Every now and then I browse through the Internet to see what the technology and science world is up to. I’m intrigued with the new gadgets and ideas are out there that I used to think was merely science fiction.

There’s a lot of smart technology out there. For instance, have you heard about a basketball that tracks how many times you miss or make a basket, how fast you dribble the ball down the court, the backspin and arc on the ball when you shoot? Well the smart 94Fifty basketball does these and a whole lot more with the use of iOS or Android apps.

The $200 basketball might be perfect for players to monitor and track how they’re performing on the court, but I’ll just stick to my old basketball and count how many 3-pointers I make on my own.

Nowadays there’s also 3D printers that allow people to create anything their heart desires - from edible food to models. There’s also 3D pens where people can draw images that literally jump off the page and can stand on their own.

TIME magazine released its top 25 inventions of 2015. One invention that made list is the safety truck. I cringe when I have to get behind a semi truck because I can’t see what’s in front of it in order to pass. Well the transparent truck will make the guessing game a thing of the past.

Samsung and ad agency Leo Burnett developed a system that relays video footage from the front of the semi-truck to display on the back end of it that will give drivers a clear view of what’s ahead. According to TIME magazine’s Web site, the safety truck will aid in preventing traffic accidents that occur worldwide due to visibility being blocked by large vehicles.

Some of you may have heard about the Fitbit - a wrist-watch-like device that tracks a person’s vital signs, sleeping habits and health. But have you heard of the Next-Gen Baby Monitor from Sproutling?

The Fitbit-like device can track an infant’s heart rate, body temperature, position and more, and notify parents through a mobile app if there’s a problem. Sproutling said once the monitor learns the infant’s habits, it will also be able to predict when he or she will wake up from a nap. Perhaps this will be on every first-parents’ wish list.

Drones have become a worldwide phenomenon and were perhaps on the Christmas wish list for many. Drones are also becoming a very popular way to deliver items, like food, to many areas of the world.
Due to its popularity, drone ports or airports are being constructed in Rwanda, Africa, to house the drones that are delivering food, medical supplies, electronics, spare parts and other items through the hilly countryside, where traveling by road is difficult. Rwanda’s drone port completion is projected to be done in 2020.

After a high school junior with cerebral palsy sent Nike a letter in 2012 telling them that his dream is to go to college without worrying about someone tying his shoes for him every day, the shoe company came out with Nike Flyease 8. The LeBron James-branded shoe offers consumers an easier way to tie their sneakers with one hand.

The concept was inspired by opening and closing a door and wearers yank on a strap that zips around the ankle as they pull. The new shoe is supposed to give wearers more independence and to have a sense of accomplishment.

If you’re like me and you’re a really bad cook, you could ask for a pan that will teach you how to cook. The Pantelligent will tell you how hot the pan should be, when to stir, when the food is done and more. By selecting a recipe from its smartphone app, the pan uses a special heat sensor and Bluetooth technology to display instructions, like when to flip your hamburger, on your phone’s screen.

Protecting and cleaning the planet’s oceans have been a worldwide hot topics for years. However, Boyan Slat may have come up with an ingenious solution for both by creating the Ocean Cleanup Project.

Plastic trash flowing into the middle of the Pacific Ocean is increasing and the old way of chasing it around with nets is expensive and time-consuming. So the Ocean Cleanup Project wants to have a 62-mile-long floating boom that would use the ocean’s natural currents to trap the garbage. If the first trials succeed then the project could begin in 2020 and it’s estimated that in a decade 42 percent of the trash will be reduced.

For many years, offering decent housing conditions for the homeless has been an issue. However, Michael Maltzan has thought of housing that welcomes the homeless with his mini-village-like, prefabricated studio apartments. The Star Apartments’ terraced stories are staggered to have a medical clinic, garden, outdoor running track and classroom space. These apartments are geared toward those struggling with homelessness and substance-abuse issues who are hand-picked by county department of health services entities in an effort to re-establish stability in their lives.

