The process of hand-washing clothes has been replaced by washing machines. Handwritten letters have been replaced by electronic mails and messaging via the internet. Paperback books are now competing with digital copies sold for tablets and computers. This a continuing pattern in the modern era in which humans are continuously developing newer and better technology to improve human life, which ends up inevitably replacing older processes and technology. The same is now being done to how we pay for our services and goods through the revolutionary new development of Uniqul. Why bring your wallet with all your cash and credit cards when you only need your face?
Uniqul is the world's first face recognition payment system aimed to make the shopping experience more enjoyable and faster. It uses sophisticated programming that processes your facial structure and biometrical data to access your account in the company database. From there, it will be able to extract to necessary information and money to pay for whatever services and goods that you want to purchase as you approach the cashier. To finalize the purchase, all you need to do is to press the "OK" button on the Uniqul tablet. Overall, the transaction would be completed in less than 5 seconds. To keep the system secure and safe, Uniqul also uses complex, military grade algorithms. At the moment, Uniqul is preparing to be implemented in the City of Helsinki in Finland. Hopefully, it will soon be able to be used throughout the world.
This innovative technology is really pushing us into the future that we could have only imagined of in the past. However, while this technology does make life simpler, such as when you are in a rush and direly need to make a purchase as fast as possible, does it make life better? Privacy has been a rising issue with the rise of technology. The government or any person with the ability to control and manipulate technology, are able to access our private information and monitor our actions. With Uniqul, a visual recognition system is able to track our faces to access and record data about our lives. At its infantile stages of real world application, it does not seem much of a threat so far, but that may change in the future. Development and improvements may potentially make Uniqul a tool to compromise our privacy. Then again, this is only a possibility. Even though technology can help us achieve great things, we must be constantly conscious of the fact that technology is a double-edged blade that can be wielded against us.
Communication is an important aspect of human and animal life. Without communication we cannot complete our tasks, resolve our problems, share our ideas, and develop and improve our society. There are many forms of communication which include auditory, visual, tactile, and verbal information. To convey this information, we use our bodies and technological devices such as computers and phones. However, is there actually any other mode of communication that is available to us humans? Researchers at the University of Washington may have begun creating the foundations of an entirely new way to relay information in a recent experiment.
The two participants in the experiment - one was the "sender" and the other was the "receiver" - was tasked in completing a video game where they had to fire a cannon to destroy rockets that were going to destroy a city. Only the "sender" can see what is going on in the game, while the "receiver" could not; however, the "sender" does not have the key to click to fire the cannon, while the "receiver" does. In order to fire the cannon, the "sender" must engage in motor imagery of the right hand, which means that he must imagine moving his right hand. When the "sender" does so, the researchers use electroencephalography (EEG) to record the brain signals produced. The EEG recording is then sent over the internet to a computer that interprets the signals and sent to the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) machine. The TSM machine then uses the interpreted data of the motor imagery to stimulate the brain of the "receiver", which would cause the "receiver" to involuntarily move his right hand and thus clicking the fire button to fire the cannon.
What this experiment shows is that information from the brain can be extracted noninvasively from one brain using EEG and then transmitted using TSM to solve a task through direct brain-to-brain communication. The true importance of this experiment, though, is that it is possible to transfer information from one brain to another. Even though the experiment only demonstrated one person being able to move the hand of another person slightly to play a relatively easy video game, it is the realization of the potential of this field of technology that opened the gates to future development. Will we speak with others by simply thinking of what we want to say? Can we give other people information by injecting it into their mind? Can we control other human beings? These questions makes us think about how this technology will affect our future. Again we come back to the idea that technology can prove to be both advantageous and dangerous. Whereas we would be able to communicate on a higher level, would our minds, the most private area of our being, be safe? For further information about the experiment, please visit the following link: http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~rao/brain2brain/experiment.html.
