Change is inevitable; change is constant. And in the modern world, technology is perhaps the greatest agent of change. There’s no doubt that technological advancements are making our lives easier and luxurious. Things that we could only imagine today may come to reality in the future. Here’s a list of top 5 intriguing technologies (in no particular order) that will blow your minds:
- Project Soli
Google is one company that never ceases to amaze its followers! Leading into this year’s google I/O, what caught everyone’s attention was when they spoke about a new project – Project Soli. Google’s ATAP – skunkwork division has created something that will literally blow your minds! Project Soli – is small radar – small enough to be able to fit into any wearable. This radar detects objects in motion through high frequency radio waves and picks up on any movement in real-time. Unlike touching any tangible object as in “touch displays” or “buttons” you are meant to use your hand gestures.
This will definitely make user interfaces more intuitive and easy to use. Instead of going hands-free, it will give you the liberty to use your hands as a UI – by far cooler than any wearable out there!
US20140139327 describes the technology in detail.
This one’s one of the most intriguing technologies I stumbled upon lately. Two MIT Ph.D students Daniel Leithinger and Sean Follmer introduced a Dynamic Shape Display technology that renders 3D content, physically enabling users to interact with the media in an interactive way.
The device has several pins which trough the help of a computer move up and down to form different shapes. These shapes can be a 3D model that are loaded from a computer or it can be a shape of a remote person himself. The latter is undisputedly the most complex feat that can be accomplished through inFORM – rendering a person or object remotely.
Besides the obvious applications in urban planning and CAD modelling, such a technology could also be used with musical interfaces or perhaps to help blind children understand arts and other things.
Here’s a detailed read regarding the technology – US20120303839 A1
- Ultra High-Speed Camera
Doc Edgerton inspired a lot of people with awe and curiosity with a photo of a bullet piercing through an apple. Had he been alive, he must’ve been proud to witness that almost 50 years later there’s a technology that can record at trillion FPS; a trillion FPS – which actually enables us to see light in motion. This camera could record photons moving through space. Andreas Velten explains that they use a very regular pulsed light source and a camera (of course, which isn’t a regular camera) with 500 sensors each triggered at a trillionth of a second delay.
In this video, Ramesh Raskar explains how this technology could be useful in the fields of Medical Imaging, Industrial or Scientific areas or even consumer photography.
Patent US9081262 throws light on the technology in depth.
- Paraxial ray Optics Cloaking
In the real world invisibility comes down to a trick of light. We see objects because light reflects off them and hits our eyes. Cloaking an object involves bending the light that hits our eyes around the object so we can see what’s behind that object but not the object itself.
The problem with cloaking devices that have existed thus far is that the object being hidden and the person looking at the hidden object need to be stationary. You move at all ad you will see the object and the cloaking device, hence, destroying the illusion. But researchers at the University of Rochester have found a way around that. It’s the first device that can cloak multi-directionally in three dimensions and they have done it only using four standard lenses. The key is in the set up. They have figured out what power of lenses and how far away to space these lenses to cloak a moving object. Put the lenses in a row. Light from a background is focused down to a point through one lense which then diverges out bending around an object in a plane they called as a Cloaking Field. As long as you are looking through the first lense anything moving within about 15 degrees of the centre of the cloaking field will remain hidden.
It’s a system that can be scaled up using larger lenses to cloak larger objects. The only drawback is this setup isn’t quite ready for night time sneaking around but scientists anticipate more scientific uses for their setup – like a surgeon being able to operate on a tiny area without having his view obstructed by his hands. A detailed write-up about the technology could be downloaded from here.
- Skully Smart Helmets
If you ever rode a motorcycle, you probably would’ve wished that you had eyes in the back of your head. The Skully AR1 aims to grant that wish. This helmet has a built-in heads-up display. It’s the first time in the human history that one is able to look at a heads-up display virtual image and see through it as well as 180 degrees behind the rider into the sides – all in one quick glance of the eyes. Inside the shell, wearers get intelligent audio — helmet-to-helmet communication, hands-free calling, and music streaming — and GPS navigation via Bluetooth to a cell phone, in addition to a wide-angle rear view camera that shows up on a transparent heads-up display built into the visor (fog, scratch, and glare resistant, of course). The HUD is the star of Skully’s show. Skully Helmet’s founder and CEO Marcus Weller said he came up with the idea for a helmet with a transparent HUD after he was involved in a motorcycle accident, which he believes he could have avoided if he was looking at the road instead of the road sign.
The irony is these helmets are not available for sale at this time. The idea is a great one, and there are a lot of people who might be interested in seeing it come to market. You might want to read through the patent application US20130305437 A1 to understand the concept behind this augmented-reality helmet in detail.