The process of hand-washing clothes has been replaced by washing machines. Handwritten letters have been replaced by electronic mails and messaging via the internet.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.
One thing many gamers look forward to in the future is the ability to immerse themselves completely within the games that they play; this is virtual reality gaming. Gamers play games not only because they are entertaining, but also because gamers are able to move into another world away from reality where possibilities are only limited by our imaginations. This different world is the virtual reality, a computer-simulated environment that simulate physical presence in places in the real world or imagined worlds. Basically, the human brain is tricked into believing that the body is somewhere the body veritably is not. To be completely integrated into a game where a imaginative world feels like reality, at present, is practically impossible; however, Palmer Luckey and his company Oculus VR have made significant steps towards achieving such a lofty dream through the Oculus Rift.
Palmer Luckey was an ordinary student who attended the University of Southern California as a journalism major. He was not a genius, but rather a young man with a curious mind and a passion for electronics, technology, and gadgets, especially those seemingly impossible ones mentioned in the science fiction novels that he would read. Luckey would buy and modify head-mounted displays from auctions using money he earned through buying/fixing/selling cell phones and doing odd jobs around the community. With the internet as his tool, Luckey basically became a self-taught engineer, hacker, inventor, and electronics enthusiast.
The road to the Oculus Rift did not begin with him wanting to make something, but rather to buy something that would be good for him to use for gaming. He really wanted virtual reality equipment that would enhance his gaming experience, but virtual reality is a small market and the products available simply did not satisfy Luckey's expectations. As a result, he decided to take matters into his own hand and make something for himself using the head-mounted displays that he have collected. At the same time, he has been sharing his virtual reality project with the declining virtual reality community by through the internet forums. Luckey's desire was to share the products that he made with enthusiasts like him and send them kits with his products to use and toy around with. What Luckey did not expect was the famous software programmer John Carmack to take interest.
John Carmack, who at the time was also pursuing his own virtual reality project, saw the potential in Luckey's designs and wanted to buy one of Luckey's devices; Luckey simply gave the man one for free. Amazingly, in the 2012 E3 event, Carmack announced the Oculus Rift to the world by using a prototype of the Oculus Rift, which Cormack made using the device Luckey gave Cormack, and the game Doom 3. The Kickstarter for Luckey's project initially had fewer than 100 people interested. However, after Carmack's amazing presentation, thousands flooded in with their support, including tech professionals Brendan Iribe and Mike Antonov.
Going on the road, Luckey quit college and spent his time campaigning for his Oculus Rift project by showcasing the Oculus Rift to companies, such as Valve, in hopes of obtaining endorsements. Needless to say, Luckey was able to obtain the endorsement he needed and went on to acquire $2.5 millions in public funds and $16 million in private funds. Now more than 17000 developer version Oculus Rift devices have been made and delivered to various developers as well as pledgers of the Oculus Rift Kickstarter. Now a consumer version of the device is being developed. The device is projected to have features such as improved head tracking, positional tracking, 1080p resolution, and wireless operation.
Now we can only wait for the revolutionary Oculus Rift to become available to the entire and witness one the greatest achievements in gaming yet, all of which were made possible by a young man with a need and a desire to fulfill that need.
In the hearts of men, and especially that of biological science, is the desire to save human life under the dangers of disease and natural decay and to even extend it beyond natural means, a sentiment shared by Dr. Frankenstein in Frankenstein, a novel that portrays the motivation that fuels the passion of different individuals in science. For years, many scientists have studied the human body and have developed numerous innovative technology to achieve such a goal. One of the fields of this development are artificial human organs. This growing problem in our world is that a large amount of unfortunate individuals are in need of new organ transplants due to medical reasons. The list for transplants are veritably long, the requirements are difficult to meet, and the surgeries are risky to perform. This leaves a large amount of people unable to receive treatment and therefore unable to lead a normal, healthy life.
A new source of hope for those with heart issues comes in the form of Cormat, a medical technology company based in France. Cormat have been researching and developing to make accessible to the world the first biocompatible, auto-regulated artificial heart, whose design is extremely similar to that of the human heart with its right and left ventricles. This artificial heart has the capabilities of regulating heart rate and blood flow through the use of the latest electronic sensors. Furthermore, it is coated with a synthetic skin that prevents the bodies of recipients from rejecting it. Already, the artificial hearts have been successfully implanted in patients. Now it is awaiting further development, approval to enter its industrialization phase, and marketing. Soon, the availability of this technology will help solve the problem of donor shortages and be the next large breakthrough in the field of science and medicine.
Androids, humanoids, and robots all pertain to a particular technological field that we must discuss when talking about our future. Creation is an aspect that embodies the human experience. Since the beginning of the age of mankind, we have been constantly building, shaping, and creating to fulfill our needs of survival, entertainment, and expression. Thus, we reach an area of creation in which man strives to create an image of himself, a physical representation that can accomplish feats too difficult for and that can go beyond the limits of mankind. That is what we call our modern idea of androids, humanoids, and robots.
