It seems like just yesterday that we were all freaking out over the release of the video iPod, and now we’ve got Google Glass and self-driving cars! Just wait until you see the cool stuff that scientists are working on right now…
If you're an earth-conscious coffee consumer, then this will likely be of interest to you: Bio-Bean is a London-based company that recycles waste coffee grounds into "biomass pellets," or carbon-neutral biofuels and biochemicals. In turn, they can be used for anything from heating buildings to powering transport.
No, we’re not talking about those overpriced “anti-aging eye creams” that don’t actually work...we’re talking about actually slowing and/or reversing the effects of aging by the 2030s.
In fact, big companies have so much confidence in anti-aging research that they've been rapidly investing in the industry. Google Co-Founder Larry Page started a company called Calico that aims to extend the human lifespan by a century. Companies like Apple, Facebook and Amazon have also poured money into anti-aging medical research.
At Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, researchers are working on using human cells to grow various human body parts out of a lab.
In order to grow an organ in a lab setting, the researchers must harvest a small piece of the patient’s organ and separate out the different types of cells, prompting them to multiply. The cells must then sit in a fluid for a specified amount of time, and eventually they are ready to be poured into scaffolds and incubated before being placed inside the human body as a brand new organ.
Prosthetic limbs are nothing new at this point, but the Deka Arm is different in that it’s the first mind-controlled prosthetic arm. Powered by microelectricity, the Deka Arm “senses movement in various muscle groups via attached electrodes, then converts those movements into motor control.”
The Deka Arm was recently approved by the FDA, meaning that it is cleared for sale, although cost is a big hurdle currently, as a sophisticated prosthetic arm can reach up to $50,000.
Considering that travel to Mars looks to be right around the corner, it seems only fitting that interplanetary internet would be the next step.
Vint Cerf, Google's "chief internet evangelist" has worked with NASA to help to develop a new set of protocols for bringing the internet to space. It's easier said than done, however, given that in space there are completely different variables to deal with, including the speed of light, for example.
But Cerf is confident that they’re now “at the front end of what could be an evolving and expanding interplanetary backbone.” Who knows, pretty soon we could be seeing astronauts watching cat videos on YouTube!
3D printers aren’t a shockingly new idea anymore, but their implications for the average household are pretty neat. Given that they’ll likely be in nearly every household in the future, they could print things like medical necessities so that you wouldn’t even have to leave your house to get the medications, or even vaccines, that you need.
The company iRobot is working on what they call the "Robotic Fabricator," which is a 3D printer that doesn't need any human assistance. And get this; the Robotic Fabricator will even be able construct its own parts.
Developed by University of Pennsylvania students, the Titan Arm is an exoskeleton that can augment arm strength by an impressive 40 pounds! The idea is that it will help people in manual-labor industries prevent back injuries and make them much more efficient at performing their jobs, and it's even cost-effective. It can also aid in physical therapy in that it can track range-of-motion data in order to track improvement over time.
Active contact lenses fit in your eyes just like the ordinary contact lenses you’re used to, only these ones have the capacity to display images, such as the time or even the screen of your smartphone, directly onto your retina. You could even watch movies on the inside of your eyelids, so that you never even need to open your eyes!
Much research has been conducted over the years in developing the active-contact-lenses concept. Some of the most recent research has come out of the University of Washington, where Professor Babak Parviz has toyed with the idea of adding medical sensors to the lenses, which could monitor blood-sugar levels in people with diabetes.
As the world’s population continues to grow and simultaneously become more digitally connected, wireless capacity is a concern. Artemis Networks' PCell concept would give each cell phone user full wireless capacity.
"They can be deployed in a way that no one can see them," says Artemis CEO Steve Perlman. In fact, the PCell is so small that it's only 15 millimeters wide (.59 inches) and "can fit in the palm of your hand." Additionally, they can be installed without a permit.
If you've ever felt like your smart phone wasn't enough, never fear, because Levi's and Google are partnering to bring you the Smart Jacket, a jean jacket that connects with your smart phone via a removable Bluetooth wrist-cuff. The jacket allows you to answer incoming calls, change music, get directions, and more. Bonus: It's even machine-washable.
The Smart Jacket is set to be available for purchase this fall for $350.
If you’re sick of commuting to work via the public bus every day, this one might be of interest to you. It's the brainchild of Elon Musk called Hyperloop, which is a transportation system that resembles a train traveling at speeds of more than 600 mph inside of a tube. This would make travel between LA and San Francisco a ridiculous 35 minutes.
In Musk's preliminary designs for Hyperloop, the estimated cost of the operation was $6 billion — an entire $3 billion less than the amount already pledged to high-speed rail in California.
This gadget just may be a revolution for the lazy. As part of a Netflix hackathon in January, a team of engineers came up with the idea of this mind-controlled headband that measures brain signals to choose what you want to watch on Netflix...completely hands-free.
Unfortunately Netflix has no current plans to release Mindflix for sale, but we can hope! [Editor's note: Please, Netflix. Make this a thing.]
Ever wanted to display what’s on your smart phone onto your body instead? Well, with new technology, you might able to do just that. Researchers are currently developing a flexible, bendy touchpad that could one day be inserted into clothing, or even the human body.
"This is the first time anyone has made a transparent, touch-sensitive electronic device that can detect touch while the device is being bent or stretched," says John Madden, an electrical engineer at the University of British Columbia. What's more is that the materials used to make the device are cheap, so it could one day be a very cost-effective product.