Futuristic travel more down to earth, collaborative says study

futuristic travelThoughts of futuristic travel often bring images of commercial low-earth orbit flights, man on Mars or rediscovering the Moon. A new study highlights real-world programs and technology being developed right now that is much more common, affecting us all.

By 2020, all airports will be paperless and bags will be electronically tagged, according to the From Chaos to Collaboration report released this week by Amadeus, a leading provider of IT solutions to the travel and tourism industry Just eight years from now, the report says, travelers will be using fingerprint boarding passes and eye-scanning passports.

“We wanted to avoid making techno-centric assumptions about the future of travel – and painting a picture of flying cars and intelligent robots in a world that is otherwise unchanged from today,” Andrew Curry, director and co-author The Futures Company told Travelmole.
New technological innovation should take the stress out of travel, leaving passengers with nothing to remember and the ability to track the location of luggage at any time. Using fingerprints to check in is hoped to reduce or eliminate the lengthy queues and delays in manual check-in.

In the not too distant future, travelers will cruise through customs and immigration with just a scan of their retina…or a chip implanted in their arm.

“If you talk to a technologist they will tell you it’s perfectly possible to have a chip in your arm, or use facial recognition technology and walk on to a plane or a vehicle without checking in,” Tim Jones, a technology consultant, said in the report. “But it seems as if the regulators or border- control staff are intent on adding extra layers of security, rather than removing them.”

Coming up too, passengers will be able to use virtual tour guides to visit sites of interest through the same principles as gaming on smart phones and computers.

It’s all about harnessing technology to make travel in the future simpler and more efficient, “shifting focus from satisfying the needs and wants of individual travelers to providing the environment for networks and flows of travelers as a group to move and flourish” says the report.

“We hope that this study will challenge, provoke and stimulate thinking around how we will all be traveling in the future” added Curry.

Flickr photo by timo_w2s


Huff/Post 50 - Technology

10 best photography apps for travelers

photo app Sometimes, your basic camera just doesn’t cut it. With all of the advancing technology we now have, the possibilities for travel photography are endless. Before your next trip, make sure to download these ten photography apps that will help you capture, edit, and share the perfect picture.

Pro HDR

Pro HDR is perfect for people who want to take high dynamic range shots without investing in an expensive DSLR camera. It’s also extremely helpful when the scene you’re trying to snap contains a lot of contrast. What’s really useful about the app is that it has a manual mode for you to choose where you want to adjust brightness and darkness in your shot, as well as an automatic mode. Final images are shown almost instantly, and you can save, edit further by adjusting the brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth, or tint, or discard your finished product. There is also an option to e-mail your photo to others.

Pro HDR is available for Android, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $1.99. A free version is also available that takes smaller shots. Instagram

This free photo sharing application is extremely popular among travel photographers and those who just enjoy taking pictures. Instagram allows you take a photo with your device, choose a filter to manipulate the look and feel, and then instantly send to Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr. There are tons of mood-altering filters, like 1977, Earlybird, Kelvin, Rise, and Nashville, to name a few.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Free.

tiltshiftTiltShift

TiltShift is a photography app that mimics a tilt-shift lens, transforming photos into miniature worlds. Basically, your photos will appear like small-scale models by manipulating different effects and contrasts, like creating a focus and blurring the surrounding area (as shown right). You can also adjust brightness, color saturation, and contrast and even choose a shaped aperture, such as a dollar sign, heart, or hexagon.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $1.99.

iSynth

iSynth brings Photosynth to the iPhone and allows users to not only take great photos but also allows viewers to immerse themselves in the photos as if they were actually there. The app transforms photographs into 3-dimensional worlds that people can virtually explore. There are also different “modes” you can use, such as the Orbit Mode, which allows users to circle around the synth as well as move in all different directions on the screen in order to get the desired shot.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Free.

CameraBag

CameraBag is a filter app that uses many different camera and video simulations. The app gives you the chance to choose from a range of different camera styles all in one application, some of which include:

  • Helga- “Square-format toy camera with washed out highlights and old-school vignetting”
  • Cinema- “Dramatic, moody coloring with a widescreen aspect ratio”
  • 1962- “Dynamic, high-contrast black and white from the photojournalism of a bygone era”

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $1.99.

Luminance Luminance

Luminance allows for powerful and professional photo-editing for those on the move. With this app, you can easily add special effects to your pictures as well as edit numerous photos at one time. Filters include white balance, exposure, brightness/contrast, hue/saturation, tone curve, split toning, vignette, colors, and sepia. The app also makes it easy to crop and rotate photos, as well as share them via social media, Camera Roll, e-mail, copy, or print.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $0.99.

