Category Archives: future

SMART TECH FOR THE FUTURE

Mark this day as you read this post: you are now officially informed that there are some products certain gifted people who don’t blog are working on, just so that we have a more complicated future in the next decade or two.
For a truly awesome read, try the New Scientist.

Some of the devices that sound as unreal today as Mamata Banerjee’s sanity are as follows:
1. Superman vision: Radar devices the size of briefcases could pass waves through doors and walls and detect the presence of a living man. Think of counter-terrorism.
2. Invisibility Cloaks: we have all read about them in the Wonder Boy’s chronicles. Soon to be a reality, perhaps.
3. Zap-and-stop: A handheld ultrasound device (a high-focus ultrasound) can deliver a zap of sound waves to seal a bleeding vessel. Think US military and DARPA (and the articles I have written on them before).
4. Crouching Tiger Walks: You remember the award-winning Chinese movie where people walk laterally on walls and fly up and down trees as if gravity was only for the rest of us? That could become real in a way, with artificial nano-hairs that can stick to any surface and resist gravitational weights.
5. Jet-log: A backpack on you, and you fly to office. No more pesky office-hour traffic!
6. Translators: personal devices that translate any foreign language while it is being spoken, like they show in that disastrous flick called “From the Subprime to the Ridiculous”, better known as CC2C.
Read that article!

THE i-UNTOUCH?!

You must have got that email forward that says that your keyboard carries more germs than your backside. The message, apparently, is not that you can scratch your backside and eat with the same hand. The message is that you shouldn’t type on your computer keyboard and then eat without washing your hands. The real implication may be clinical: a new technology that allows surgeons to review CT-scan or x-ray images while operating, without touching the computer keyboard, may actually help prevent wound contamination.
According to the New Scientist, this new touch-me-not technology (likened to that in the movie Minority Report) allows a surgeon to wave his hands in mid-air in front of the computer to flip over to the next pic.

…a screen and gesture-recognition system that allows surgeons to flip back and forth through radiology images, such as MRI and CT scans, by simply groping in mid-air. Their system, called Gestix, comprises a colour video camera above a flat, widescreen monitor placed next to the operating table. The video signal from the camera is fed to a PC, where software trained to detect the colour of the surgeon’s gloves tracks the movements of their hand.

This, they believe, could help stop the spread of the deadly MRSA bug in hospitals.
The catch is that surgeons would have to be taught eight hand movements. Now, isn’t that expecting too much of a surgeon, who is, by popular consensus, the Kanishka (headless/brainless king) of medicine?

(pic source: http://www.exoticindiaart.com)

AFIRMATIVE ACTION: A NEW ERA BECKONS!

Science fiction becomes official policy.
According to this article:

Yesterday the Department of Defense announced the creation of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, which will go by the happy acronym AFIRM. According to DOD’s news service, AFIRM will “harness stem cell research and technology … to reconstruct new skin, muscles and tendons, and even ears, noses and fingers.”

“Not another stem cell article”, you decry? Among the new developments in medical labs, we have watched with fascination the creation of artificial livers and other tissues. Now, this research is going to be the focus of the US Department of Defense. This could potentially re-arm the amputees of war. This could restore limb function and mobility to those whose spinal cords have got damaged in accidents and bullet injuries. Think of restored vision, too. The benefits could spill-over into civilian health care as well.

Don’t underestimate this development. This could change life for ordinary human beings in a way politicians, bombers, terrorists and environmentalists cannot. More strength and more money to AFIRM, I say!

EBOLA-RE BOLA-RE

Ebola is a dreaded name. It is a deadly virus that kills virtually all it infects. It is seen mostly in Africa. The danger of Ebola to the world is because of the real threat of it being used as an agent of bioterror, as I have mentioned in my Foolitzer-winning article on Bioterrorism that appeared in The New York Times an Indian newspaper. In the said article, I reported on the possibility of scientists within terror groups hiding a deadly virus within a benign bacterium which, when treated with antibiotics, would release the virus and cause a highly infectious and lethal disease that could decimate society:

Recently, Popov has talked about an experiment in synthetic biology that fuses plague and Ebola virus. The scientific premise of this Soviet research is to hide a deadly virus particle inside the genome of a more innocuous bacterium.
In this case, infection in the test subject would result in plague like symptoms. Once the treatment (usually tetracycline) for the plague is given, the virus is expressed fully. It is feared that the resultant walking ‘Ebola bombs’ could devastate populations. Ebola, if you didn’t know, has an almost cent percent mortality in man.

