For decades now, trends in electronics have been largely focused on making gadgets as small and as multi-tasking as possible. Now electronic devices seem to be on the cusp of being phenomenally tiny, as scientists experiment with materials like grapheme and molybdenum disulphide, which can be made in to sheets as thin as one atom thick.
The future of electronics is clearly miniscule, and materials like these are tiny enough to be incorporated into glass, producing windows and mirrors that are also computer displays. The technology also has the potential to be so malleable that electronics could be woven into clothing or other household fabrics.
With these incredible innovations on the horizon, it is no surprise that we are being inundated with seemingly impossible prototypes on a daily basis. Here are a few of the more mind-bending inventions currently being trialled in labs across the world.
Even your hand can be a smartphone
At the University of Toyko, students are undertaking some incredible experiments with interactive projection technology, enabling them to project a smartphone’s keys onto the back of your hand. Masatoshi Ishikawa has created a projection system which identifies and maps the position of an object 500 times per second and projects an image onto it. No matter how quickly the object moves, the system uses a camera’s pan and tilt angles to lock onto the object to ensure the projection remains. Secondly, the system also uses very precise sound waves, beamed by around 2000 ultrasonic wave emitters to deliver a buzzing sensation as the smartphone’s ‘keys’ are pressed.
Medical research teams worldwide have discovered that by targeting individual nerve fibres or specific areas of the brain, they may be able to treat a huge range of conditions using highly targeted electrical impulses. Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma and neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, which have previously relied on drug-based treatments, may soon be curable by electrical stimulation of relevant nerves.
Build with your imagination
Using a revolutionary headset, innovative project Thinker Thing can create 3D-printed objects using neurological activity. Current neuro-technology can detect emotions such as excitement or boredom and also cognitive thoughts such as push or pull. Through using these simple control methods and also detecting the user’s emotional response to changes in the design and reacting appropriately, users can construct a 3D printed object entirely determined by their own minds.
Google’s Driverless Car
The fully autonomous Google car is worldwide news, getting through huge amounts of red tape to legally take to the roads in California. Experts believe robot cars will drastically reduce the number of road fatalities due to the use of very precise sensors to detect other cars or pedestrians far faster than a human being. It has even been claimed that the self-driving car can ‘see’ a thrown cigarette butt and know a person may appear from behind another car or detect a rolling ball and anticipate a child may run into the road to retrieve it.