Business and sports go hand by hand, but also hi-tech is now stepping in. A group of entrepreneurs from the Silicon Valley, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, PayPal and Yahoo, will start a professional soccer team in San Francisco, The San Francisco Deltas. They hope to use virtual reality to improve athletes’ performances – for example, the goalkeeper’s reflex – first in training and then in the actual game. Their ultimate goal is to have a new format in order to improve the show for the public.
The Olympic Games have evolved a lot over the years, the inaugural games in Athens in 1896 only offered nine sports. Many changes have been made since then, but every one of them is carefully thought through. While the Olympics and Paralympics are against the use of technological and motorized enhancements, the upcoming cyborg Olympics want to encourage people with disabilities to benefit from these hi-tech appliances, investigating if electronically enhanced humans have an unfair advantage.
After the publication of the book The Rise and Fall of American Growth by economist Robert Gordon our technology-studded society was tread on its toes once more with his, historically repetitive, conviction that all major technologies have already been invented. In his book he quotes PayPal founder Peter Thiel on the disappointing innovations of today: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters”. Gordon rejoices the economic growth after the second industrial revolution and the prosperity it brought the average joe, but on the flip side argues that we have arrived at a period of technological stagnation. Although his discourse is valid and substantiated, his point of view is essentially flawed simply because he is a human being.
Move the forefinger of your right hand up and down. Your finger seems to act automatically, with almost no mental effort. Still, a specific part of the prefrontal cortex needs to be activated to perform the coordinated muscle contractions. Researchers at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine succeeded in hooking up a prosthetic arm to the human brain.
Is the use of personal devices becoming a replacement for the spectrum of emotions that make us all humans? This discussion started a long while ago but opinions are still controversially parted. We buy the latest gadgets expecting them to make our life easier, but it seems they do more than just that. Most of the technology we use today can either be intrusive or supportive; how can we enjoy the benefits of our technologies while avoiding the negative consequences?
Researchers at the University of Southampton have discovered a way to store data in five dimensions on a nano structured glass able to survive for billion of years. Their first experiment with this technique dates back to 2013, when they successfully managed to record a 300 KB copy of a text file in 5D. However this time this high density, immutable storage is capable of storing up to 36 TB of data and will last (almost) forever.
Hopes for easier and more affordable transplant surgeries are getting higher thanks to a new bio-printer able to use living cells to 3D print body parts. US researchers described on Nature Biotechnology how they used this technique to grow ear, bone and muscle structures out of plastic-like materials and living cells matching those of humans, rats, mice and rabbits. The living cells would act as ink making it possible to produce human tissue in the laboratory.
Emerging technologies within the field of robotics are already being implemented in different sectors of our daily life. The general requirement is not that these robots perform perfectly, but just better than humans. Whether the discussion is about the much anticipated driverless car or about fully automated industrial production, the underlying fact is that this technology has the enormous potential to improve our future endeavors. Our medical system is no exception.