The New York Times recently proposed 32 technical innovations that could have the same impact as the light bulb in the 19th century and shape your life tomorrow, even predicting when the change will occur.
See the Generic Video New York Times : innovations-issue.html?_r=2&hpw
A few examples:
Electric clothes Physicists at Wake Forest University have developed a fabric that can generate electricity using your body's heat. The clothes are "composed of carbon nanotubes encased in soft plastic fibers," says Katie Neal of Wake Forest University for the Cleantechnica site. The research has just been published in the journal Nano Letters. According to David Carrol, the creator of the fabric, a mobile phone could charge in your pocket using your body heat (10 % to 15 % for eight hours).
Smart underwear A Finnish company, Myontec, has recently launched underwear with sensors that tell you the condition of your muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings or gluteal muscles for example). Adapted for sportsmen and women, they are also useful for sedentary people to motivate them to maintain their muscle mass.
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Doctor on board Some cars equipped with e-call are already able to ask for help when you have an accident. But soon, your vehicle will even be able to measure the likelihood that you have an internal bleeding or head injury. Researchers at the University of Michigan's Center for Automotive Medicine have created predictive models by cross-referencing crash data from sensors on crashed cars (such as speed or impact location) with three-dimensional scanners.
Video games for the subway : According to Cnet, industrial designer Jiang Qian designed a transit belt with an integrated video game. You can play tetris or pinball in the subway by turning the handle from right to left to control the game. It even warns you when your stop is approaching.
A very attentive instructor If you're working at a computer and your back hurts, the new Phillips ErgoSensor monitor will help you stand up straighter or adopt a more ergonomic posture. For example, it will tell you if you are too close to the screen or if your neck is too tilted. Thanks to sensors and algorithms, it can even tell you when to take a break.
The gun that can silence you... The "SpeechJammer", a Japanese invention that resembles a science fiction laser gun, is capable of recording a person's voice and then projecting it with a slight time delay. This then causes a confusing sensation for the speaker who loses his words because he can no longer think. According to the New York Times, researchers believe that this device could help to keep to speaking time during debates. Video: http://youtu.be/USDI3wnTZZg
A basket that reads your thoughts : In February, ChaoticMoon started testing a robotic basket that acts a bit like a butler. This basket uses Microsoft Kinect technology with motion sensors. So it can follow you through the whole store. Using GPS, it can even lead you to the food you are looking for, or warn you when you have added a product that violates your dietary restrictions.
Smart teeth A new sensor: Scientists at Princeton and Tufts are currently working on an ultra-thin sensor (a kind of tattoo) for teeth that would be able to send an alert when it detects bacteria associated with plaque build-up, cavities or infections. Researchers had already used this technology to identify bacteria in saliva that form ulcers or cancers. However, these sensors are quickly damaged by tooth brushing. Project leader Michael McAlpine told the New York Times that they will be inexpensive to replace every day.
Edible packaging Between the cartons of fruit juice, water bottles and yoghurt pots, the number of packages that go through the trash every day is impressive. So a bio-engineer at Harvard, David Edwards, found a way to convert packaging into food, called "WikiCells". So you can eat your bottle of wine, or throw it away like an orange peel because the packaging is biodegradable. Ice cream and yogurt will be available from July, the New York Times says.
A clever lawn : Engineer Sanjay Sarma is currently trying to produce tiny sensors that would be able to tell if your garden is infested with bedbugs or if it is deficient in minerals. The Toro Company is already selling moisture sensors that can activate the watering system when your lawn is dry.
Source and links sites of the examples + the 22 other innovations: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/06/03/magazine/innovations-issue.html?_r=2&hpw
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