There have been many inventions throughout human civilization that have pushed the boundaries of innovation, abandoning nature’s ways, bringing immediate change and laying the groundwork for important developments down the road.
The printing press. Electric light. The telegraph. Antibiotics. The steam engine. The microwave oven. The calculator. The radio. The ATM. The refrigerator. The digital camera. The television.
These are just some of the many creations that have catalyzed many human successes
But recent inventions have also “pushed the envelope.”
Will these new technologies and inventions actually come to fruition or remain as pure science fiction? And if they do, where will they take us?
Let’s look at some recent innovations.
TRANSCRANIAL PULSED ULTRASOUND COULD BE USED FOR MIND CONTROL?
Scientists at the Arizona State University led by William J. Tyler, are exploring the potential of transcranial pulsed ultrasound to regulate the human brain without the use of invasive procedures or internal implants required for electrical stimulation.
Transcranial pulsed ultrasound functions such that high frequency sound waves are sent to specific regions of the brain, whereby neurons deliver impulses to their destined targets, wielding control over them.
This knowledge,could have potentially valuable implications in the military. The Arizonian scientists funded by a grant from the U.S Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), are attempting to create a military helmetequipped with this technology.
A soldier could trigger ultrasound pulses to stimulate desired areas and circuits of the brain to enable certain actions. They may wish to be more alert for extended periods of time even after long hours on the battlefield, or may want to relax in order to sleep, or may wish to relieve stress or become oblivious to pain or protect him/herself against traumatic brain injury – all essential for the life of a soldier on duty. And all of this can theoretically be done with merely a controller.
This technology has also been explored in medicine, with potential use as a treatment for brain conditions such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,by targeting localized portions of damaged brain tissue.
For a complete understanding of how transcranial pulsed ultrasound stimulates intact brain circuits, read the case study here.
WASTE PAPER PROCESSOR, A SOLUTION FOR RECYCLING?
Reducing paper waste in the workplace has always been a challenge. Despite the growing shift in going digital, cautions to print responsibly and reduce paper consumption, and office recycling programs, the average office worker still uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year
To save all the paper that is often discarded and giving it a second chance of life, Chinese industrial designers ChengzhuRuan, Yuanyuan Liu, Xinwei Yuan, and Chao Chen are developing the P&P Office Waste Processor, a device that converts waste paper into pencils.
Waste paper will be fed into a slot where the processor draws the paper in, rolls and compresses it. The procedure is then finalized by ,inserting a piece of pencil lead from a storage chamber and glue is added.
Currently in the theoretical design stage, the machine will also have warning lights to indicate to users when new lead cores are needed or when glue supply is low.
In addition, the designers claim that there is a 1:1 ration between waste paper sheets and pencils, which begs the question of how sturdy these pencils will actually be,seeing as they are made of a mere single sheet of paper.
“BATMAN” BODY ARMOR
Patented in 2007, the Armstar Bodyguard 9XI-HD01 resembles Batman’s arm and serves just as Bruce Wayne’s body suit would, as a shield and self-defence device, in addition as a non-lethal weapon and a communications tool. The idea for this flexible arm came to fruitionby a Californian man named Dave Brown after a series of mountain lion attacks occurred around his home.
Made of cotton, Kevlar, a synthetic fiber, and Normax,(a flame resistant fiber), the arm comprises a 300,000-volt stun gun for firing at any unwelcome intruders, powered bya rechargeable lithium battery.,The Armstar Bodyguard enabes you not only to look like Batman (well, Batman’s arm specifically) but to protect like Batman as well. All you would have to do is pull a pin, and any attacker who grabs your arm will be shocked with electricity.
In addition to powering the armor with an “electronic deterrent”, the battery is also capable of charging an iPhone and other electronic devices.
Moreover, the body armor is equipped with a LED flashlight, and a 720p HD video camera for transmitting pictures.
The implications of the Armstar Bodyguard 9XI-HD01’ are more than just protection from mountain lion attacks. This contraption could become a crucial and viable tool for law enforcement officers and bodyguards in the future. And once the price is disclosed to the public, it may also be available to the civilian market.
