Here are a few we’re excited about:
Robots for kids!
Robots have slowly been making their way into our lives, and this year, they’ll be teaching our kids. Robots are the hot new thing in kid-friendly technology. A series of a kid-sized, plastic-encased robot models with LCD screens for faces are on the market. They can interact with and respond to children, sing, dance, tell stories, or teach them math and languages. These bots are also ideal companions for the elderly.
The plastic in these products would not exist without a product called naphtha, derived from oil and natural gas. And many of the materials needed to make LCD displays also come from oil and natural gas, including the polyvinyl alcohol that makes them more visible and the acrylic coating that filters the colors.
Augment your eyes
This year, expect to see a lot of smart glasses that overlay an interactive display on your view of the world. These augmented specs—which can show you turn-by-turn directions, take video, or even help you play games—have been around for a few years, but this year’s crop are lighter, sleeker and have more bells and whistles than ever. Much of the plastic, silicone and adhesives that make the glasses—and make the comfortable on your nose—are made using oil and natural gas derivatives.
Self-driving, electric cars
Many major tech companies have been experimenting with creating cars that can drive themselves—many of them electric. These “cars of the future” usually rely on a combination of built-in cameras and high-tech sensors to ferry passengers safely around town. After years of experimentation, it looks like 2017 will be the year that driverless cars hit the market. Although electric cars don’t use oil in their propulsion systems, most of their features—from the body to the batteries that make them run—are made with products from hydrocarbons that are derived from oil.