Posts Tagged ‘ Future ’

Internet of Things – A Future Thing

Of all the technology buzz that are trending right now, perhaps the biggest one out of all is the Internet of Things. It is the one that’s going to give us the most disruption as well as the most opportunity over the coming decade, it could completely transform our way of living in future. The concept of Internet of Things first became popular in 1999 and since then this buzzword has been floating around and experts estimate that the LoT(Internet of Things) will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020, but what does it actually mean, what does Internet of Things mean?

Here’s something about it:

Internet of Thing is about connecting devices over the internet, letting them communicate with us, with other devices and applications via a network. It refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices and systems. It revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication; it’s built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors; it could make everything in our lives from household appliances to highways, from streetlights to seaports “smart.” In a nutshell, Internet of Things is based on sensors, cloud computing and a network(or internet-enabled devices).

Let’s talk about a very few examples of the Internet of Things:

Home’s light control system integrated with sensors to switch off/on the lights depending on whether there’s anyone in a room or not, alerting you of any suspicious activity on your phone and make it possible to switch off/on lights remotely; windows and doors fitted with sensor and could detect of windows and doors openings and violations to prevent intruders, and alert you of the same by texting on your number; informing you about running appliances when you are not at home, and allowing you to switch on/off remotely to save energy or to avoid accidents. A smart fridge which could text you if its internal cameras find there is none left, or that the carton has past its use-by date; energy and water supply consumption monitoring by sensors and applications to suggest/advice you how to save cost and resources.

LoT  or Internet of Thing is more than smart appliances and smart homes. It scales up to include smart cities, think of connected traffic signals that monitor utility use, or smart bins that signal when they need to be emptied, and industry with connected sensors for everything from tracking parts to monitoring crops. Constructing smart building, bridges, highways, use of smart cement equipped with sensors to monitor stresses, cracks, and alerts you to fix problems before they cause a catastrophe. If there’s congestion/damage on road, the same sensors in the concrete will detect it and communicate the information via the wireless internet to your car or on your phone to alert you.

It has limitless applications and potential, and of course there are some concerns too. This technology is full of possibilities and it’s often difficult to decide in early stage what it will bring up in coming years and will it be truly ground breaking or not.

Here’s a video on it by Intel:

Reference: The Internet of Things

Kilobots form Synchronised, Complex Shapes

Recently a report came up on 14 Augsut’14 which says Harvard researchers have designed a swarm of small, mobile robots which are able to organize themselves into large shapes from random starting points with minimal initial human assistance. This technology is in research from few years, and referred as “Kilobots”.

The Kilobots are a team of 1,024(210 being a conveniently binary number) simple robots that operate as a collective to complete the assigned task, much like the Borg in Star Trek or termites in a termite mound, and been shown to demonstrate the ability to swarm together to form complex shapes like the letter “K”, or a starfish. The researcher team at Harvard first introduced their Kilobots in 2011, and this time they have built one thousand of it. The research is another step in the development of artificially intelligent self-organising systems that will affect everyday life in the future.

Each robot can bounce an infrared signal off the ground to another bot beside it, allowing it to sense where it is in relation to others in the swarm. Bouncing that signal can also ensure that one’s robotic neighbors are on the same page for when and how a task is supposed to be carried out . Knowing where other robots are is essential when it comes to locating objects in a given environment and bringing them back to the home base.

Professor Radhika Nagpal (from Harvard School of Engineering and applied Sciences) said: Increasingly, we’re going to see large numbers of robots working together, whether its hundreds of robots co-operating to achieve environmental clean up or a quick disaster response, or millions of self-driving cars on our highways. Understanding how to design ‘good’ systems at that scale will be critical.

The results of the experiment are published in the journal Science.

Reference:

Charging Phones Using Everyday Noise

Charging Mobile Phones using soundMobile phones may someday be able to recharge using the sounds around them. This can be possible with the help of piezoelectric property of zinc oxide, when the zinc oxide nano-rods are squashed, stretched or bent, they produce a voltage. The nano-rods can be coated onto various surfaces in different locations making the energy harvesting quite versatile. The zinc oxide nano-rods respond to vibration and movement created by everyday sound, such as our voices too. Researchers are working on it from many years to design a nanogenerator which can be used to power devices like mobile phones and now they somewhat succeeded in it.

