My List of Wanna-Have Magic Things
As Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” From the point of view of an average non-techie person, pressing a key or waving a wand are equal in result. The list of specifications, can sometimes look and sound like a list of incantations in an ancient Lovecraftian language.
Can you specify the difference between Kaby Lake i5 and Haswell i7, if asked? Unless you’re from an IT crowd, odds are you don’t have a clue. The only thing you might be able to say about them, is that one of the CPUs is older, and slower than the other. But without knowing what’s installed under the ‘hood’ of your PC, you aren’t able tell the difference with the performance.
The same goes for touch technologies. You don’t know what happens between you touching the icon and the system reacting to it. You don’t even know what triggers it. And this OK. We don’t know loads of things: how human lungs work, how planes can fly, how birds know how to build a nest. That’s why the world is viewed as a magical place. Not in a New Age sense of the meaning, but literally. We don’t know how it all happens, things just seem to do what they do.
So, I decided to list some qualities that I hope to see from modern technologies. Perhaps, you add some points of your own!
E-book: I want a flexible colored book, capable of displaying beautiful illustrations. I also don’t want to constantly fear that I might drop it, or accidentally sit on it. Technically, I want an e-book identical to the paper one; in everything but functionality, and durability. I also want it to work like a notepad, so that I am able to write with a pencil on it, and then send the written text to my laptop or desktop.
My chances to get it: scarce. The main obstacle is the battery. There’s no flexible and compact source of power, yet. If we did, we’d have gotten a paper-thin flexible smartphone long ago. As for the writing, there are Bluetooth ink pens, with which you can write on paper, and get the text in the text editor simultaneously They are called smart pens. (Yeah, everyone is smart nowadays…except me!) But, be prepared to shell out more than $100 for one of them.
PC and phone mind control: Yes, I want to mentally control my laptop. I want it to learn the most important command of all: “Shit! Bring it all back like before!”. And, the runner-up: “Oops, I didn’t mean to do that!” I mean, the computer must understand immediately what I mean by, ‘before’. Even better, this mind control option will also work great with mobile phones. You’ll be able to answer a call while eating pizza and not worry about greasy fingerprints on the screen any more!
My chances to get it: pretty high. Voice control is a step down from mind control, which just two decades ago, it too looked fantastic. And there’re already systems which can react to mental commands. The webcam reads iris movements and electromagnetic waves from your brain, but you have to wear a spooky looking helmet-like contraption that is fit for a horror movie. This control device helps quadriplegics work with a PC. But, it’s still just experimental right now and not in the market yet. We didn’t meet the deadline, sorry Marty McFly!
Interface in the air: I want the one soaring in the air. 3D, touchable, and visible in daylight. I want to write, paint, and play with the air. I want an impersonated digital assistant – preferably one that looks like Dale Cooper. Hey, that would be cool!
My chances to get it: it’s almost here. Scientists in Tokyo University, developed the Haptoclone – a machine that clones real objects. Hapto stands for haptic, and a user can play with hologram objects, just as if they were playing with real ones. The technology involves airborne image boards and ultrasound emitters.
If that’s not magic, then I don’t know what it is! There’s only one step left: squeeze it into a flat, smartphone case. Until that great moment, we will have to resign with the Xperia Touch – a crazy device that has the ability to turn any flat surface into a touchscreen. Of course, it’s not portable yet, and comes in a large plastic box that looks like an old and outdated film projector, but this is a start as good as any.
Interactive movie: I’ve wanted an interactive movie experience ever since I was a young child. If it had been invented, I could have saved Hachiko’s master! Of course, it would have ruined the movie, but hey – who cares?!
My chances to get it: none. Not in the foreseeable future. I mean, the only way currently, is crowdfunding: make the fans raise enough money to film several variants of a movie or a TV-show. But, that would mean the end of the cinema business as we know it.
For now, you can trade in your old electronics online for top cash and save up for some of these future toys: Sell old electronics now!