A Great Time to Love Technology

slime moldI love science and technology and I read dozens of different on-line publications to see what is going on in the telecom and related science worlds. I find something interesting almost every day in my reading due to the fact that there is so much R&D happening around the world. But last Sunday in a very short period of reading I was struck by the sheer volume of new stull that scientists and engineers are working on. I want to share some of what I found in one short hour of reading as a way to highlight how amazing the world is right now. I read recently that all of human knowledge is now doubling every two years and I can believe it.

This article talks about how slime molds can be used as a more efficient way of designing complex circuits. I’ve done a lot of hiking in my life and slime molds are those veiny orange-yellow molds that you find growing in dark damp places in old woods. But it turns out that slime molds ‘move’ by following nutrition and they can be tricked into following the best paths on circuit boards and highlight the most efficient path to take in a circuit. Now that we are trying to make smaller, faster and more energy efficient chips and boards, every breakthrough like this helps.

There is also now a technology for building a circuit that be applied to your skin like a heat tattoo. This means that almost any technology that can be put onto a small circuit could be cheaply adhered to your skin for personal use. The initial application is probably going to be medical, like the sensors people wear for sleep tests. But soon you can apply a cell phone or a host of other electronics to your skin to wear while you go hiking or running.

How about a biodegradable battery that can melt inside your body? Currently, when you need a medical device that needs power it means an operation to put it in and another to take it out. But this concept means that a wider array of devices can be implanted for things like treating cancer that will just be absorbed by the body when they are done.

In Australia they have come up with a robotic kangaroo that can recapture much of the energy used to propel it. And that recapture of energy is the breakthrough because it means that we can build robots and other machines that can be made to need far less external power to operate. Obviously we can’t build a perpetual motion machine, but this is getting closer.

There is a new 3D printer that only costs $200 and that can print a coffee mug in half an hour. That is getting to the point where people can actually 3D print things they need like replacement parts for an appliance. You don’t hear a lot about this, but 3D printing frees the world from reliance on factories and might be the most transformational technology out there soon.

And finally, there is now a working model of a battery charger that uses biological semiconductors that can charge a smartphone in 30 seconds. This kind of technology could finally free us from worrying about keeping our portable devices charged since things could be recharged in the time it takes to go get a cup of coffee.

These are just the wow sort of technology things that I found in half an hour of reading. In addition to these items I ran across a long list of more telecom specific things that happened last week including things like Sprint offering $650 to move large family plans. Xbox is going to be putting out interactive programming where you can see the show from the perspective of different characters. Qualcomm is coming out with really fast new chips that are going to make for blazingly faster smartphones next year (made note to hold off on buying new phone this year). Leaked documents show that Google has plans for a major Android TV. It is a great time to be a techie, for sure.

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