Few years ago, a few Korean scientists had proposed using sound to charge mobile phones. They explained that it could be done by utilizing piezoelectric effect, in which zinc oxide nano-wires converted sound-caused vibrations into electricity. At the time, the researchers couldn’t generate enough of a voltage to actually charge a phone. But now as per recent research, scientists from Nokia and Queen Mary University of London have succeeded in doing so.

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London and researchers at Nokia built a mobile device that can be refueled when everyday background noise, including traffic and music, is converted into electricity. In future, it could be possible to charge mobile phones using everyday background noise such as traffic, music, cheers from a football field or chatter from a coffee shop and our own voices.

Scientists are now able to generate five volts by using this method, which is enough to charge a phone. Certainly, this technology can change the way we charge our devices if it will make its way to the smartphone industry. It’s still a thing of future and matter of research so far.

Reference: Mobile phones come alive with the sound of music

Eco Newspaper – A Concept

The invention of computers, e-readers, tablets, smartphones and other such devices has had brought down our use of paper to a considerably lower level. Imagine how much paper work would have been carried out if there would be no such devices. With the more advancements and utilization of the technology we will cut down the use of paper more in coming decades. There is a concept of Eco newspaper which can do that by replacing the traditional style of newspaper reading if it comes into reality in future.

As per the Eco newspaper concept, there will be a projector device that can project the daily news on the table counter-top. It’s not just about projecting text and imagines on table but you can flip pages on the projection as you would normally do in case of traditional newspapers. You can also select your newspaper as it will be connected to internet or to multiple cloud services of different news providers. The news then will be updated daily through these cloud services of news providers. It will also use a bio-battery power instead of normal battery to just make it more Eco-friendly. A variety of other digital functions can also be integrated into this Eco Newspaper. Perhaps the invention would also be able to read the reports to those who are visually impaired.

 

eco newspaper projector

The concept of Eco newspaper will not only use technology to its best advantage but also to cut down on the newspaper waste and conservation. E-reader already changed the concept of reading from paper binding books and now it is time to move on to the another level.

eco newspaper future technology

Designer: Shen Guo

Source and Reference: http://www.yankodesign.com/2012/09/10/the-daily-news/

Google Search in the Physical World

In future, it could be possible to run a Google search in the physical world. For example, asking Google “where are my keys?” would give you the right answer if they have been fitted with tiny motes in your home, in your surroundings or in your place. A mote is a node in a wireless sensor network that is capable of performing some processing, gathering sensory information and communicating with other connected nodes in the network.

Thousands of tiny wireless sensors(motes) could one day be used to monitor your world. They will have tiny CPUs that run programs on a skeleton operating system and be able to access equally small banks of RAM and flash memory. These sensor-packed machines can be embedded in buildings and objects in large numbers, may be in hundreds or even thousands as per requirement according to the objects to provide constant updates on the world around us.

The motes will be smart enough to collect power from their surrounding. The motes will live off the power they can get from their surroundings. A mote near a light source might use a tiny solar panel, while a mote running somewhere with greater temperature extremes can be built to tap into that, by converting the heat energy that flows between hot and cold into electricity. These tiny wireless sensors(motes) could be used to monitor every tiny movement of large structures like bridges or skyscrapers in coming decades. The motes in a house could report back on lighting, temperature, carbon monoxide levels and occupancy. With motes embedded in all of your belongings it might be possible to run interent in the physical world to search your queries, and you would hear or get the right answers.

Reference article: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829146.400-smart-dust-computers-are-no-bigger-than-a-snowflake.html

Electronic Telepathy

There is possibility that a technology which can make texting by just thinking will be available in future. In coming decades, there will be mobile phones, computers, laptops and other electronics devices which can have this feature. All theses devices can be connected to a sensor-mounted headset. Whenever we think something in our mind, some brain waves are generated in our mind, and a sensor-mounted headset will utilize these brain waves. With the help of technology, it can be possible to transform these generated brain waves in the human mind into text. This sensor-mounted headset will convert the brain waves into digital signals by using brain-machine interface technology, and then these digital signal can be displayed on the screen in the form of text. All in all, it will make humans capable of texting by just thinking like an electronic telepathy.
Probably, in future you will be able to write a blog just by thinking. All you have to do is just have these sensor-mounted headset and then sit and relax, and then start thinking about the things in your mind, it will itself write what’s all there in your mind. Though it will take time to come into reality, perhaps a decade or more but this technology is a promising one, and will be useful and helpful in many ways.

Have a Good Day Readers 🙂

-Vikas Sharma

Self-Healing Materials

The concept of self-healing material or technology  has been under research since a decade, with a view to reducing the risks and costs of cracking and damage in a wide range of materials and increasing the durability of materials to much greater extend.

