We may be living on the cusp of an age of electronic clothes. There has been an impressive amount of research that may contribute to this reality, from conductors to power supplies that can be printed or deposited onto flexible surfaces like fabrics.
Many scientists envision that materials such as these will eventually be used to produce full devices that are thinner and lighter than ever before. These devices may be most useful for applications such as personal health tracking. They may also be used in novel displays, which could be interactive or user-controllable.
You may have heard of advanced Bayesian calculations (ABCs), perhaps in the context of how computers are used to study climate patterns and how these will change in the near future. ABC is the basis for how computers can achieve inference as a result of the data it is fed. Inference is an important part of the process by which predictions that our brains make on an everyday basis match up with the available objective evidence.
Artificial limbs, such as prosthetic legs or arms, are a common solution nowadays for patients who have gone through the process of amputation. Prosthetic parts of the body are being used for such medical cases since the 16th century and as the centuries pass, their quality is dramatically improving.
Myelopathy, cervical stenosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), dyspraxia and strokes are just some of the reasons for a complete or partial loss of mobility or motor skills in the hands. These affect both in children and adults, but are especially seen in senior citizens. Everyday tasks such as cooking and doing chores can become a challenge, and in certain cases, depression, social anxiety or feelings of dependency also surface. So, the overall quality of life of such patients are affected.
Drones – the flying robots with paired propellers you can fly at home – seem to be capable of more and more things by the day. Scientists have recently published work that shows that they can be used to provide a model for the true flying car; not only that, but they can also demonstrate how these hypothetical vehicles can navigate built-up areas and conform to hybrid air/surface traffic management systems. Drone research and development can also be put to good use in aerial photography.
What if we could generate all the energy required to power the whole of civilization, just using wind turbines? It might sound far-fetched but new research published this week has suggested that this scenario is not entirely unrealistic.
A new location for wind farms
It would however, require some significant changes to the location of wind farms – placing these far out in deep water areas of our oceans, as opposed to on land or relatively near to the shore.
In just the UK alone, there are an estimated 7,000 road traffic accidents at pedestrian crossings each year, which of course are always been considered the safest way to cross a road. With that in mind, Direct Line, an insurance company have collaborated with the architectural firm Umbrellium to create a new ‘Smart Crossing’ known as the Starling Crossing, designed to help keep pedestrians safer.
Since Albert Einstein first predicted the existence of gravitational waves in his general theory of relativity, astrophysicists have been on the lookout for these mysterious ‘ripples’, which are released due to the collision of huge objects like black holes. These collisions result in an alteration in the curvature of spacetime, which Einstein predicted could be detected here on Earth.
Graphene is a fascinating and relatively novel material that may have a whole range of applications in the areas of electronics and engineering in the near future. It is a superconductor that has recently demonstrated the ability to co-exist with silicon to enhance the capabilities of this complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS). These capabilities include photonics: for example, silicon/graphene transistors have recently formed the basis of a sensor that can ‘see’ visible, IR and UV light simultaneously.
The batteries that power our smartphones, tablets and other similar electronics are a crucial factor that affects how we use them on a daily basis. Despite advances in their technology, they may still discharge at a faster rate than we might like, and interrupt our screen-time when it’s time to recharge them. A longer battery life may mean a larger, more bulky battery which, unfortunately, is out of step with the perceived preference for more streamlined and thinner devices.
The flying car is not a thing – although technology enthusiasts born in the 1980s or later may be disappointed by that fact. Many of us may be secretly dissatisfied that having the choice between taking to the roads or the air is not an everyday amenity as yet. The technology that makes the personal or family flying vehicle is still in its very early stages. The most recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) exhibitions showcased a few single-person planes or helicopters, but these were either concept showcases or prohibitively expensive.
Although it may be a fact that newer properties run on lesser energy, the amount of emissions, especially CO2, released by homes and buildings are still considerably greater than it should be for our planet.
In the scenic mountain ranges of Rjukan in Norway, tourists can go and see the evidence of work on using hydrogen as a fuel source. This location contains waterfalls that were harnessed for hydroelectric power in the 1920s. The energy generated from this plant would be used to split water into hydrogen and water using electricity through a process known as electrolysis, in an adjoining factory. Many researchers in Norway still think this is the way of the future, and that hydrogen can power any modern concern, from housing to industry.
Many people have negative psychological effects that are associated with getting dental work done, or even in some cases, merely going to the dentist. This may be based on memories of fear, anxiety or pain that were experienced in a dental surgery. In some cases, these can develop into genuine phobias, or psychological disorders that cause those affected to avoid dental treatment at all costs.
Many wearable devices can now track your heart rate, steps, speed, balance, body temperature and sleep. Smart devices are definitely the future and will be used in people’s everyday lives. A new generation of brain-reading technology was created by the company NeuroSky, with the help of electroencephalography (EEG) biosensors.
When we think of mind reading, we may imagine a process by which an entity, perhaps aided by super-advanced technology, ‘listens in’ on our thoughts to capture or record them. However, thoughts and how they manifest in the brain are much more complicated than simple voices in our heads. Currently, the best of our scientific tools that come close to representing how it works are non-invasive techniques that can produce accurate 2D, 3D or 4D (i.e. ‘real-time’) images of a person’s brain and which specific regions are involved in thought formation.
As we move towards creating a more sustainable future, the automotive industry is already taking steps to reduce its impact on the environment, including the development of electric cars such as those made by Tesla. TU/ecomotive, partnering with Eindhoven University in the Netherlands, have taken things one step further by creating the world’s first biodegradable car.
Imagine never having to worry if your phone was fully charged before heading out to run or cycle your favorite trail, because you could charge it whilst exercising. Well, we could be literally one step closer to this reality thanks to a new technological advance which allows for the charging of electronic devices using something we all produce when exercising: sweat.
It has been established that robots can easily perform tasks that we give them. But, it was noticed that the digits of their robotic arms were missing a certain dexterity when the bots held or picked up objects with odd structures and those of smaller configurations, sometimes squashing or destroying them.