One of the awesome things about my job is that I frequently come across jaw-dropping products, gadgets and advances in the tech industry. Rather than hoarding these discoveries to myself, I've decided to start a blog series on mind-blowing technologies that already exist.
1. Smart Contact Lens
Earlier this year, we heard about the partnership between Google and Novartis to produce its ground-breaking smart contact lens that could monitor blood glucose levels through tear fluid. However, it’s clear the tech giant has other plans for this technology. In 2012 Google patented a lens with a built in camera, which could also be a serious game changer.
Google is testing a prototype for a smart contact lens that we built to measure glucose in tears continuously using a wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor. Image source: WIRED
The patent filing features a contact lens that includes an embedded circuit, camera and sensor. The control circuit could be linked wirelessly or via a wire to the camera and sensor. The sensor could be a light sensor, pressure sensor, temperature sensor or electrical field sensor... which would basically give the user a sixth sense.
One of the main benefits of having a camera embedded in a contact lens is that the camera frame would follow a person's gaze without obstructing their view as it's placed along the edge of the lens, away from the pupil.
2. Smart Expiry Label
Britons through away more than 4m tonnes of consumable food and drink from their homes ever year, but thanks to Bump Mark, a new sell-by-date label, vast amounts of perfectly edible food can avoid the bin bag.
Solveig Pakstaite’s Bump Mark. Photo by Linda Nylind. Photograph: Linda Nylind/Guardian
Whilst researching how blind people use public transport, industrial designer Solveiga Pakstaite, 22, wondered how blind people were able to check sell-by dates. This led her to produce Bump Mark, a bio-reactive smart label that decays and changes shape as the produce deteriorates. When the food is fresh to eat, the label is smooth and curved, but when it has decayed you can feel a plastic bump as you run your fingers over it.
Pakstaite was named as the UK winner of the James Dyson Award for its innovative solution to a widespread and costly problem.
3. Mood Altering Wearable
Thync has recently launched its mood-altering headset , letting you find a state of calm or boost your energy with controls on your smartphone. When you open Thync’s app, it quickly connects to the module and then lets you choose between two emotional states: calm and energy. Once you begin, you can dial the intensity of the experience up or down, giving you control over just how mellow or excited you’ll be at the end of a session.
Kyle Russell demos Thync's new mood-altering wearable in the video below..
Video source: TechCrunch - Youtube
4. Headphones that enable the ultimate customisable sound experience
Harman has long been one of the big players in the audio world, but its newest pair of headphones – the AKG N90Q – really takes the cake. The latest closed-back headphones in Quincy Jones’ signature line includes a system that adjusts the sound to fit the shape of your ear canal and introduces a new type of technology called TruNote.
Quincy Jones launched the premium headphones in New York in June 2015. Image Source: Express
TruNote uses two microphones in each side to measure the frequency response while you are wearing the headphones and then adjusts the sound to correct it for external background noise (so you can say goodbye to the intrusive sounds of construction work, babies crying or the hum of airplane engines) and other distortions that would affect how you are hearing the music.
The headphones also let you switch sound options to replicate a standard listening experience, a 2.1 speaker studio sound or a 5.1 speaker surround sound. They can also connect to a sound source via USB to provide full HD audio playback.
5. Invisibility Cloak
The U.S. military is backing the development of camouflage fabrics by Hyperstealth Biotechnology that could one day render their soldiers completely invisible. The ‘Quantum Stealth’ camouflage material, which is basically create the same effect as Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, makes the wearer blend into their surroundigns by bending light waves around them and can even fool night-vision goggles.
Image Source: Hyperstealth Biotechnology
Optical camouflage takes utilizes augmented-reality technology - technology pioneered by Ivan Sutherland and his students at Harvard University and the University of Utah in the 1960s . Augmented-reality systems add digital information to enhance and enrich a person’s normal sensory perception. Unlike virtual reality – which aims to replace the real world – augmented reality aims to supplement it with additional and useful information.
That's all for this week! Is there anything you think should be on our next list of mind-blowing technologies tweet @BurnsSheehan or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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