This post briefly gives an idea about self-healing technology, so let’s start with a question, what are these self-healing materials?

Self-healing materials are a class of smart materials that have the structurally incorporated ability to repair damage caused by mechanical usage over time. The inspiration comes from biological systems, which have the ability to heal after being wounded. For a material to be defined as self-healing, it is necessary that the healing process occurs without human intervention.

Something more about it!

Self-healing method is possible with the help of Nanotechnology. Carbon nano-tubes can be used to sense and heal a crack. It is possible that Carbon nano-tubes can sense a crack within the structure, and then it can be used to supply healing agent to all the defected areas in the material, and this healing agent can be released whenever and wherever a crack or scratch appears. Carbon nano-tubes can be used for thermal transports to heat up the material at microscopic level so that the cracks or scratches can be removed from the material. In this way, it can heal a material.

Each Carbon nano-tube is less than 100 millionths of a meter in diameter, and this is what we call Nanotechnology. The first products to use these healing technique will most likely be paints; for example, a car can heals its own scratches on its painted surface, a scratch on any painted surface can be healed itself, and with more research and development it might be possible that this technique can work on many other things like on electronic gadgets or devices.  It will be possible that in coming year there will be cell phone which can heals scratch on their touchscreens themselves, and much more. I think, it’s a promising future technology.

Incredible Solar Energy

Almost a year back, I worked in Central Electronics Limited as an intern for some months where I learned the concepts of solar photovoltaic and some other technologies. The time I spent there made me realize the true power of solar energy. So, in this post I want to share some of the things and fact about solar energy. I am not writing about any manufacturing process or any other kind of idea here, just some common solar energy related things.

Here’s it:

Our planet receives incredibly large amount of solar energy in its atmosphere and Earth surface approximately reflect back 30% of the received solar energy back to the space while the rest is absorbed by clouds, oceans, land masses, and by the Earth surface. Now as the solar energy received by the Earth is incredibly large in amount, so if ever we able to use merely few percent(lets say 6-10%) of it then it can alone provide the enough power to the whole world to fulfill its all demands and requirements of electricity. The Sahara Desert receives that much amount of solar energy that it can alone power the whole Europe and more; now you can have idea about the capability of solar energy that Earth receives. But due to various reason, it’s still not possible to efficiently use this renewable and this incredibly large amount of energy. The process of harnessing, then storing, and then transmitting it to the people of the planet is somewhat expensive than other methods of generation of electricity, the process is complex as compared to other methods, the efficiency of solar panels is still not that great and there is some uncertainty in the information of solar energy. So far, it is believed that 99.99% of all the solar energy in the form of solar radiation goes to waste.

The amount of solar energy that strikes the Earth in one hour is more than enough to provide all of the Earth’s energy needs for a complete year. The top photovoltaic panels only have an efficiency of about 15%, meaning that only about one seventh of the solar energy that hits the panel is converted into usable electrical energy and with the rise in temperature, a photovoltaic panel loses its efficiency. So, there is great need to improve efficiency and some pitfalls of photovoltaic panels, and until the cost of producing a solar panel is lowered, solar energy can’t match the cost of current energy production. Moreover, depending on the location in relation to the equator, one may need more solar panels to accumulate the same amount of power. Solar energy is not available at night and therefore energy storage is an important issue for continuous supply of power from solar energy systems. Off-grid photovoltaic systems use rechargeable batteries to store excess electricity and in grid-tied systems, excess electricity can be sent to the transmission grid, while standard grid electricity can be used to meet shortfalls. There are some other ways also for this purpose like thermal mass systems and molten salts systems.

With the improvement in the methods, using new ideas and technologies, and with the advancement in field of solar energy, it is possible that solar energy will be our one of the major method for production of electricity in future.

Here are examples:

Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant-

Gemasolar is a concentrated solar power plant with a molten salt heat storage system, located within the city limits of Fuentes de Andalucía in the province of Seville, Spain. Gemasolar is the first commercial solar plant with central tower receiver and molten salt heat storage technology.  In addition, its storage system allows it to produce electricity for 15 hours without sunlight. This storage capacity makes its solar power manageable so that it can be supplied based on demand. Gemasolar, with its 19.9 megawatts of power, can supply 110 gigawatts per year which is enough to supply power to 27,500 homes. The plant has been operational since May 2011.

