Moore’s Law says that our computing technology’s processing power should double every two years. This trend, which was predicted in 1965, is moving at a faster rate than ever. Certain technologies seen “only” in sci-fi movies actually exist in the real world today – you just don’t know it yet. Here are five advances in tech that you’ll be shocked are a thing of the present, not the future.
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You think you love your iPhone now? Wait until it’s bendable instead of breakable. Samsung (not Apple, take note) has created the “Youm” bendable phone, now still a prototype but soon to hit the mass market. The phones utilizes OLED displays (organic light emitting diode), is completely flexible and is almost 100% unbreakable. Take that, shattered cell phone screen.
Contact Lenses for Diabetics
These new contact lenses are just so amazing that I sort of don’t believe they’re real. Brilliant engineers at the University of Western Ontario have come up with these smart (and fashion forward) contacts. Nanoparticles react with the glucose molecules in the wearer’s tears to change the color of the contacts when blood sugar drops too low. This means that diabetics and people who have to keep a close eye on their blood sugar won’t have to draw blood every day anymore.
Exoskeletons for Soldiers
Movies like Avatar, Elysium and Iron Man may have pictured the military men and women of the future, but the Raytheon Company has introduced an exoskeleton that’s being tested in the real world. GE created the Hardiman in 1966, which didn’t have the greatest results, but Raytheon’s Sarcos XOS, developed by Steve Jacobsen, is much closer to being a legitimate option for the military. Wearers get advanced strength and endurance, and there are two variations of the suit, one for combat and a second for logistics. The creators have to meet the military’s 8-hour fuel requirement, but beyond that, our soldiers are very close to having this 150-pound advantage.
The jetpack is one of those technologies that people have waited and waited for. We’re not really in “the future” until we have this gadget, are we? Martin Aircraft’s jetpack, though, will possibly hit the market in 2014, making next year admissibly the future. You’ve probably seen paparazzi photos of celebrities trying out jetpacks over the water, but you’ve assumed that they can only lift a person for a few minutes at most. The coolest part about Martin’s jetpacks is that they’ll provide up to half an hour of flight. Honestly, there aren’t any actual jetpacks used in the technology – instead, two huge ducted fans provide the liftoff. The catch? Each flying machine will go for a whopping $100,000. So…Hollywood’s elite are still going to be the only ones to enjoy the toys, but at least they’ll get to stay in the air for longer. Now all we have to wait for are problem-free hover boards and automatic shoelaces a la Back to the Future.
Okay, so this technology isn’t exactly sprayable coffee, it’s sprayable energy, but the title just sounded better. If you can’t stand hazelnut flavored java or sweeter-than-sweet Red Bull, but you so desperately crave that boost of energy that Starbucks drinkers are always bragging about, you’re in luck. Ben Yu and Deven Soni (21 years old and 33 years old respectively) have come up with bottled caffeine that can be sprayed on the neck or wrist, absorbed through the skin and then distributed through the body for several hours. For $15 a bottle, you’ll be brighter eyed than everyone who’s stuck in the past and still sipping lukewarm joe. Now say it in unison, people: “Why didn’t I think of that???”
Sara Wells is a tech writer and blogger. She writes on behalf of leading brands such as protectyourbubble.com, a cell phone insurance provider.