By Kevin DeStefano at Emmanuel College
Your favorite smart-phone can do everything that your laptop, cellphone and digital camera can do. Big whoop. We get it. Yes, your iPhone or shiny new tablet is nothing short of science fiction.
Finally, scientists have created devices that meet all of the expectations of your eleven year old self (aside from light-sabers). You thought that now all there was to look forward to was living on other planets and fighting robots that transformed into cars. You were wrong.
Here’s a list of crazy inventions that most people haven’t even heard of yet.
No, not the M. Night Shyamalan movie. SixthSense is the name given to the next step in wearable interactive technology. Invented by Pranav Mistry, a student at MIT who wanted to make the technology open source and affordable to mass produce. Essentially, it’s a camera attached to a projector, attached to a computer that you can wear anywhere.
Say you need to know if your next flight is delayed due to weather. Instead of taking out your smart-phone and bringing up an app, the camera on SixthSense reads your flight ticket and projects delay and delay times on the same ticket that you are currently reading. By using hand gestures, similar to Microsoft’s Kinect, the user has the ability to access all of the knowledge of the web without ever touching a keyboard.
4. Synthetic Meat
Where’s the beef? “In-vitro” meat is exactly as disturbing as it sounds. Not processed in a plant or factory, but “born” in a lab. Synthetic meat is chemically identical to tissue from a dead animal because it came from the same animal. The only difference is how the meal is prepared.
Synthetic meat is grown from culturing cells from animal tissue, so it’s completely organic – but it sure ain’t natural. Currently, it costs millions to produce small amounts of synthetic meat. In the near future, however, synthetic meat will be cheaper to produce than livestock.
Why is this such a cool invention? Because, in theory, it only takes one living cow to produce one million times its weight in meat.
Ethics aside, this same process could be used to create human tissue, possibly human organs for spare parts. Maybe immortality isn’t as far away as we think.
3. 3D Printing
Now the concept sounds simple, instead of printing a two dimensional sheet, printers can now create three dimensional models by using one machine. Why is this so incredible? Because instead of ink, these printers create objects; usually multiple materials at once. Steel, plastic, carbon fiber, copper, wood. You name it, they can print it.
The concept even goes as far as producing organic materials such as cells and tissues using the same technique of three dimensional layerings using computer generated mapping and accuracy.
Imagine one machine, loaded up with giant cartridges of raw materials, building multiple houses complete with plumping and electrical wiring. The invention is so intuitive that as it improves, 3D printing could advance to creating complex machinery such as cars and planes and other objects with moving parts.
2. Wireless Electricity
Yes, that is correct. We said wireless electricity.
While technically not a new concept as it was first envisioned by historical genius Nikola Tesla, wireless electricity has finally been patented. Wireless power, or wireless energy transfer, is carried out by principles of induction and magnetism.
Magnets are placed on surfaces such as walls, floors, ceilings and directly connected to the power grid. Corresponding magnets are placed on electronic devices such as phones, televisions, or laptops and relay back and forth to create an electrical current supplying all of the devices.
Imagine owning an electric car and being able to park it in a location with a charging mat. Or, walking into a room and suddenly your mobile device starts charging. Wireless is the new revolution, and it is only a matter of time until wireless electricity is everywhere.
Imagine waking up and walking to your front porch stoop to retrieve your morning newspaper when instead you lift a touch screen. The same weight, size and flexibility as a newspaper only with a fully interactive display that you can take to work or read on the morning commute to work.
Behold, the holy grail of modern technology and modern science. A carbon based material that is currently both the thinnest and strongest material known to man, graphene is also a great conductor of electricity as well as flexible. Samsung as well as many other developers have released prototypes of paper thin, flexible touch screens that implement graphene.
As far as abundance, graphene is as common as the graphite from pencils and is set to replace silicon as a semiconductor in computer chips. Graphene is sure to replace all display monitors, televisions, tablets and smart phones. Because it is such a new material, researchers haven’t even scratched the surface as to all of its applications. For that reason alone, it is number one on our list.