Scientists have launched a major attack on the disease by successfully testing a vaccine against Ebola in primates. Human trials are awaited. To read about the challenges of producing an Ebola vaccine, read this interesting and short report.

LAPTOPS MY FUTURE GIRLFRIENDS WILL BE GIFTING ME

Not too much chatter tonight, folks. Just eat your envious hearts out.
Someone got to know which all laptops my girlfriends are planning to get for me in the future. Full story here.

Just enjoy the pictures! Click on ’em to get the full impression. Go ahead, do it!
Even better, read the original article. It is very interesting indeed, and I strongly recommend it.

The Canova:
canova1.jpg

The Cario:
cario1.jpg

cario2.jpg

My favorite, however, is this one, the Compenion:

compenion.jpg

I hope all you wonderful gals are reading this!

Pic credit: from linked source.

AN IMITATION OF FLATTERY

Someone is taking this blog rather seriously, and copy-pasting stuff in websites.
There is this article on Biointelligence and Morphological Freedom that seems to be lifted right out of the pages of this blog.
Huh.

UNIVERSAL WATER: FUTURE OR FANTASY?

As social scientists, economists, and environmentalists keep telling us, much of the world’s poor can be defined by their lack of adequate access to safe and potable water.
Says futurist Peter von Stackelberg, “By 2025, about 3.4 billion people will live in regions that are defined by the UN as water-scarce.”

Original article: here.

SOLUTIONS:

If we are indeed going to drown in drought, what solutions are available?

While much of the future of universal water depends on political and social activity, technological advances in three major areas will be critical for the hydrological future: desalination of seawater or brackish groundwater, purification of water containing chemical or biological contaminants, and conservation to cut demand.

*Flash Desalination: Using a source of high energy, sea water is heated till the vapor accumulates in a low-pressure chamber. Indian scientists have invented a low cost version of this which uses less energy.

*Water harvesting:

In Beijing, the National Stadium built for the 2008 Olympic Games is designed with a nano-filtration system and underground pools that can capture and process up to 100 tons of rainwater an hour. Seattle’s King Street Center, a 327,000-square-foot commercial building constructed in 1999, captures rainwater for use in the building’s sewage system and for landscaping needs, saving about 1.5 million gallons of water a year.

*Smart Water Application Technologies (SWAT):

This is one way to curb water usage. For instance, irrigation of residential landscapes typically applies 30-40% more water than needed. But a system that has been tested in California, Washington, and several other western states has linked sensors that monitor rainfall and soil moisture to a “smart” controller. Water consumption has decreased by an average of 26%, with some consumers cutting their usage by as much as 59%.

von Stackelberg stresses that there are three factors which will influence water availability in the future: low-cost power for desalination, nanowater (high-tech filtering), and green engineering, wherein zero wastewater from industrial facilities is achieved.

“A paradigm shift will be required if water shortages are to be avoided,” von Stackelberg says. Among these newer attitudes are the beliefs that human waste is a resource from which water can be harvested, and that storm water is a resource which needs to be captured and stored.

Though water usage is decried by most, I believe that it is impractical and perhaps unnecessary to do so. Surely, science will find a way out to make water widely available. After all, much of the planet is covered by oceans and seas. The problem, as I understand it, rests largely on how we can make sweet water from the sea.
Once again, the world will look to these solutions not from the laboratories of Cuban or Indian Governments, but the research centers of the First World, or private labs anywhere, including developing nations. After all, there is money to be made, Nobels to be won, and names to be immortalised if one can provide a solution to this global problem.
Nothing moves the world as much as love greed.