Ever since the industrial revolution brought machines into factories, people have been using technology to aid and advance their lives. From mass manufacturing developments that made helpful appliances like dishwashers and washing machines affordable for everyone, to this century’s online revolution, you would be hard put to identify many areas of modern life that aren’t touched by technology in some way or another. And while we take the vast majority of it for granted now, there are still new developments aimed at making life easier through technology, which are appearing each week.
One of the areas where technology is having the greatest benefit is that of hobbies and leisure. The world is getting busier and work is becoming more stressful for many. As a result, it is becoming harder to find time for very vital activities that provide relaxation and enjoyment; and this is where technology has come to the rescue.
A favourite hobby of many but finding the time to sit down with a book can be difficult. Between work and family demands, by the time you get some peace and quiet, there’s every chance you’re too tired to focus on the page. Luckily, technological developments have come up with the answers to many common issues. Audiobooks have been around for decades, but now there are online streaming services where you can download a book almost instantly and begin listening straight away. Now you can enjoy listening to a book while cooking, folding laundry, or relaxing in the bath.
If you prefer to stick to reading the stories yourself, then there are also many digital platforms, like Amazon’s Kindle and Apple Books, which allow you to download digital copies of books to read on your portable device. Great for bookworms on holiday who can’t fit all their reading material in a suitcase.
Getting to the gym can be a stumbling block for many – classes at the wrong hours, travel distance, not wanting to go alone. But now thanks to the internet, there are many classes which are available at home, with minimal or no specialist equipment. You can buy subscription plans like you would a gym membership and access the classes at a time to suit you. But there is also lots of free content available to allow people to try before they buy or give access to a less-tailored work out. Popular programs like The Body Coach, The 30 Day Shred and Les Mills are all available on the internet and are a great way to get into fitness and build a healthy habit that will benefit you for a lifetime.
Bingo halls have been a favourite British hobby destination for decades. They are fantastic places to socialise, the games are fun, and if you’re lucky, you might even walk away with a pocket full of winnings. Because of its popularity, it was a natural choice for a game of Bingo to develop into an online version. Now anyone can choose from a selection of online bingo games featuring different jackpots, card patterns and entry costs. Websites have even found a way to replicate the social nature of the game by including live chat options so that players can talk to each other while their numbers are being called. With games starting every minute, there’s never a need to wait. Players can download apps onto their phone and play at any time of day, whenever they have a few minutes to spare.
Arts and Crafts
Many people enjoy being creative as a hobby. While technology has had very little effect on the methods of painting, knitting, cake decorating etc, it has made it easier to share ideas and patterns. And the development of sites like Pinterest and Instagram have given more people an arena to display their work. Now people can share their creations online, browse other people’s and even set up online shops where they can share them. Hobby crafting has seen a surge in popularity recently, with homemade themes for weddings and home décor becoming increasingly popular. There are also tons of video tutorials online showing people how to do everything from upscale old furniture to make sugar roses. Technology has made it easier to share idea and designs, as well as helping people improve their craft. It’s never been easier to try something new.
Once seen as a very male-dominated hobby, the video game market has expanded hugely in the last few decades. Ranging from console and PC games to popular smartphone apps like Candy Crush and Township, video games are now one of the most widespread and accessible forms of entertainment amongst millennials and younger generations. The technology itself has developed too, growing from two-dimensional 8-bit sidescrollers, to massive open worlds where almost anything is possible. Players can now explore at their hearts content, with games allowing for more creativity and individuality than before, which has helped to widen the appeal of video games; because players are no longer restricted by a narrow field of play options.
In some ways, this is just the beginning. The steps taken to enhance hobbies online can be split into two different methods – use technology to share information and use technology to create a digital version. At the moment, most hobbies are only benefitting from the first – like online exercise videos, knitting patterns etc. But in the future, might there be a way for technology to digitise everything? Instead of watching a video of a yoga class, could virtual reality technology allow people to transport themselves into a virtual classroom where the teacher can see and interact with them? Or allow a group of artists to collaborate on a piece of work together, even though they are thousands of miles apart? At the rate things are developing, it might not be too long before things like this become a reality.
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