The Star Wars latest movie got most of the buzz and well-deserved hype this holiday season.
So we wish to introduce you to the latest tech available now that was first introduced as a vision of the future in the iconic George Lucas movies – not that long time ago.
Remember how cool it was to see for the first time the way everyone in the Star Wars movie could communicate with each other with the help of those small holographic images? This amazing tech showed a person via holographic 3D projection in order to create a feeling of their presence in the room even when they were galaxies apart.
Holograms have become a reality and are already used for entertainment purposes – to show artists performing their songs in front of live crowds. However, if you would like to have your own DIY version of a hologram, there is a handful of videos on YouTube to instruct you to make a cheap holographic projected images and videos by using your tablet and smartphone. It is easy to make and I suggest that you try – it will amaze you and all you will show it to.
Even before C3PO and R2D2 existed, a term robot was widely used in science-fiction works. For some time now, we’ve had industrial robots that help build and manufacture products, medical robots, hazard-response robots and many more types operating in the real world. As of lately more resources are invested into developing a humanoid type of robots.
Japan is leading the development of cutting edge robotics. Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro has made and is devoted to making lifelike androids that resemble human beings. He made an exact replica of himself, an android called Geminoid. It was a robot he used in experiments where it acted as a remote teaching device that enabled him to teach his students while being at a different location at the same time. As technology keeps breaking barriers of what is possible, we may soon get our very own robotic butlers, but if that seems like a far stretch, I’ll point out that retailers are already selling house cleaning robots available at reasonable prices for some time now.
When Luke Skywalker gets his hand cut off in a lightsaber duel with Darth Wader, it is seamlessly replaced at a futuristic clinic and as we can see, later on in the Star Wars movie, the artificial hand enables him to function as though he never lost it in the first place.
Over the years, there have been groundbreaking advancements in the research and development of artificial limbs. New plastics and other materials, such as carbon fiber, have allowed artificial limbs to be stronger and lighter, limiting the amount of extra energy necessary to operate the limb. The use of electronics has become very common in artificial limbs.
The current research efforts are focused into enabling sensory feedback that will allow the wearers to experience almost exact sensations as if it were a biological limb. There is already pressure detecting artificial hands that can grip with precision, and progress has been made into making artificial skin that will relay sensory information to the user. There are already professional athletes that use custom-made prosthetics efficiently and some of them even grant them an advantage when competing, so perhaps in the future, humans will opt for enhancing their abilities and thus transcend the limits that our natural bodies impose on us.
4. Space travel
We, humans, are already a space traveling species. Truth to be told, our current means of traversing space is our greatest limiting factor since we have the ambition to visit galaxies that are so far away. Recently, some great achievements have been made. Two private companies have managed to launch rockets and recover them afterward. Moreover, in doing so, they greatly reduced the cost of each next launch. That means that we are entering an age of commercial space flight in the next 20 years. But rockets to some may seem as a dangerous means of reaching stars, but not to worry there is another way.
Single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane Skylon is currently in development by the British company Reaction Engines Limited and will be potentially reusable for 200 flights. In paper studies, the cost per kilogram of payload carried to low Earth orbit in this way is hoped to be reduced from the current £1,108/kg (as of December 2015), including research and development, to around £650/kg, with costs expected to fall much more over time. The vehicle will be unpiloted but also certified to carry passengers.
Perhaps we are upon an age where we could reach the edge of space in a commercial flight as we do now every day when we board a commercial airliner. And maybe in a not too distant future, humans will be able to own their very own shuttle for interplanetary travel, just like in the Star Wars movie.
Image source: Star Wars official website