Solar energy, future of energy production, Gemasolar, Spain

Source: http://www.torresolenergy.com, Author: Torresol Energy
Gemasolar

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System-

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, is a solar thermal power project currently under construction in the San Bernardino County, California, USA, with a planned capacity of 392 megawatts which is the highest capacity of any solar thermal power stations in the world. There are many other solar thermal power stations across the world.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy

What Is Time?

What Is Time?

Everyone knows what time is. It is what we measure in minutes, hours, days, etc and we follow it with clocks and calendars. In simple words, it is a dimension along which events are ordered from the past through the present into the future, it is a dimension along which we measure the durations of events and the intervals between them. Don’t you think time is more than this statement? Ever you wonder, what is time? Is there something more about time?  Is it just what clock and calendar measures or something more? What is time actually?

Time is a concept, it’s a self-evident concept. We all know about it, don’t we? But there is more than that, there is a lot more about time. There are many perceptions about time, there are many theories which explains what actually time is. Early in the back days, people used sun and stars instead of clocks. Humans always felt the need of the concept of time. This post is about the time but I don’t want to go much deeper into this topic as this topic is too broader to explain with lots of theories, philosophies, physics and then of course my own perceptions about time and I don’t want to make this post too complicated to understand.

Here’s a few words on this topic, a few words to explain what I think about time in very simple words:

Time is basically divided into past, present and future, so lets start with past. Anything which happened doesn’t matter whether it’s known to you or not, it is past. Present is infinitesimal and future doesn’t exist, it’s just based upon the events of past and present. Everything which is happening right now can contribute to the future of anyone. The things someone did in the past, the things someone is doing in the present can play a part in shaping someone’s present in the future including his own present of the future. Future is a projection created by our imagination, knowledge, experiences or by the acts of anyone. When you draw something with a pen on a piece of paper, the things you have drawn is past and the thing you are drawing is present, it’s just all about the touch of the tip of pen to the paper and as soon as it touches the paper present becomes past and future becomes present, that’s how small is the present and all the things you are about to draw is a future. So past, present and future they all exist without the concept of time.

Lets try to go little deeper in this concept. Time is a concept to measure the motion of anything or the change in anything, considering the motion of all particles; the motion of atoms. It’s a concept to measure the motion or the change in the whole universe. How do we measure anything like if we have to measure weight? We just compare it with some kind of standard that we have defined. By comparing something with a particular standard we calculate or measure the unknown things, that’s how we do it. We have created standard to measure things and to measure motion or change we have created the concept of time, like miles per hour, 24 hours is equal to one complete rotation of the earth on its axis, then one revolution of the earth around the sun is equal to 365 days(one year), etc. It shows that when we are dealing with time we are actually dealing with some standard of motion. When there were not any clocks as we have now, people used to measure time with the help of position of the sun and stars. We always felt the need of such concept and it’s a part of our living. If we didn’t have clocks then we would be depending on some other things and we would make some other concept to measure the events, changes and motion. If somewhere in the universe there’s a life then it’s possible that they might have created some other concept as we have created the concept of time. Time is attached with the motion and forces. It depends upon the motion and the forces of atoms, it depends upon the motion and the forces of everything which exist in the whole universe as everything is made up of atoms.

From the above written post, we can conclude that time is just a standard to measure motion and change, a standard created on the base of motion and forces, and that’s why it changes at different points in the universe. Existence of anything doesn’t depend upon the time;  past, present and future are not time dependent. Time is just a concept that we have defined. So I don’t believe in the possibility of time travel; to me the concept of time travel doesn’t make any sense, you can’t go back in the past, you can’t turn an omelet into an egg. However, nothing is sure as reality is too deep and there is no deep reality. Lastly one more thing, we can go to the future and we are going there right now as the present is infinitesimal!

Nanotechnology, The Technology At Atomic Scale

Nanotechnology, the future technology.

Nanotechnology refers to the science and engineering of matter at an atomic scale. It is a science of manufacturing, utilizing and studying extremely small particles and devices having dimension between 1 nanometer to 100 nanometers. One nanometer is equal to 0.000000001 meters, now imagine how small it is! Even human hair has much higher dimension than this.

