From Bitcoin bankruptcies and industrial espionage to data breaches and drone chases, 2018 has been an eventful year in technology.

But what can we expect in 2019?

With the tech world increasingly becoming part of the mainstream news agenda, the Telegraph writers have into their crystal balls to make predictions about the technologies that will make an impact over the next 12 months.

Augmented Reality

This year has been a huge for genomics and artificial intelligence, the two great transformative technologies of our age. But in 2019 the way we see the world around us will change literally, not metaphorically.

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With Virtual Reality (VR) becoming synonymous with systems that promise much and deliver little, Augmented Reality (AR) looks set to leapfrog its more immersive cousin and revolutionise the way we consume media.

Last month I had a go with the latest kit produced by one of the leaders in AR, Magic Leap, a Florida-based start up valued at more than $6 billion, despite the fact that its headsets are hardly ubiquitous.

The images projected over the room were beautifully rendered but I could still see around me and easily talk to others.

It promises to make the animated chess sequence from the original Star Wars movie a reality.

In the meantime the technology aims to make TV screens redundant, plunging you into sports arenas, for example, and overlaying stats and info on the action. 2019 will be the year that starts to happen.

Why?

A lot of funding pouring into the sector. Exciting, interactive visuals make for an entirely new way of watching content. Big players have opened up AR kits for developers. The arrival of superfast 5G mobile networks.

Why not?

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The hardware is still heavy and expensive. Battery life is short. 5G rollout will take time and doubtless be glitchy.

Advanced haptic feedback

The latest iPhone models have dropped the physical button on the front of the devices and added a 3D Touch function which means the screen can vibrate in specific places when tapped or pressed upon.

In 2019, the world's largest businesses will look more closely at haptic feedback and how it can improve their devices.

Earlier this year, Google's parent company Alphabet bought British company Redux which used advanced haptic feedback to make completely flat screens feel like physical sliders and buttons.

I tried an early version of the company's technology several years ago, long before Google bought the business. Trying out Redux's technology is startlingly impressive - and miles ahead of what's found in current iPhones.

Microsoft recently patented a design for a smartphone using haptic buttons, and British business Ultrahaptics, which creates similar technology, raised £35m in funding earlier this month.

Expect lots more to come in the world of haptic feedback.

Why?

Large technology businesses including Apple, Google and Microsoft are looking closely at the technology. British companies continue to be pioneers in the field. Creating the illusion of physical buttons is useful for car manufacturers.

Why not?

It's still difficult to create high-definition haptic feedback which can fool your brain. The components are bulky, meaning phone companies have to choose between battery capacity and advanced haptic feedback.

Delivery robots

Robots have long been laughed off as tech duds, unlikely to make an appearance in everyday life. But that could be about to change.

Trundling along the streets of Milton Keynes are a small fleet of delivery robots, shipping Amazon packages, Asos bags and even groceries from Co-op.

With Ubereats, Menulog and other similar services, delivery robots will have no shortage of work. Photo/Getty Images.
With Ubereats, Menulog and other similar services, delivery robots will have no shortage of work. Photo/Getty Images.

The robots are part of an effort by Starship Technologies, a robotics company trying to improve "last mile" delivery with automated machines.

While it is still early days for the technology, Starship's boss Lex Bayer tells me what is striking is how quickly people have grown accustomed to the robots.

They are just part of the hustle and bustle of the pavements. Certainly, the "cute" robots have rave reviews on social media, and apparently children are fascinated by them.

Several start-ups are now trying out robots to improve deliveries, since they can be ordered on-demand and can turn up when convenient. I'm told they will soon be popping up at university campuses around the country, making those 3am pizza deliveries for lazy students even more convenient.

Why?

It's about time we had some more robots in our lives, even if we have to wait for driverless car technology. The bots should cut out the pain of the "sorry we missed you" note through the letterbox.

Why not?

Robots join scooters and dockless bicycles as just another thing to clog up the pavements and make them a pain for pedestrians. While they are capable of crossing roads, these robots still have backup drivers, raising questions over their efficiency.

