By Joshua Burton
There’s nothing quite like awesome tech to make you feel like you’re living in the future. That fantastic stuff that, sure, probably has some ethical and altruistic application somewhere but overall just seems to be crazy cool in the moment really gets our blood pumping. We could talk about all of these at length, but for now let’s just show off how awesome humanity is for thinking up some of the coolest tech of the year.
ReWalk is a full-blown exo-skeleton for paraplegic people and those with certain spinal cord injuries to, amazingly, walk upright again. The Israeli company got full approval from the FDA this June for personal use in the United States, making it a front-runner for popularity in it’s industry. This also brings us one step closer to a future full of superpowered, tech-suited people that every sci-fi geek has been waiting for.
From the same group at MIT that brought us the 3D interface table, inFORM, Tangible Media has rolled out an amazing new memory material that can mold itself to fit a nearly infinite amount of needs. The new enabling technology is called jamSheets, and uses thin layers of lightweight, paper-thin materials that can be molded into different shapes and then through the “layer jamming” process become stiff enough to retain their shape indefinitely. This material is thin and lightweight but can be programmed strong enough to support an adult human as a chair or table. For anyone who enjoyed Batman’s dual cape/hang glider in the recent Dark Knight movies, you’ll certainly see the practical application of a shapeshifting solid.
More work coming out of MIT has hit the news with the FingerReader, a finger-mounted camera device that scans text at the end of a person’s finger and then transmits audio to the user’s headset. This vision-assisting device uses advanced new scanning technology to process scanned text in real-time for people with limited vision as they follow printed words with their finger. This is beyond impressive, since anyone who has failed a Captcha test.
Always at the forefront of technology, the US Navy has developed a gun that has eliminated the need for explosive gunpowder with a new long-distance railgun that uses electromagnetic force to fire projectiles. The gun uses electricity to charge up powerful magnets, which then propel metal shells out at ‘Murca’s enemies. I can only assume that this is the precursor to the pseudo-futuristic guns used in “Firefly,” which somehow sounded high-tech but still shot regular bullets.
Ok, you’re probably thinking, “really? ROCKETSKATES?” But bear with me. Let’s face it, the hoverboard isn’t going to happen by 2015, as “Back to the Future 2” predicted, so we’re just looking for the next best thing. These skates are essentially battery-powered Heelys for adults. You can either walk around awkwardly or skate around like the future-science consumer you are. They’re like miniature Segways – for your feet. They wirelessly synch with each other in order to give you control over your experience with no remote control. I don’t care if you’re not excited. I’m EXCITED.
That’s it for the roundup. If you aren’t convinced that we live in the future by now I don’t know how to please you. Sure, you may be more interested in bendable video screens or lightweight solids, but we prefer to be a little bit more flashy here at myWebRoom. Don’t forget to check out our site for all sorts of new technology that doesn’t require hundreds of dollars of your hard-earned cash.