Nanotechnology holds a great future promise and below are few things about this technology:

  • It has been found that at nano dimension material shows very different properties as compared to what they would on a macro-scale. So with nanotechnology, we may have access to many new elements which didn’t exist before. When materials are reduced into nano-particles they show new odd properties like opaque substances may become transparent, stable materials turn combustible, plastics or insulators turn into conductors, gold particles can appear green or anything and solids can turn into liquids almost spontaneously at room temperature. Research are ongoing on these things worldwide.
  • Nanotechnology will make exactly what it is expected to make; there will be no more, no less and hence, no wastage. Matter will be used more efficiently and precisely with this technology. It holds some answers for how we might increase the capabilities of material and devices while we reduce their size, weight and power consumption. With nanotechnology, it will be possible to have smaller, lighter, flexible, self-cleaning type of electronic devices in future.
  • With the use of nanotechnology in the solar cells, solar energy can be efficiently harnessed. Manufacturers have developed nano-tech solar cells that can be manufactured at significantly lower cost than conventional solar cells and are better in performance.
  • Manufactures are currently developing batteries using nano-materials. With nanotechnology, it will possible to make much higher capacity and more durable batteries, at the same time it allow batteries to become smaller, lighter and thinner. Using nanotechnology, researchers developed what they call ultra-capacitors. Ultra-capacitors are being researched heavily as it may take over completely from batteries because of their potential for much higher discharge rates and much lesser recharge times.
  • It is possible, one day nano-chips may make computers many times faster than today’s supercomputers. Nanotechnology will significantly help in making computers that will be incredibly powerful, will use less power and will be much smaller in size. With nanotechnology, data storage capacity can be increased up to much greater extend as compared to the present date. It will be possible to store at least hundred terabytes of data in a cubic millimeter of space with nanotechnology.
  • Nanotechnology can leads to newer technology in the field of spacecraft, satellite, fuel, water cleaning methods and many more. Research and advancements in nano-materials will help in manufacture of lightweight spacecraft and satellite which will significantly reduce the amount of fuel required and hence, can lower the cost of space projects.
  • Nanotechnology will significantly play an important role in the field of medical in curing diseases like cancer and others. With the help of nanotechnology drug can be delivered directly to diseased cells in the human body. This directed method of drug delivery has great potential for treating cancer patients while producing less harmful side-affects than those produced by conventional chemotherapy. Research are ongoing on it.
  • Some clothing manufacturers are trying their hands on nanotechnology, they are making water and stain repellent clothing using nano-sized whiskers. The use of nanotechnology in fabric can greatly improve the fabric properties. Nano-sized particles of carbon like carbon nano-tubes are extremely strong and one proposed application that illustrates the strength of nano-sized particles of carbon is the manufacture of bullet proof vests made out of carbon nano-tubes.
  • It’s still a field of research what all we can achieve with nanotechnology. Some researchers believe nanotechnology can be used to significantly extend the human lifespan or produce replicator like devices that can create almost anything from simple raw materials, a device which would use manipulators to position atoms and molecules to build an object; it is also referred as molecular fabricator. Others see nanotechnology only as a tool to help us do what we do now, but faster or better.
  • Nanotechnology is having an impact on several aspects of food science; from how food is grown to how it is packaged. Some manufacturers are developing nano-materials that will make a difference not only in the taste of food but also in food safety, its packing and the health benefits that food will have.
  • Nanotechnology can enable sensors to detect very small amounts of chemical vapors. Various types of detecting elements, such as carbon nano-tubes or zinc oxide nano-wires can be used in nanotechnology based sensors. Because of the small size of nano-tubes, nano-wires, or nano-particles, a few gas molecules are sufficient to change the electrical properties of the sensing elements which allows the detection of a very low concentration of chemical vapors. Nanotechnology can also improve the performance of catalysts used to transform vapors escaping from vehicles or from industrial plants into harmless gasses. The larger surface area of catalyst made from nano-particles allows more chemicals to interact with the catalyst simultaneously, which makes the catalyst more effective.
  • Nanotechnology also has great applications in automobiles, agriculture, sports and in cosmetics too. In sports, nanotechnology is being used to increasing the strength of tennis racquets, reducing the rate at which air leaks from tennis balls, filling any imperfections in the some sports materials like club shaft materials and some others.
  • Despite of having numerous advantages nanotechnology has disadvantages too. With having the grip on nanotechnology, there will no limits to what we can do or the amount of things we can create with it. Probably, it has major risks in terms of both abuse and accidents. It grants us the power to absolutely annihilate ourselves and our beautiful planet. New developments in nanotechnology could even result in untraceable weapons of mass destruction because nano-materials have almost unlimited potential. Moreover, the environmental effect of nanotechnology is still unknown. It is believed that nanotechnology needs to be very strictly regulated in order to minimize the possible negative impact on our planet, on its living beings and its environment.