'Dumb' phones

An engineer who helped build Facebook's news feed for the iPhone (who has since left) surprised me by taking out his "dumb" phone recently.

But I suspect he is not alone in his quest to switch off. There is evidence around Silicon Valley are trying to wean themselves off the technology they created.

The Nokia 3310: the perfect way to disconnect after a long week at the office. Photo/Getty Images.
The Nokia 3310: the perfect way to disconnect after a long week at the office. Photo/Getty Images.

Device bans in classrooms, cafes advertising the fact they don't have WiFi, even Twitter's Jack Dorsey waxed lyrical about his recent digital detox in Myanmar.

With that in mind, I foresee a surge in "dumb phones" being used to communicate.

Nokia relaunched its 3310 and 8810 this year to the joy of those who experienced a battery that could last weeks (not hours) and Snake the first time around. Carphone Warehouse has four pared down models on its shelves.

Both Google and Apple are aware of the trend and this year introduced features in the Android and iOS operating system to try and counteract our obsession, offering time limits and bedtime mode.

Why?

Cheaper, great for children and a good weekend phone for when you want to switch off. Plus there are several reasonably priced alternatives that ensure you are always in reach if needed, but won't leave you distracted by WhatsApp or Facebook.

Why not?

A life without Google Maps, Uber or Instagram might be just too complicated for those who use their phone as a personal secretary and emotional crutch.

Exosuits

As robots workers are looking less likely and too expensive for companies, a technology that allows employers to power up their human staff more efficiently is emerging.

Called exosuits, the mechanical vests can be worn to give any individual increased strength and endurance, allowing them to carry out strenuous tasks in factories and construction sites with ease.

Exosuits could help the many millions living with disabilities. Photo/Getty Images.
Exosuits could help the many millions living with disabilities. Photo/Getty Images.

They also have a medical application, with those with impaired movement being given greater walking ability with mechanical trousers. Additionally, the US military is exploring how they could use exosuits to improve the strength of soldiers.

Whilst exosuits have already been adopted widely in Asia, the technology slowly creeped into North America and Europe in 2018.

Car manufacturer Ford rolled out 90 exosuits, built by US tech company Ekso Bionics, to its factory workers in August. In the UK, Bentley will start trailing the same vests in its car factory in Crewe in 2019.

Why?

It is a cheaper way for companies to help their aging workforces without the need to invest in robots or AI.

Why not?

Employees may reject the equipment and a divide could form between those who use the suits and those who don't.

In-ear assistants

Walk around the tech industry's capital city, San Francisco, and every other person you see is wearing Apple's wireless AirPod earbuds. Where Apple goes, the rest of the world follows, and this year the market has become flooded with AirPod alternatives.

Wireless earbuds - Bluetooth headphones without a cable between them - may not seem like a revolution. But their more discreet and lightweight nature also means people feel comfortable wearing them all day long, even when not listening to music.

The internet will continue to burrow its way into our lives... via our ears. Photo/Getty Images.
The internet will continue to burrow its way into our lives... via our ears. Photo/Getty Images.

And in the same way that always having a smartphone in our hands has changed how use the internet, having a personal speaker in our ear at all times could do the same for audio - and that means more than just listening to Spotify.

Virtual assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri have struggled to make it out of the home because they are awkward to use on a phone in public. But when only you can hear it, that may no longer be the case. Five years after the film Her, this is one science-fiction prediction that may not have been so far off.

Why?

Rapidly falling prices , better batteries and more efficient wireless connections means this is technically feasible.

Why not?

Is likely to be seen as anti-social - although you could say the same of smartphones. Virtual assistants are still a long way from perfect.

Facial recognition technology

In early 2019 Britain's largest police force will decide whether to roll out technology capable of matching people's faces in real-time to a digital database of criminals.

The tech, labelled Orwellian and lambasted by human rights activists, scans members of the public to find suspects and could eventually help to locate missing people.

If it decides to invest, the Met Police would use the software to analyse CCTV footage as well as images gathered by specially equipped camera vans on the street.

Facial recognition tech is set to change the surveillance industry. Photo/Getty Images.
Facial recognition tech is set to change the surveillance industry. Photo/Getty Images.

