The Future Now…May 4, 2009
I remember, when I was a child, dreaming up new inventions and thinking, “that would be cool but it’ll never happen”. Things like tiny computers you could hold in the palm of your hand, or seats that you could link up to your games console (admittedly it was one of the old Atari consoles) and it would simulate the movement of a car or aircraft.
Well, I’m not saying I invented those things, since I’d be willing to bet quite a few people thought they’d be cool and, like me, left it at that. But technology has moved on incredibly and many of the things we once thought were “cool but impossible” are now a reality.
Like what, I hear you ask?
Well, those tiny computers are here: we now have things like palmtop computers, netbooks, and smartphones. We’re getting there with simulator chairs. My dad used to talk about how good it would be to have his car automatically detect when it was raining and put the wipers on, which is now being included on some cars (Renault Meganne, for instance).
Even simple stuff, like how I used to imagine it would be great to have a kids toy that could fly, is happening. Check out this helicopter on Firebox… when I was little “flying” toys were actually tied to the ceiling with a piece of wire and just flew round in circles.
More recently I’ve been really impressed with Sky+ and the remote record facility. If I’m out I can pull up the television listings on my phone and record whatever I like… and when I get home it’s there waiting for me. I’d often wished for a way to record stuff at short notice when I’m out, and there it is.
So the first thing I want to ask you, and I hope you’ll post in the comments about this, is what technologies did you dream of as a child that you now see coming to fruition? Is there something you never thought would be possible but now is?
Moving on, I love the idea of flexible displays that can be rolled up and put in your pocket. Embedding a tiny computer and/or communications chip would mean it could be updated on the fly. If you’ve seen the film Red Planet, think of the flexible display they had that allowed them to match local geography to stored details and work out exactly where they were. Or, more mundanely, you’d never have to buy another newspaper… just get a subscription to a news service and have it appear on your flexible display. I want to see that kind of thing happen, and several companies are already working on it. Who knows? In a few years we may all have access to that kind of thing.
So the second question I want to ask is, what technologies to you dream of TODAY that you think will see fruition in coming years? Age-reversal? Personal aircraft? Fully online houses? Or something altogether different?
Chip in in the comments – what technologies did you dream of as a child that have come to fruition, and what technologies do you dream of now that you think we’ll see in future? I’d love to know what you think.