SEEING THROUGH WALLS WITH THE HELP OF WI-FI
Whoever thought that Wi-Fi’s popularity would grow as much as it has in just over a decade? Since its inception in 1999, Wi-Fi has matured and grown, changing the face of computing and communication on a global scale.
A Wi-Fi network utilizes electromagnetic waves to transmit data while a wireless router operates as an access point that other wireless devices can connect to. Data is then converted to radio waves so it can be sent from one device to another through the air, thereby coining the term “wireless”, where it is converted back into data in the receiving device.
This Wi-Fi technology may soon be used to build cellphones that give you x-ray vision. MIT Professor Dina Katabi and graduate student FadelAdib recently developed WiVi, a combination of “Wi-Fi” and “vision”, technology that uses Wi-Fi to allow you to see, they claim, a person moving behind a wall.
Previous trials have shown that reflectionsof wireless inter signals that bounce off a human could be used to follow that person’s movements, but have required a wireless router in the vicinity of the targeted individual or as Dina Katabi points out “a whole truck just to carry the radio”.
Since WiViis made partly of the same wireless antennas found in cellphones and laptops, its creators believe that it can be implemented into cellphones. However, interfering signals must be cancelled out because not only does Wi-Fi bounce off humans, but it also bounces off walls, floors and furniture. And according to livescience.com, those signals bouncing off the walls, floors and furniture are “10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than the reflections off a human body”.
To solve this problem and make the new technology useful in cellphones, WiVi sends out two wireless signals; one is the inverse of the other. These two signals cancel each other out unless they hit a moving target such as a human.
“All the undesired reflections cancel” Katabi explained.
Theoretically, WiVi could be potentially be portable, and may one day be used for personal security.You could do a quick scan if you are afraid you are being followed. WiVi could also be used as baby monitor or again, assist law enforcement.
FRAUD DETECTION SYSTEM ON YOUR DEVICE THAT DETERMINES WHO YOU ARE BY THE WAY YOU CLICK AROUND WEBSITES
Recently, IBM announced a patented technique, specifically, an app, that closely observes your every move on a device to therefore recognize you by the way you click, swipe, and navigate on websites. Once a pattern is established and verified by the app, it will follow your movements. When it notices that you (or a hacker) aren’t browsing or navigating as you usually do, (basically when the user strays from the established pattern) the app can then ask you to answer security questions.
So what is measured to actually determine your browsing behaviour? IBM claims that its invention pays attention to your clicking of certain areas over others, how you use the up and down arrow keys on the keyboard, how much you rely on the mouse, and how often you tap or swipe the screen of a tablet or smartphone. Any sudden changes in these mannerisms will be detected and you will be alerted accordingly.
This security app could be indispensable for banking and shopping online, online and cloud-based businesses, and mobile application developers, improving their ability to eliminate fraud by more efficiently and effectively detecting and dealing with security threats. With the market increasingly moving online, a new wave of cyber criminals are able to probe for vulnerabilities, stealing passwords and other login information on a daily basis. And despite the already-present measures to prevent fraudulent behaviour online, fraud is nonetheless a concern in today’s digital world.
PRINTING HUMAN TISSUE?
Established in the 1980s, three-dimensional (3D) printing is the process of using additives, such as plastics, to form solid objects from a digital model.
Three-dimensional printing emerged in a number of markets since becoming mainstream. This technology has been applied to the likes of architecture, construction, industrial design, aerospace, military, and engineering. And now, recently joining the list, is 3D printing in biotechnology.
Organovo’s NovoGen MMX Bioprinter, the first commercial 3D bioprinter, can “print” functional human tissue that can help biochemists test new drugs and provide surgeons with tissue, helping solvelow rates of organ donation and turning “science fiction into science”.
The printer is a two-piece robotically controlled machine. One piece is for placing human cells, the other for placing a hydrogel, scaffold and support matrix. Initially, the printer will produce only simple tissues such as blood vessels and nerve conduits, but theoretically, could possibly create any tissue or organ in the near future.
Overall, it is easy to see that humans are still pushing the boundaries of innovation. Whether it be simple solutions to paper wastage, such as the P&P Office Waster Processor, more complex solutions, such as 3D printing human organs, or more fun inventions that will allow you to see through walls or be Batman, it is clear that the future is coming, and it will be very interesting.