The Atlas humanoid robot is a recent technological landmark in the field of robotics. Atlas has the ability to walk on two feet, lift heavy objects, and accomplish tasks without the need of direct human supervision. It stands at a height of 6 feet 2 inches and weighs 330 lbs. The goal of this sophisticated piece of hardware is to create an entity that could work with human first responders to natural or human-caused disasters such as earthquakes or nuclear meltdowns. It would be able to carry supplies, transport humans to safe zones, clear debris, and enter into situations that are too dangerous for humans.
Atlas will face off against other robots in the DARPA Robotics Challenge where it will be tested for field readiness through a series of disaster scenarios in which it will be required to perform tasks such as navigating rough terrain, climbing ladders, tearing down doors and walls, and driving vehicles. If successful, the project team of Atlas will receive additional funds for further research and development.
The gastric-brooding frog is a unique and interesting specie of frog in Australia. It was one of only two known frog species to incubate the juvenile stages of their offspring the the stomach of the mother. This means that female gastric-brooding frogs gestates eggs fertilized by their male counterparts in their stomachs and regurgitates live baby frogs after a period of time. However, the gastric-brooding frog has been extinct for about 30 years since 1983 due to what many believe was a disease the originated from a fungus spread by humans. With the advance technology of the present though, science has allowed for the dead to be brought to life, a process once only possible in dreams and in the imagination as seen in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
Led by Professor Mike Archer and cloning specialist and frog expert Micheal Mahony, the Lazarus Project is leading the charge to bring the gastric-brooding frog back from extinction. Using DNA collected from 40 year-old frozen frog tissue, the scientists have been able to create embryos of genetically confirmed gastric-brooding frogs. Such de-extinction technology would provide security measures against extinction and biodiversity crisis in the future. Furthermore, the team of the Lazarus Project hope to use this process as a gateway for reviving the extinct Tasmanian tiger and possibly many other creatures of past as well.
Most of us have heard of the wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display known Google Glass that is being developed by Google. The main function of this device is to be able to display information in a hands-free format using natural language voice commands. What can be more incredible than having the things you want to see and know appear in the airspace before your eye? Well, Catalin Voss of the company Sension, is developing an app for the Google Glass that can analyze facial features to discern emotions such as happiness, sadness, and anger.
Voss' development of this app was motivated by the prospect of being able to help the autistic find a way to learn to communicate and to socialize better with other people, motivation that was partially influenced by his autistic cousin. Now it has become a gateway to further development in regards to digital interaction, specifically those between humans and machine. It is believed that such technology will allow machines to understand humans more thoroughly and better than words and gestures. How will this affect new technology and how we deal with them? How will we use this technology among other human beings? If Prince Hamlet, from Hamlet, had this technology, wouldn't it have helped him gather more clues to discern the motives of the people around him? However, his intelligence and attention to detail seem to serve such a purpose already. Maybe the technology would be more befitting of his Uncle Claudius who would need it to figure out what is wrong with Prince Hamlet. Appearances can be deceiving though, which leads to the question of whether or not over reliance on a tool like this would make us more susceptible to deception or less able to think for ourselves.
Have you ever had an instance in your life when you see and hear something intriguing that you would like to look back at and/or reflect upon with better clarity? However, in these instances, you were too slow to bring out your phone or camera or you simply did not have anything to record your experiences. As a result, you were not able to archive the event exactly as it was to share to others and for your own personal collection, a trend that has integrated itself into our culture as a result of the development of technology. An upcoming solution that will aide in our endeavors to capture particular moments in our life is the NeuroCam.
The NeuroCam is a wearable camera system that consists of a headset device that can be attached to an iPhone. The headset technology consist of brainwave sensors that pick up brainwave patterns that fluctuate according to our mental reactions to what we see visually. From these brainwave patterns, the NeuroCam is able to estimate our level of interest on a scale of 0 to 100. If our interest level exceeds 60, the iPhone will automatically begin recording and will put the recorded video in an album to view later. At the moment, the NeuroCam is only a concept model that will be improved upon by it developers. Furthermore,The NeuroCam was also a result of the neurowear project that works with devices that use brainwaves and bio-sensors. The developers of the project hope to be able to create an emotional interface in the future, so that devices and services can be connected to people's individual thoughts and feelings.
Just as it is now, the NeuroCam can already be used for a variety of activities in our lives. The NeuroCam can take how we blog and video blog to the next level. in blogs and video blogs we talk about what interest us and about ideas, events, and problems that affect us and those around us. This technology will allow to take note of things that we think about or take interest of subconsciously. We might see an act of kindness, a video, an image, a person, etc that may yield many thoughts, but that are simply overwhelmed and shoved aside by the constant stream of thoughts about what we need to do at the present time. Thinking more about this, the NeuroCam is simply another way of collection data and information that pertain to us. The data and information that we collect reflects our interests and maybe even our passions. We can use it to learn more about ourselves and to draw inspiration and realizations that can lead to innovation.