Today the world is on the cusp of a true technological revolution. New scientific discoveries are constantly being made across the globe, and some of these discoveries will prove to have a significant knock-on effect to our day to day technologies in the future. At present some advanced technologies are emerging in the news which will soon come to the market through practical and innovative applications. This article will have a brief look over three pieces of recent science news that could one day affect our everyday lives.
The Higgs Boson
This week saw the announcement of the discovery of a ‘Higgs Boson’-esque particle at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and CERN in Switzerland. This discovery is marked as one of the most significant discoveries within the field of Physics for quite some time. For the scientists there is now a process of continuing to collect data, to investigate the specific properties of the particle. This discovery was literally that, a discovery, nothing particularly in-depth but proof that the surrounding theories and the particle itself are factual in some sense.
The future implications of such a discovery on our everyday lives are currently hard to predict. This is not to say that this discovery will not yield a significant impact on technology in the future. Just as with the discovery of the Electron, at that time there was no practical applications in place, and look at the World now, living and breathing electronics.
Another news article this week claims that the University of Arizona has developed the most advanced robot legs to date. To think that just a few years ago robotics experts the world over were struggling to develop a system that would allow a robot to walk bi-pedally at all, and today they’ve made one that doesn’t even need to think about walking.
The key to this advancement is the development by the University of Arizona of an artificial central pattern generator (CPG). This is effectively a manufactured nerve cell, this issues alternate signals giving the legs a rhythm. The CPG also receives signals from other parts of the body meaning that the legs can react to outside influences that will affect how they will need to walk. The impact that this has on our technology could be significant as the team at the University of Arizona have not only built a pair of robotic walking legs, they’re also replicated to some extent a mimic of the control of the legs that you could expect to see in a human.
Hewlett Packard this week has had a patent application that they submitted in 2006 accepted in the US. This specific patent relates to the development of a see-through screen. By using light-reflective slats the screen is able to display conventional images and graphical information that you would expect to see on a normal screen, either belonging to a TV or computer. The system is similar to one that already exists today and is used in the media industry for Teleprompters. This already allows written words to be read by a presenter whilst the camera films from the opposite side of the prompter.
The practical applications of such a see-through screen could come to fruition in the very near future. There are already complimentary technologies in place and a few ideas as to how this technology could be useful to us in our everyday lives. Some of the ideas put forward by Hewlett Packard include displaying information on windscreens in a heads up display (HUD) style, being used to make windows into advertising space, or being overlaid close to an object to superimpose information. Eventually other applications in the future could mean that you could have augmented reality displays on screens or glass as small as reading glasses.
- Photograph by CERN [CC BY 2.0]
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