The vision seemed to enter the house with me -- the stretcher, the phantom-bearers, the wild crowd of obedient worshippers, the gloom of the forests, the glitter of the reach between the murky bends, the beat of the drum, regular and muffled like the beating of a heart -- the heart of a conquering darkness. It was a moment of triumph for the wilderness, an invading and vengeful rush which, it seemed to me, I would have to keep back alone for the salvation of another soul. And the memory of what I had heard him say afar there, with the horned shapes stirring at my back, in the glow of fires, within the patient woods, those broken phrases came back to me, were heard again in their ominous and terrifying simplicity. ~ Heart of Darkness
The books that we read have the amazing ability to induce within us empathy and a multitude of emotions and images through their use of words, the fuel that ignites the fires of our imagination. The plot, mood, tone, and atmosphere of a book all synthesize to influence the readers to feel and think a certain way whether it be hopeful or fearful , jubilation or grief.Reading the passage above, we are able to feel the character's fear and despair as dark memories pervade his mind. We are able to understand his anxious state, his quickening heartbeats, and even imagine the images that he sees. However, no matter how well immersed we are within the text, there is a limit to how much we can feel. Sitting at a desk or laying in our beds, we will never be able to completely place ourselves within the shoes of the character. With Sensory Fiction, though, we can break those boundaries and approach an entirely new level of reading.
The book titled The Girl Who Was Plugged In is the first successful product of project led by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The purpose of this project is to design a book that can be worn by readers and that would allow readers to feel what the characters in the book feel. The book contains 150 LED lights, as well as an array of sensors and actuators and a body compression system located within the vest that readers would wear. As the readers progress through the story, the book emits ambient light and produces vibrations that simulate a character's or the story's mood.
For example, during passages where fear is what a character feels, the vest constricts around the wearer's stomach and back. For excitement, the book and vest vibrates, which increases the body's heart rate. During solemn moments, soft, dark light is emitted. The vest can even heat up to simulate a character's embarrassment. Such features would surely allow us a better, more interesting experience as we read.
Sensory Fiction has great potential and certainly more room for development. What we can look forward to in the future is the possibility that this technology can be implemented to both newer and older books. How would would it be like to read when this technology is applied to Shakespeare's plays or novels such as Frankenstein or The Heart of Darkness?
One of the biggest fears that people have when going to receive a flu shot or any other vaccination is the large, sharp needle that seems to be waiting to impale your arm. Injections by needles hurt. This is a fact. Thanks to technology, however, needles are now no longer necessary. This is also another fact. In the future, you may also no longer need go on the annual visit to doctor's office or health clinic either to make sure that you are safe from influenza.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed the flu patch as an alternative to vaccines by needle injection. The flu patch contains the vaccine in a small pouch of the patch. The vaccine is then transferred into the body via fifty microneedles that would barely pierce the skin. As a result, you will only feel a prick on your skin, but the small, fleeting pain is negligible in comparison to that of a needle. All you would need to do is to place the patch above the designated area of the arm, apply pressure to the patch to the skin, and then remove it. The effectiveness of the flu patch is tested to be the same as that of injection by needle.
This easy method of vaccination will drastically improve how healthcare is provided throughout the world. The easy process of administration allows for self-administration among those who desire the vaccination. This means the vaccination can ordered straight to your home to be used without the assistance of a healthcare professional. With the flu patch, more people will be able to receive vaccination because more people are actually willing to receive the vaccination and because of the patch's ease of use. The costs of vaccination programs will decrease as well because the patch's cost of storage and administration is cheaper than that of the syringe and the vaccine its bottle.
Innovative development in biomedical technology brings an optimistic light to our future. There is not doubt that this technology can be expanded being medical vaccinations. Furthermore, not only will medicine be cheaper and easier to be administered, but it will also be more available to the people. We can imagine that medicine can be more easily distributed to and obtained by those in underdeveloped countries, such as those in Africa, where the prevention and curing of illnesses is not as successful due to the lack of resources, technology, and healthcare professionals.