Entertainment

Top 5 Potentially Life-Altering Innovations of 2014

While the world continues to drool over the next iPhone, a few tech companies and entrepreneurs have been making waves with their revolutionary ideas. You may not be able to understand the long term implications of each product as soon as you read about them, but know this – each idea listed here has a phenomenal effect on industries ranging all the way from food to transport to medicine.

SCiO molecular scanner

Quite a lot of you own a smartphone. With it, you could do some interesting things like take pictures, surf the Internet, and you could download a series of apps that do all kinds of fancy things. But can it understand the objects around it?  Can it figure out the molecular makeup of anything around it, like the banana you’re saving for lunch? No it can’t!

That’s where SCiO (pronounced Sci – O) comes in. It’s designed and created by an Israeli startup called Consumer Physics, which collaborates with MIT, Stanford, CalTech, Harvard, Wiezmann Institute, the Technion and Tel – Aviv University. SCiO is a tiny molecular sensor that lets you analyze molecular structure of food, plants, medication, oil and fuels, plastics and wood. For example, you can get nutritional facts about different kinds of food – salad dressings, sauces, fruits, cheeses and much more. You can analyze soil or hydroponic solutions, you can know the well being of your plants and you can even upload and tag the spectrum of any material on Earth to their database, along with yourself.

How It Works

Once, you get your hands on the device, you just point the scanner to your object of interest and then it beams the data to your phone in real-time. That’s it! You will be able to view the molecular structure of the object.

The first batch of SCiO won’t be shipped to Kickstarter backers until January 2015. It will be sold to the general public in March 2015 for $249.

Budget Driverless Cars

Credit: Fortune.com
Image Credit: Fortune.com

Kyle Vogt, the founder of Cruise Automation is developing a car automation accessory that will be sold for USD$10,000. His “RP – 1” invention will be mounted on cars early next year. It pretty much works the same way as Google’s driverless car. Remember that? It has multiple sensors that scan the immediate area for routes and potential collisions.

It only works on the Audi A4 and the S4, for now. Vogt is hoping to modify the device so that it can be fitted onto any other car. And the crowd goes wild!

How It Works

Imagine yourself cruising on the highway in your Audi A4 and you just want to sit back and enjoy the ride. You can tap a button on an inbuilt interface in the car, and then let the system take over. The system is more of a driving aid, so, it won’t be fully taking over your car for the entire trip. It’s a highway autopilot. You can then regain control of the car by tapping on the brake pedal of by placing your hands on the steering wheel. You can check out the video here.

Glow In The Dark Trees

Credit: Fortune.com
Image Credit: Fortune.com

Daan Roosegaarde, a dutch designer and his colleague Alexander Krichevsky developed a way of splicing illuminating properties of Jellyfish with trees to create leaves that glow in the dark. Roosegaarde first unveiled his idea at SXSW.

He’s hoping to create a bigger version based on his small houseplant prototype and he is collaborating with the University of New York and Krichevsky, whose technology firm Bioglow unveiled genetically modified glow-in-the-dark plants early this year.

How it works?

Krichevsky creates the plants by splicing DNA from luminescent marine bacteria to the chloroplast genome of a common houseplant, so the stem and leaves emit a faint light similar to that produced by fireflies and jellyfish.

These trees could replace our streetlights and doing so, can have phenomenal benefits on our environment. It will also beautify our streets and our memories.  Check out Daan’s interview.

AnkiDrive

Credit: Fortune.com
Image Credit: Fortune.com

Anki is one of the first high-tech games to hit the market. Founded by Boris Sofman, Mark Palatucci and Hanns Tappeiner, you get to race your cars on a track controlled by your iPhone or your iPad. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Well, it does but there is a lot more to it than this.

There are no barriers on either side of the track because the cars can determine its own positioning using AI. The team also equipped your rides with EMP’s that you could blast to stop your rivals, fire missiles and you also get to hammer the gatling gun. You can also upgrade your system on the app with the points that you accumulate from racing.

How it works?

State of the art algorithms allow the cars to scan the track about 500 times per second to determine its exact position, its speed and trajectory. With the power of artificial intelligence, it can then interpolate this data to figure out where it is in relation to every other car on the track.

I am sure this can help me stay away from boredom. You can get yourself an AnkiDrive here.

PocketScan

Credit: Fortune.com
Image Credit: Fortune.com

Simply put, it’s a hand scanner that lets you scan anything you come into contact with. You may be wondering if you really need this, cause you own a smartphone. Yes, you might just need one of these handy devices.

How it works?

If you come across a document or a bill in a language that you can’t understand (this happens a lot to me), you can scan the document with PocketScan and it will not only recognize the text – in any language – but it will turn that scanned file into an editable document. You can do the same with pictures and the scanned images will appear in real time on your computer or your tablet as you scan them.

These 5 technologies aren’t the only worthwhile technologies of this year but they are noteworthy and optimistic. I personally am looking forward to get myself the SCiO and the PocketScan. What do you think? Do you have any suggestions for other life-altering innovations? Let us know!

 

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