Those who are old enough to remember the TV series “Star Trek,” would never in their wildest dreams have thought that the holograms the characters use to communicate with each other could someday become a reality. Today this technology is well underway.
To say that new technologies are being developed at a fast rate is an understatement. Just about every day one hears about new gadgets, driver-assist technologies, medical breakthroughs, and scientific advances. Does this sound too far-fetched? So did cellphones and iPads at some point in the past. Here are a few fantastic technologies that already exist.
A Canadian company called Quantum Stealth has developed a non-powered adaptive camouflage that works by bending light around the target. The company claims that the material is light and inexpensive, and can be used in the ultraviolet, visual, thermal, and visual spectrums. According to the company, possible negotiations with military forces are preventing it from making the technology public—so whether it works or not, remains to be seen (or not seen!).
Scientists at two independent labs—the University of Birmingham and MIT—have, however, proven that objects can be rendered invisible by using naturally-forming calcite crystals. This is done by basically gluing two crystals with opposite crystal orientations together, and then placing them over small, but visible objects. Whereas MIT concealed a small metal object the size of a peppercorn, the University of Birmingham concealed a paper clip. It may not entirely be Harry Potter’s invisible cloak yet, but it is a good start!
Human Organ Printing
Human organ printing involves the construction of artificial organs by using 3D printing techniques. For some time now, research has been conducted in the development of artificial hearts, kidneys, livers, lungs, and other major organs. One of the significant problems that scientists have been facing is an inability to print the complex vasculature that supplies nutrients to bodily tissue. But, a bioengineering team at Brown School of Engineering has finally figured out how to print artificial reproductions of complex vascular networks and has successfully printed organ that mimics the lung.
One cannot help but wonder what developers will come up with next—perhaps an eye implant that will enable researches and professional essay writers to put words on paper through thought alone?
An exoskeleton suit augments the body to give one additional strength and endurance. Prototypes of exoskeletons have been around for nearly century, but developers had to come up with ways to circumvent challenges regarding factors like power supply, flexibility, size, and weight. Today, exoskeletons are used in the medical field, military operations, and multiple industries.
For instance, Sarcos Robotics has developed the Guardian XO, which is an autonomously-powered suit that affords a person enhanced strength and endurance without prohibiting freedom of movement. The company has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Special Operations Command to deliver pre-production of the XO exoskeleton suit.
Although this technology has not been made available to the public yet, the BBC introduced an experimental holographic TV in 2016. BBC’s digital development team collaborated with a UK-based visual effects and hologram specialist company, MDH Hologram, to bring archival footage, such as dinosaur recreations and New Year’s Eve fireworks displays, to life through holographic displays.
The team used existing technologies and simple techniques to create their holographic images, such as a technique used in the 1800s that created the illusion of “ghostly” objects on stage. It involves shining an image onto reflective material at an angle, to give the impression of a floating image. This enables audience members to see floating images from multiple angles.
Seeing Through Walls
Amazingly, a technology that allows one to see through walls already exists. A Czech radar manufacturer, RETIA, created a radar device in 2015 that can detect humans through walls, as long as there are movement and breathing. ReTWis (Retia Through-Wall Imaging System) is a portable device that has been designed to assist police and military personnel to detect hidden threats and ambushes, as well as rescue operations after natural disasters and building collapses to locate and rescue victims.
In 2018 a research group at MIT also developed AI technology that can see through walls with an accuracy of 83%, while researchers at the Technical University at Munich developed Wi-Fi technology in 2017 that can do the same.
If one takes these existing technologies into consideration, it is not difficult to imagine that just about any sci-fi technology that has been depicted in movies and books may come true. In fact, these technologies may already exist—we do not know about it yet.