Oct 012008
Authors: Glen Pfeiffer, Ryan Gibbons

Historically it has been proven that technological speculation becomes reality.

Technology that was dreamed of in 1960’s science fiction is reality today — video conferencing, cell phones, space stations and more. Possibly the only thing more exciting than knowing this is knowing that the technology we dream of today will become a reality before our lives are over.

So what do you want to see in the future? If you’re anything like we are, the longer you think about this question, the more excited you become. This week, we discussed with some friends this question over plates of Braiden Halls’ finest grilled cheese sandwiches.

How cool would it be to have transparent laptop screens with touch technology, with the display generated by points of light sent through some kind of transparent conductor of electricity?

What if that technology was combined with a laser-projected keyboard that can display on any flat surface? You’d have one slick piece of hardware, in our opinion.

That keyboard, by the way, is already available for $160 on http://thinkgeek.com — the one-stop shop for all things holy to nerds like us. Moving on, if your particular technology fetish isn’t for things already commercially available — the most recent glimpse into the future we had as of late was reading about certain technologies being worked on at Purdue and Britain’s Ministry of Defense. They’re making things invisible.

That’s right, they are working on an actual cloaking device; both have working designs and in Britain, the Ministry has already made a vehicle disappear. It uses a camera system to project images from around the object onto the tank itself. The project will produce invisible tanks by 2012, according to the researchers’ predictions.

In the coming years, even the docking control center computers from “The Matrix: Revolutions” will undoubtedly begin to look antique. As always, Apple seems to be trying to lead the revolution, recently applying for a few patents that will bring personal computing to a whole new level.

Probably the most interesting is the so-called Gaze Vector. This concept renders your mouse obsolete by using the Web cam built into many new laptops to track your eye movement relative to the screen and use the information to, say, bring a window forward or click on a link.

Other possible uses of the camera include facial recognition which could give computers the ability to sense emotions such as frustration in the face of its user, prompting it to see if it could be of help, or perhaps guiding you to Web site full of small puppies. Finger movement identification is also a possibility, making the idea of using finger gestures to control your computer a reality.

Due to the general lack of tanks around campus, odds are, very few of us will be taking advantage of cloaking anytime soon.

However we may soon find ourselves enjoying our time spent on shiny new computers just a little bit more. At least until cloaking comes out for individual use so we can take it to class and not get called on.

Staff writers Glen Pfeiffer and Ryan Gibbons can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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