those that fancy themselves more of an Icarus than a Prometheus, portable solar power chargers are cheap and effective — but what if you never had to charge any of your devices again?

    Wireless power for mobile phones is set to revolutionize the industry. By the end of 2016, it’s predicted that most major Android phone manufacturers will follow Samsung’s lead and include wireless charging as a standard in all new phones. While current wireless charging utilizes a mat that you rest your device on, companies such as Ossia are already building prototype “charging hubs” that will power your devices from up to 30 feet away.

    If distanced wireless charging ends up working well, there’s no reason that an advanced network of charging hubs couldn’t manufactured and juiced up to create a global wireless power grid. Your cellphone would never need a charge again. But what good is a cell phone in a wilderness with no internet access or service?

    3. Project Loon Keeps Us Crazy Connected

    ~0001
      Image via YouTube

      Connectivity is the future. Urban centers sprawl across the globe, connected by highways and power lines like steel and concrete nerve cells. Clearly, those connections are growing at a rapid pace, even if they aren’t visible. Think about the fact that you are able to pick up a hunk of metal and plastic and use it to talk with somebody on the the other side of the earth in real time. Of course, there are still places in the world where internet can’t be accessed, or where internet isn’t affordable to for the natives — but Google aims to change that.

      Advertising

      Project Loon is an R&D project that uses high-altitude balloons to deliver internet access to otherwise unreachable areas. The potential applications here are endless, and as the reliance of standard technological devices on the internet grows, so too will the internet. Eventually, wilderness rescue might use it to hone in on missing persons’ cellphone signals, meaning that missed steps and bad falls in the woods won’t be as fatal.

      Innovations with results such as those will leave us hard-pressed to fathom a time when we weren’t connected to the internet — though not everybody thinks this is such a good thing.

      4. Cameras, Drones, and Wearables, Oh My!

      While the most traditional outdoorsmen and -women may decry the use of modern technology in the back country, more people have been drawn to the wilderness because of tech recently — cameras, to be exact. A recent study has shown that a trend in hunting, fishing, and back country activities like skiing and snowboarding has been declining, while photography, especially in groups, has risen. A new form of photography, however, has been attracting an increasing number of practitioners. As materials and models become more inexpensive, drone art, like the kind seen in this YouTube video, is growing in popularity.

      Still, why fly a drone when your drone could fly itself? That’s the question Team Nixie asked when they entered Intel’s “Make It Wearable” contest. Think of the Nixie like a GoPro mixed with a drone, mixed with a wristwatch. Currently, it’s designed to detach, fly out, take a picture, and then return to the wearer. Watch the video below:

      Advertising

      Wearable tech and automation will continue to grow and mesh — some say to the point that we’ll all be integrating tech into ourselves. Not to worry. That won’t become a trend for a long time.

      5. Augmented Reality Will Change Your World

      On the horizon, however, is augmented reality (AR). This new technology aims to overlay images and pictures on top of the real world, sort of like a real life heads-up-display. If you’ve ever seen Iron Man, where Tony Stark plays with and seems to pick up and play with holograms — that’s augmented reality. While we’re still a ways away from manipulating and tossing around holograms like footballs, the HUD-style systems are just around the corner. In fact, DARPA, the military’s R&D department, are currently funding research into contact lenses that provide augmented reality solutions. Think Google Glass, but without the wearable device.

      Whether it’s through contact lenses or glasses, augmented reality has the potential to positively alter many different activities. Hiking, rock climbing, and paintball/airsoft all have begun experimenting with augmented overlays, usually through phones, or the in-visor HUD and GPS of advanced paintball masks. Some think that AR may even help get more kids outdoors and learning about nature with programs such as this one at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA) National Wildlife Refuge. But what if instead of getting more people outdoors, technology causes people to alienate themselves from nature?

      -1. Virtual Reality… and the Death of the Outdoors?

      ~01
        Image via Wikipedia

        Perhaps the most mind blowing technology set to hit shelves this year is Virtual Reality (VR). Development kits and headsets have already been sent out to the public, and even Volvo has developed an app that is supposed to work with an Android phone and Google Cardboard to provide an immersive VR experience. The entire VR market, which doesn’t actually technically exist yet, is predicted to be worth over $30 billion by 2020. That’s a lot of cash.

        The question still remains, however: will technology and VR keep us placated and happy to the point where we never enter the outdoors again? Maybe even never leave our living rooms again? Linden Labs, the firm responsible for the virtual worlds in Second Life might like to think so. Project Sansar is Linden Labs’ attempt to create an immersive secondary reality accessible through VR headsets by the end of 2016. If their original property is any indicator, Project Sansar may become the new addiction of the future with certain users seemingly putting more care into their second life than their first. Much like fire, Prometheus’s gift to mankind, technology will burn us if we don’t control it properly.

        Advertising

        On the other hand, until they can simulate the smell of the earth rising up or the feel of droplets on your face during a warm rain, plenty will still operate in a real life over a virtual one. Nevertheless, technology is, and always has been, a slippery slope.

        What are your experiences with technology and the outdoors?

        Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

        More by this author

        Andrew Heikkila

        Owner-Operator of Earthlings Entertainmnet

        5 Crazy Future Tech Trends to Start Preparing for Now Understanding Luck: What It Is and How to Control It 12 Strange Remedies for Whatever Ails You 7 Ways the Internet of Things Will Change Driving Forever 7 Ways We’re Slowly Becoming Our Phones

        Trending in Technology

        1 10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance 2 How to Type Faster: 12 Typing Tips and Techniques 3 9 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020 4 7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity 5 10 Best Keyboards Under $90 on Amazon

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on July 8, 2020

        10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

        10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

        Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

        Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

        As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

        In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

        Projects and Tasks Management

        1. Monday dot com

          Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

          The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

          The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

          The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

          Check out the software here!

          2. Asana

          Advertising

            The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

            The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

            Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

            Check out the software here!

            3. Trello

              Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

              Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

              Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

              Check out the software here!

              4. Jira

                The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

                Advertising

                The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                Check out the software here!

                5. Evernote Business

                  Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                  The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                  Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                  Check out the software here!

                  Communication

                  6. Slack

                    Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                    Check out the software here!

                    Advertising

                    7. Spike

                      Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                      Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                      Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                      Check out the software here!

                      Creation

                      8. Office 365

                        Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                        Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                        You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                        Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                        Check out the software here!

                        Advertising

                        9. Grammarly

                          Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                          Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                          Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                          Check out the software here!

                          Team Analytics

                          10. ActivTrak

                            ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                            The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                            Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                            Check out the software here!

                            The Bottom Line

                            Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                            More Productivity Tools

                            Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

                            Read Next