I know . . . my blog has been on hiatus for months. I guess I was too busy working and found nothing news-worthy that would pry my eyes off work. The shooting of pre-school kids in Newton was too depressing . . . Miley Cyrus in her “look-at-me” get-ups can’t even get me to click the link to view it . . . and Michael Douglas claiming oral sex caused his throat cancer is just outright ridiculous. These are such ho-um news I think I almost forgot I had a blog. I almost blogged about Game of Throne’s “The Rains of Castamere” episode last Sunday — but I was in such a shock that I couldn’t even think of a worthy title. Now, I’ve decided I’m not reading the books until that awesome series is over.
So, what do I write about? Let’s talk about the newest gadgets the 21st century has come up with in the past year or so. Some are truly brilliant, while others are just simply uninspired ideas. Yet, they manage to give us an idea what to look forward to in the next decade.
1. Google Glass. I don’t think I can say enough about Google Glass. But if it delivers on its promise, the legacy of Steve Jobs will be a distant memory. Google’s wearable technology will change the world forever. Nothing will ever be the same again. Who needs an iPad or a smartphone when you can surf the net, call your Mom, and check Google Maps without the use of your hands? Google released the first kits this year to developers for a whopping $1500 (a retracted bid reached $93k on ebay though) and estimates launch by 2014. While I still can’t imagine seeing the screen in my line of sight from such a small monitor, I think the biggest challenge will be for drivers and commuters. We’ve been told how dangerous it is to text while driving or crossing the street. How safe would it be to walk around with a digital display in front of you the whole time? But even with the safety factor, would I buy a Google Glass if I could afford it? Hell, yeah!
2. 3D Printing. While most people are busy waiting for the next iPhone or the newest app, I still believe the most innovative device to come out in the 21st century are 3D printers. 3D printing can be used in any industry — manufacturing, healthcare, and food. The technology produces solid 3D objects from a computer or blueprint model, accurate to a fraction of a millimeter. At the moment, common materials that can be used are resins, paper, thermoplastics, metal, and chocolate. It is so accurate that it is now being used as bone replacements. The 3D printer is only limited to the type of raw material it can use. In the future, it is expected to replicate human organs for transplant or pizza and burger for astronauts. If we do eat printed pizza, how do you think our body will print it out a few hours later?? Just curious . . . .
3. Multi-Touch and Gesture Technology. The multi-touch interface of smartphones, computer displays, and television are now so common that it hardly deserves any ooohhhs and aaaahhhs. But the multi-touch technology is now evolving into touch-sensitive and gesture-based technology. Though swiping your hand will not make a holographic screen materialize out of thin air (yet), it is cool to see that we may be able to turn on the TV by just sitting on the sofa.
Just as there are brilliant ideas, there are duds along the way. These are patents from renowned innovators that never got beyond the drawing board — and rightfully so.
1. Apple’s Air Jet Keyboard. This patent by Apple is for a keyboard that will be operated without touching the keys. It supposedly shoot out air from vents under individual keys with the use of proximity sensors without the user actually touching it. Much like air guitars, I doubt this will ever make any music. I think I’d have more difficulty trying not to touch the keys than actually touching them. Steve Jobs would roll on his grave if even a prototype of this keyboard ever came out.
2. Amazon’s Airbag for Smartphones. I must admit it would be cool to find a technology that would protect my smartphone from slips and falls. Amazon’s patent for airbags on mobile devices supposedly will solve this problem for us clumsy users. Specs indicate it will have a sensor that determines when your device is moving at a certain velocity and detects collision on a hard surface. It will deploy an airbag that will protect the device from the fall. They must have realized the problem somewhere along the way — stuffing a compressed airbag inside a 7mm mobile phone or tablet plus the hydrolics that would allow it to spurt jets of air on one side to ensure it lands on the airbag side. Oh brother . . .
3. Nokia’s Vibrating Tattoo. Getting inked has never been as cool as ever lately. So, Nokia thought they might cash in on such trend and patent a tattoo that vibrates when your smartphone rings or receives a message. The only good thing that might come out of such technology would be the fact that we would be more careful losing our phones. Imagine receiving tons of messages or people incessantly calling you when you can’t take the calls. Really Nokia?! No wonder they had to crawl their way up to get their groove back in the market.
All these ideas do remind us how far we homo sapiens have come from the stone ages. We have come a long way — of course we move in both directions. While some of our ideas are quite absurd — it still shows how creative and funny we can make life out to be.