You might have already used this technology - it powers e-gates at Heathrow airport and slims down the queues waiting in immigration.

Soon, it will also allow shoppers to purchase alcohol and cigarettes at Asda without talking to a cashier.

Why?

Huge demand from police and immigration checkpoints, both of which have stringent budgets and a growing number of people to monitor.

Why not?

Court cases from human rights organisations Liberty and Big Brother Watch might halt the rollout of this technology - plus the error rate from the software is still questionable. Cardiff University researchers said the software is confused when people wear hats or grow facial hair.

Electric scooters

They're often described as a scourge of pedestrians and drivers alike, but it's clear that scooters have an appeal beyond tech bros who never outgrew their childhood.

On a recent scooter "flashmob" to mark the launch of a new brand in San Francisco I met fans including a retired lawyer in his seventies and a woman in her forties trying them out alongside her mother.

All were completely sold on their appeal, and this is in a city with monstrous hills, poor road conditions and few cycle lanes. None seemed like the much-feared scooter hooligans who zoom through red lights and knock over children on pavements.

They are fun to ride and get you places quickly, and they're perfect for London's flat, wide cycle superhighways.

It's just a shame the law stops them being road legal yet, but the fact that one brand - Bird - has managed to circumvent these barriers by launching on private land suggest the scooter companies are far from giving up on the UK.

And they have some big money behind them. Alongside established scooter brands like Lime and Bird, which have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, Ford and Uber want in on the action, with both acquiring scooter brands in the past year. The only question is who will win out when the law is changed and the floodgates open.

Why?

Significant public demand, serious money, and the only thing holding them back in the UK are some frankly outdated laws.

Why not?

They haven't made themselves popular in some US cities, with no-warning mass invasions leading people to dump them lakes and set them on fire. Companies will have to tread carefully to avoid alienating more people.

Human-like chatbots

You've probably come across chatbots at some point over the last year. Whether it's ordering a pizza, booking a trip or getting help when your car has broken down, companies across the UK are now interacting with their customers through automated systems.

But while you're more likely to come across chatbots in your everyday life, it's probably fair to say that, up until this point, a lot of chatbots haven't been up to par – research by Aquila found that almost half of consumers said they were "annoying" and 78pc said they were too impersonal.

This could be about the change. The advances in machine learning and AI research over the past couple of years have been staggering – just a couple of weeks ago DeepMind published its research paper into AlphaZero, a system which uses deep neural networks to teach itself how to master complex games.

This type of research is unlikely to make its way into actual devices in 2019, but what we are likely to see is much more advanced AI in tools already out there. And given 85pc of customer interactions are expected to be through chatbots by 2020, this can only be a good thing.

Why?

Companies are starting to wake up to the fact that they can save huge amounts of time and money by investing in chatbots.

Why not?

A lot of consumers still have a pretty negative view of chatbots, and in past years they have failed to live up to the hype.

Cashier-free shopping

As the high street continues to take a battering, retailers in the United States are trying out a new type of shopping experience.

Shops which utilise using sensors, artificial intelligence and cameras to allow customers to walk in and out with their shopping without using any tills.

Cashier-free or autonomous check out shopping is already a well trialled concept in Silicon Valley, with more than half a dozen startups working on building out the concept - some in standalone shops and others in partnerships with retailers.

Amazon has two cashier-free shops in San Francisco alone, and a further five in Seattle and Chicago. The mega retailer is reportedly planning to open 3,000 shops by 2021.

Customers scan a barcode on the Amazon Go app as they walk in and a combination of cameras and sensors track them as they pick items off the shelves. The app then charges the card on file as soon after they leave.

Baclaycard is developing a similar technology which allows shoppers to charge in-store purchases via their mobile phones and is trialling the service at its Canary Wharf HQ.

Why?

Consumers are shunning the high street and instead opting for the convenience of online shopping. Retailers are hoping to lure them back by eliminating time consuming queues at check out.

Why not?

Autonomous check out technology could face some hurdles when it comes to public perception and privacy concerns. After all, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of hundreds of cameras tracking your every movement as you browse the aisles.

- Telegraph Media