Time for a fun Friday post!
The blogs for the last month or two have been pretty dense with helpful tips and detailed information. It’s time to take a quick break from that today! And so, this blog will be about some of the most interesting and potentially useful inventions to have been created in the last year or so. Read on, check out the awesome new inventions, and start counting down the days until you can experience these inventions in person!
Paper USB business cards
I’m going to start small and tell you about the . According to its inventor, the swivelCard is a premium paper business card that has an actual USB drive built right into it. Basically, someone who receives a swivelCard folds it up into a precut shape, plugs it into a USB-capable device, and surfs/interacts with whatever the card is programmed to do! Furthermore, the card can actually help business card owners do analytics about how the cards are being used – it goes well beyond anything current business cards can do. Check out the swivelCard’s Kickstarter page for a video demonstration!
The Skully smart motorcycle helmet
Here’s a motorcycle helmet brings you one step closer to being Iron Man! The Skully is a sleek helmet that shows the wearer a heads-up display (HUD) which displays everything that’s happening behind her or him on the lower righthand side of the HUD’s field of view. Basically, there’s a rear-view camera built into the helmet that feeds the HUD with real-time video. Additionally, it gives a view of blind spots, can also optionally show turn by turn directions, vehicle telemetry, and GPS maps. It has a host of other features as well. I don’t have a motorcycle (or even a motorcycle license, for that matter), but I want this helmet regardless! If only to hear disembodied voice give me instructions as I move around!
Well, someone’s gone and done it. They spliced in whatever it is that makes jellyfish and fireflies glow in the dark (the substance is called luciferin) into plants. And now, they’re working on glow-in-the-dark trees. The developers had the bright idea of using bioluminescence as a possible way to cut energy costs. Given current energy trends, I really, really hope that they succeed!
The SCiO pocket molecule scanner
- You point the roughly-finger-sized SCiO at an object, and the SCiO sends light onto the object,
- The light bounces back and is captured by the SCiO,
- The SCiO breaks the light down into its component spectrum,
- The spectral information is sent to the SCiO company’s cloud computing facilities for analysis,
- The analysis is done and the results are sent back your phone in real-time.
I’m from the generation that grew up watching Knight Rider and wanting an intelligent talking self-driving car as a… pet? Friend? Well, we definitely wanted one, is the point! At any rate, what was pure sci-fi hokum in the early 80s is now much, much closer to being a commercial reality! Sure, the self-driving cars in prototype now aren’t loyal, sentient, self-aware companions (yet!), but they do fulfill the self-driving parts pretty solidly!
There are currently at least two variants. The pricier, more advanced version is Google’s self-driving car. The other, “budget version” is Cruise Automation’s RP-1 solution. Both are simply amazing!
Google’s entry is the full-package. It’s a car that has a full complement of sensors and software that makes it fully autonomous in driving. I repeat: The Google self-driving car requires no human intervention whatsoever. There’s no steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal. The passenger (because, really, s/he’s not driving) enters, straps in, pushes a button, and the car just goes. Sadly, this car is not yet ready for sale. Sigh…
By contrast, Cruise Automation’s entry is “budget” because it’s an add-on to an existing car. It’s a kit, rather than a car. You strap the sensor part to the top of your car, and the rest of the parts into the footwell. And then, presto! Instant pilotless car (caveat: It’s still undergoing extensive testing, but the results have been favorable so far!). At $10,000, it’s an amazing price point for something that can give you this functionality. One… minor… quibble: It’s only compatible with Audi A4 and S4 cars. So… it’s not exactly budget – it’s still for the well-heeled. Still and all, for something that was essentially impossible up until recently, it’s still amazingly affordable.
Final word for now…
I hope you had as much fun reading about these inventions as I had writing about them! Please feel free to leave your thoughts and impressions about these wonderful pieces of technology (or other interesting gadgets) in the comments below!
Technological innovations done right can do much to improve the human experience. That’s something that we at Cimpl take to heart. That’s why we’ve made such good use of automation to improve business processes! We’re Canada’s leader in IT and telecom expense management, and you should contact us if you want to know to optimize your organization’s use of IT and telecom resources!