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The Three Business Trends You'll See Everywhere in 2019

Many tech advances will become a part of daily life sooner than you think

Forget self-driving cars and robot workers. There's lots more happening in tech that's wildly unexpected--if not straight from science fiction--that will become a part of daily life sooner than you think. 

The Augmented Workplace
Though touted for decades, augmented reality didn't hit the mainstream until 2016, with the success of the mobile game Pokémon Go. But its biggest impact is likely to be on the workday. AR systems that use special glasses to project a digital overlay onto the wearer's field of vision are filtering into professions that involve complicated, multi-step manual tasks. At Porsche repair centers, auto mechanics wear goggles that can receive visual guidance from remote experts; surgeons at several hospitals are testing glasses that visualize data from ultrasound scanners, allowing them to peer through skin at under­lying tissue--all but giving them X-ray vision.

Google's attempt at AR, Glass, flopped upon its debut in 2012, thanks in large part to its dorky look and the creep factor of its built-in camera. But an enterprise version thrives, and customers include GE Aviation, where engineers use it to assemble jet engines. It won't be long before deskbound office workers will use holographic screens to type emails and create virtual 3-D models in the air: The San Mateo, California-based startup Meta is developing just that--although it recently pushed back its timetable after President Trump's trade policies caused a major Chinese investor to back out. --Jeff Bercovici

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