360 Panorama

360 Panorama is a must-have for anyone looking to take panoramic photos. While many cameras and apps with a panorama feature have users stitch multiple photos together, 360 Panorama allows you to simply pan the camera around the scene that you want included in the picture. Sharing your photos is simple, as well, and no app is necessary for viewing.

Available on Android, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $0.99.

ShakeIt

ShakeIt combines modern day technology with old-school photo developing methods as users can watch as their instant pictures are developed slowly. To speed up the process, simply shake the photo. It’ll take you back to the days of dark rooms and photo labs.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $0.99.

camera+Camera+

Camera+ is one of the best apps there is for taking high quality photos as the shots appear to come from a SLR lens. With an array of features and editting capabilites, you can literally take the perfect photo. Another useful feature is the ability to set the focus and exposure separately by tapping the screen, allowing you to have the photo come out exactly how you want it. A photo flashlight to brighten photos, a stabalizer to fix blurry pictures, a grid to line up shots, a zoom feature, scene modes, and special effects make the possibilities limitless for your photos.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. On sale now for $0.99.

Camera Zoom 3

Camera Zoom 3 is perfect for those times when you see the perfect picture you’d love to take but are just too far to get a good shot. This app allows you to zoom in and out up to eight times by simply moving a slider. For clarity and focus, just tap the screen. There is also a useful anti-shake feature as well as an auto-adjust that sets the photo to its best quality.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. $0.99. If you’ve got an Android, a similar app you can use is the Camera ZOOM FX, which is on sale right now for $2.99.

Gadling Gift Guide: Tech for Travel

Tech Gift Guide: Samsung 9 laptopTravel has certainly changed in the last decade and most of us would probably agree that those changes haven’t always been for the best. Fortunately, technology has been one of the bright spots over the past few years however, and we now have a plethora of options for entertainment, staying connected, and getting work done while on the go. Here are a few great gift ideas for the techie traveler on your list this holiday season.

Laptops
More and more of us are traveling with computers these days, even if we don’t always need them to do work. A laptop keeps us connected while on the go, allows to play games, watch movies, upload photos, and so much more. With that in mind, here are three great options for travel.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1
This powerful and rugged laptop is perfect for adventure travelers heading to remote destinations. Built on a carbon fiber frame and packing a water resistant keyboard, the X1 is designed to take a beating and still keep working. It also happens to be one of the thinnest ThinkPad’s ever built and weighs in at just 3.7 pounds, which is amazingly light for a ruggedized laptop. The battery lasts a solid 5.5 hours and can be recharged to 80% of its power in just 30 minutes. ($1467)

Samsung Series 9
If you’re looking for something a bit more stylish than the ThinkPad X1, without compromising durability, then look no further than the Series 9 from Samsung. It’s Duralumin case is built from the same materials as modern aircraft, which makes it strong, yet light and flexible. This ultra-thin notebook is just .6 inches thick and weighs in at a mere 2.9 pounds, which makes it a lightweight and powerful travel companion for those extended trips abroad. The 7 hour battery life will be appreciated on long flights as well. ($1550)

Asus Zenbook UX21
One of the first of a new line of laptops dubbed “ultrabooks,” the Zenbook UX21 from Asus is a great option for individuals who like to travel light. This diminutive notebook weighs just 2.4 pounds and is razor thin, allowing it to slip inside your carry-on with ease. The Zenbook offers 5 hours of battery life, features a 128GB solid state drive, and premium sound for listening to music and movies while on the go. It also packs a pleasant price tag, with Amazon offering it up for just $966.

Logitech Ultimate Ears 600vi headset
MP3 players have made possible to take our entire collection of music with us when we travel, but you’ll need a great pair of headphones to get the best sound possible. We were suitably impressed with the Ultimate Ears 600vi ear buds when we reviewed them a few weeks back, awarding them high marks for both comfort and sound quality. The integrated microphone, volume, and track controls work great as well, and the included hard carrying is more than appreciated when throwing them in your pack before you go. ($95)

Travelers looking for a more traditional set of headphones that are both super-comfortable and noise isolating, will want to investigate the Bose QuietComfort 15. While pricier than the Ultimate Ears, they also set the standard for sound quality on a mobile device. ($300)

