Advances in microelectronics is making yesterday’s science fiction into tomorrow’s future inventions.
Scientists at the University of California have implanted beetles with miniaturized electronics that allows the insects to be controlled.
Research presented at a conference in Italy demonstrated a new technology for creatiing “cyborg insects”.
The flying beetles receive wireless signals from a mobile transmitter that controls the insect. Varying impulses trigger an appropriate response from the beetle so that it flys according to it’s handler.
The insect can be made to take-off, land, hover, or follow a given flight path.
Previous research concentrated on moths but giant flower beetles were easier to operate and could carry larger payloads because of their size.
Further advances with nanobots and miniaturization will allow heat sensors and cameras to be embedded into the bugs. The insect could then be used for surveillance or search and rescue missions.
This future invention is a device for delivering medication and vaccinations through the skin.
As an alternative to injecting a needle, micro-poration is a painless method of transferring medication (intraepidermal) into the body using laser technology.
A handheld laser creates micro pores in the epidermis of the skin for the transfer of molecules.
It has a familiar comparison to the “needle-less” device used by Dr. “Bones” McCoy on Star Trek. The popular sci-fi series has inspired more than a few new inventions including the “laser” and the “Cell-Phone”.
This new micro-poration technology is painless to use and requires no supervision to administer. The interfaced controls regulate the dosage.
Scientists at Standford University are developing future inventions using e-Texiles.
This new class of flexible, stretchable and lightweight clothing would function as rechargeable batteries.
Cotton and polyester fabrics are dyed with an ink made from carbon nanotubes, which are electrically conductive carbon fibers that are 1/50,000th the width of a human hair.
The electronic properties of the fabric are maintained even when the clothing is washed. Researchers believe that the e-Textiles will eventually allow us to use our clothing as gadgets – talking to a friend through our shirt sleeve or surfing the web on a pant leg.
One of the future inventions in health care may be the development of a spray gun for regenerating skin tissue.
The Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM), recently established by the U.S. Department of Defense, is funding research into the regrowth of bones, muscles, tendons, nerves and blood vessels.
The University of Pittsburgh’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine will join a consortium of 30 institutes in regenerative research.
Last year, a pathologist at the McGowan Institute regrew the severed fingertips of two patients in their mid sixties. Existing scar tissue was removed by an enzyme. Scarring inhibits regrowth, however cells derived from pig bladders can override the scarring process and attract cells and proteins needed for growth.
Another researcher with Wayne Forest University, is developing an inkjet device with cartridges containing tissue cells with growth factors. The device would dispense layers of tissue onto deep flesh wounds for healing and regrowth.
For surface wounds, a hand-held sprayer is in development, which sprays immature skin cells (called keratinocytes) onto the skin. Clinical trials with burn victims have been promising. The advantages of this technology compared to “grafting” is that it eliminates patchwork scarring and uses less skin.
“Conventional methods cannot return people to the way they were before” says biochemist Alan Russell, but it’s within the grasp of science.
A house that walks
A new prototype house walked around the campus of the Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridgeshire, England.
The eco-friendly house is powered by solar cells and minature windmills, and comes with a kitchen, a composting toilet, a system for collecting rain water, one bed, a wood stove for CO2 neutral heating, a rear opening that forms a stairway entrance, and six legs.
A collaborative effort between MIT and the Danish design collective N55, the house walks about five kilometers an hour similar to the walking speed of a human.
The legs reguire a software algorithm to calculate the movement and position of the legs to provide stability over varying terrain.
The house can turn, move forward or backwards, or change height as required and can be programmed with GPS way points for travelling to destinations.
Wow, so I guess if you park your house one evening some where in Huntington, New York; The next morning when you wake up you’ll find your self in the China Town…! Guess no need to buy a car or take a taxi, why would you…having a walking house.
Do you need a ride? No thanks I’ll take my house!