5 Futuristic Technologies That Already Exist
There is a reason science fiction, as a film genre, has always been popular. The imaginative props dreamt up by directors fascinated millions of people, each wondering what the future may be like in hundreds of years time – would we be able to time travel, brandish light sabres or be cryogenically frozen? Well, while they’re still years away, some other once-fantastical ideas are actually available to us now, and many more are in advanced development stages.
We’re not talking about those memory-aiding ‘games’ for portable consoles, but games which you control with your brain. With the help of an Epoc headset, as released by Emotiv for Windows PCs, a gamer’s brain activity is monitored by 14 electrodes. The headset will track whether you’re thinking about moving left or right, for example, or picking something up. Games available that use this amazing telekinesis-like technology are limited at the moment, but hopefully not for long. While we wait for them to develop, there are a growing number of games which can be controlled with the merest flick of an eye. A great example of this is the technology being developed by Special Effect, who specifically work on technology like this to assist people suffering from such illnesses as motor neurone disease, cerebral palsy, and locked-in syndrome.
Fingerprint Access Technology
Keys have been the traditional method of access for centuries, and when keycards emerged a couple of decades ago, people were amazed. Much more significant than that is fingerprint access technology – and yes, it’s already here! The new technology completely eradicates the need to carry round jangly sets of keys, which are far too easy to misplace, and makes sure the person accessing a room has permission. A pad will quickly scan a person’s unique fingerprint and if it matches that of one logged in the database, access is granted. With this method, tracking who accessed what is also made a lot easier.
When we first read Harry Potter, not one person didn’t want a cloaking device, and everyone, at some point, has been asked what they would do if they existed. Well, a team at Duke University are working on perfecting a real-life cloaking device. They first revealed it in 2006, and are now able to cloak a cylindrical object perfectly, making it completely invisible to microwaves. It works by reflecting light at miniscule lengths between strips of fibreglass and copper. Earlier cloaks showed slight reflections of people looking at it, but this has now been reduced considerably.
Mind-powered prosthetic limbs
Implementing ground-breaking technology into the human body is no longer that of science fiction – Pentagon DARPA have helped produce robotic limbs which can be surgically attached to those who have lost body parts. One way of doing this is implanting chips in the brain which pick up on signals to move the limb, while some are connected to nerves in the body, and when the missing muscles are moved by the brain, the nerves pass this message onto the limb, giving wounded soldiers a new sense of independence.
Interactive walls and desks
While touchscreen phones and tablets are all the rage now, what about converting tables or even entire walls into monitors when, with a tap here and a flick there, you can access information and files – or even plan an attack strategy like the actors? Well, you can if you like. MIT Media Lab has developed the LuminAR, a computer that fits into a light bulb, projecting a screen onto a flat surface. This then detects hand movements on the screen, which it interacts with. It can produce scans of images placed in its line of vision, and has in-built WiFi to access files and programs on a cloud service.
As we’ve found from the past decade, the advancement of technology should never be underestimated, but it is currently going at an unprecedented rate. The only downside is that science fiction directors are going to have to work harder to think of technology that is still beyond our reach.
Written by Matt Hill, a security expert and blogger.