Want to share your music with friends? Then check-out the iHome iHM79 portable speakers. They feature rechargeable batteries and great sound, in a tiny package. ($42)Amazon Kindle E-Reader
Sure, the Amazon Fire is the new hotness (pun intended!), but it is tough to beat the original Kindle, especially at it’s new $79 price point. The device’s e-ink display is perfect for reading in nearly all conditions and the device has outstanding battery life that is measured in days, not hours. The Kindle has done for books what MP3 players did for music – allow us to bring our entire library with us when we go, and it is still a great gift for the tech obsessed traveler on your list. ($79)

Tech Gift Guide: Nikon 1 J1 CameraNikon 1 V1 Camera
Digital cameras have revolutionized the way we capture photos and video from our travels, and Nikon has one of the best new options for travelers this year. The Nikon 1 is the company’s first foray into the micro 4/3 category, which offers up a compact and lightweight body, as well as a line of interchangeable lenses. Smaller than a DSLR, but more powerful than a point and shoot, the Nikon 1 takes amazing photos and video, without taking up too much room in your bag. ($599)

For those looking for simpler and more affordable option, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP1 is tough to beat. It is a compact point and shoot camera with great image quality, fast focus, and outstanding battery life. ($120)

iPhone 4S
While the iPhone 4S is rightfully getting lots of attention for its new digital assistant, Siri, and it’s outstanding camera, that isn’t why we’re putting it on our holiday list. The newest version of Apple’s iconic device is also a World Phone, which means you can now use it in over 200 countries. That alone makes it easy to recommend for travelers looking to stay connected while visiting foreign lands and previous iPhone users will rejoice that they will no longer need a separate phone when traveling abroad. ($200)

Outlets To Go Powerstrip
Keeping our gadgets powered and charged while traveling can be a real challenge, especially in hotel rooms, which seem to always lack convenient places to plug-in. A simple travel powerstrip, like the Outlets To Go from Monster, can help solve that problem. The tiny device packs three AC outlets and an integrated USB port, which is fantastic for keeping your phone, iPod, or other small electronics charged. ($12)

International travelers may want to pair the powerstrip with the Kensington All-in-One Plug Adapter as well. I take one with me whenever I leave the country, and have found it useful on many occasions. ($15)

Roku 2 HD
While not specifically a gift for travelers, who doesn’t enjoy returning home from a long vacation and curling up on their own couch? The Roku 2 HD streams all kinds of Internet content to any TV, including Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, YouTube, and so much more. It is also a great way to share photos from your latest adventure with friends and family, on your big-screen, high defnition television. Best of all, it costs just $70, which isn’t much for a tiny wireless device that offers so much entertainment. ($70)

New travel alert tool helps passengers get the seats they want, even on sold out flights

seat alert Expertflyer, a company that gives travelers information so that they can get the best possible airline tickets, is offering a free feature to travelers who want to change their seat or who are trying to get onto a sold out flight. To take advantage of the tool, called “Seat Alerts”, travelers create a free account on the ExpertFlyer website where they can setup an alert to be notified when the seat they want becomes available. This can be helpful for passengers who find themselves stuck with a ticket for the dreaded “middle seat” or who are having trouble getting onto a sold out flight.

Usually, airlines require flyers to have a ticket and will only change a passenger’s seat to another “unoccupied” seat. Travelers also usually have to wait until boarding time to find out if the seat they want becomes available. With “Seat Alerts”, travelers no longer have to wait and can switch their seat online once they receive a notification via text or e-mail.

The free feature allows travelers to maintain one active Seat Alert at a time. Additional alerts can be purchased for $0.99, and ExpertFlyer paid subscribers will be able to post several alerts at one time.

For more information, click here.

Is the iPad a threat to hotel Wi-Fi?

ipad While many hotels are now offering free Wi-Fi for guests, there now seems to be a glitch in the system, and that glitch is the iPad. Along with other tablet computers, these devices are most often used for video streaming.

David W. Garrison, the chief executive of iBAHN, a provider of information systems for the hospitality industry, explains why this is a problem. “The bits used for video streaming and downloading increased thirtyfold on our network in one year.”

Because of this, Garrison points out that hotels now must decide “either to not increase the amount of bandwidth so everyone will get much slower service to the point where you’ll think you’re on a dial up connection” or upgrade to a system that will force hotel guests to have to pay extra for the Wi-Fi.

It is a difficult decision for hotels to have to make, mainly because many business travelers choose hotels that offer the free Wi-Fi service. However, the abundant amount of video streaming on the iPad is really putting a strain on hotel networks.