The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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January 1, 2014

After a blah 2013, new year brings clearer images on future of technology

(Continued)

Analysts say that the market is already a billion-dollar industry and is on pace to hit $6 billion to $8 billion by 2018.

But tech developers' ability to collect a range of personal data about users — your heartbeat, eating habits and location — has some privacy advocates concerned. The Federal Trade Commission has scheduled a February workshop to examine how companies and consumers can deal with the influx of data being held by these companies.

Different forms:

Consumers can also expect some of their high-end devices to change form in 2014 with the wider introduction of curved screens for smartphones and televisions.

Tech companies have been studying how to curve screens for years and now appear ready to introduce it more widely to the public, said Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, which tests and calibrates screens.

Samsung and LG have both already announced that their largest TVs will have a bit of a bend in them, and some firms are considering curved or flexible screens for smartphones that would fit more naturally against a users face. Screens can also be curved so that they perform better in direct light, said Soneira.

But manufacturing these new screens is a costly process, Soneira said. While consumers will see more of them in 2014, they'll probably stay confined to high-end or specialty products, he said. "They'll make a major technical statement in 2014, but not a major consumer statement," he said.

Flying above:

Flying drones and advanced robots will generate a lot of buzz in 2014, but probably won't be in every home by the end of the year.

Google and Amazon.com invested heavily in the development of unmanned aircraft and robots this year, raising expectations for 2014.

Google's purchase of Boston Dynamics, best known for making robots for the Defense Department, raised expectations the tech giant would develop robots for a mainstream audience. Their robots can carry heavy loads even on bumpy terrain.

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