The medical world also benefits from technological advances and the Desktop DNA Lab could prove to be a medical wonder.

What used to take a full day, DNA can now be amplified in three hours by using the new product. This will not only free up scientists’ time, but it will also speed the process up dramatically in finding matching bone marrow donors for patients and finding cures for genetic diseases. Fluidigm developed the Desktop DNA Lab.

Have you ever wanted to visit the beach, but didn’t have the time or money to go? If you put on a virtual-reality headset, like the Oculus Rift, you could be sitting on the beach or swimming with the dolphins in no time.

There’s also augmented reality headsets that will overlay holograms into your normal surroundings, like your very own kitchen.

Early this year, Microsoft will make a developer edition of its HoloLens available. NASA is already using the HoloLens to mimic Mars’ terrain in laboratories and medical students are using it to dissect virtual bodies.  

Soon, video gamers may be able to protect their homes from “robot invaders,” engineers will be able to manipulate 3D models, people will be able to watch a movie on a blank white wall in their homes and access an app that will appear to be resting right in front of them on their kitchen counter.

Let’s not forget the emergence of the “Hoverboard” Scooter.

In the 1980s movie, “Back to the Future II,” Marty McFly travels to the future where a main way to get around is using a hoverboard. The “Hoverboard” Scooter, which is part Segway, skateboard and self-balancing scooter, was 2015’s most viral product. The “Hoverboard” Scooter doesn’t actually hoover though. Instead it uses a pair of electric gyroscopes that balance automatically once someone gets on it. People can speed forward, backward and glide around by slightly shifting their weight.

The “Hoverboard” Scooter ranges in price from $350 to $1,700 and is being named a newest form of transportation.

This year technology is achieving fantastic feats and is still making the impossible possible.

Home robots are said to be making their way into residential homes this year, people will be able to knock on their refrigerator doors to turn the inside light on in order to see what’s inside without opening the door, modular smartphones are being created so consumers can replace nonfunctioning phone parts and extend the phone’s life, new batteries are being developed to charge fully in 26 seconds, wireless charging for laptops may be making an appearance, Sketchers has created the world’s first remote-control game shoe, a pet’s exercise and nutrition will be able to be monitored with the Canhe-Fit and there’s even foldable smartphones being created folks!

It’s amazing how mankind has developed not only throughout history, but in my lifetime.

When I was in college, I was still using darkrooms to develop my negatives and photographs. I had worked at a newspaper still developing their own black-and-white negatives during my freshman year. I learned how to use a totally manual 35-mm camera, which I recommend to do if you really want to learn how a camera works.

By the end of my senior year, 2002, digital cameras were becoming the new tools of photography. When the digital technology first hit the scene, I was skeptical because it truly couldn’t beat the quality of a 35-mm negative at first. Yet today, it’s technology is top-notch and the most preferred method because it saves people money from purchasing and developing rolls of film.

Since I’m a journalist, digital photography is a tremendous help in a deadline-driven profession that now involves breaking news instantly online for everyone to see. Instead of spending at least an hour developing and scanning negatives, I can upload hundreds of photographs that I’ve just taken in a matter of minutes and get them ready to print and publish instantly.

I’m glad that I was old enough to have experienced darkrooms, manual 35-mm cameras and film because there’s no digital technology out there that can give me the same satisfaction of developing my own negatives and creating my own photographs. To this day, I still have enlargers and darkroom equipment of my own. Yet I’m also happy that I was young enough to be able to make the transition into the digital world as well.

There are still technology advances being made in photography and video cameras, such as a video camera being developed that uses solar energy to charge it. In my lifetime, there could be a contact lens that acts as a camera that takes a photograph every time we blink. Actually, this may be developing right now.

We could very well see using cameras as a thing of the past, but I will still stick to using my camera to capture life’s treasured moments while I can because it may someday become a thing of the past.