Rapidly improving technology is poised to revolutionize nearly every aspect of life. From sleeping to working, the way that we live is quickly evolving, and many of the changes can elevate quality of life and make the world a safer (and more sustainable) place. This article looks at some of the most exciting technologies you should keep an eye on.
Good sleep is a critical element of good health and mental function. Sleep deprivation has been tied to diabetes, heart failure and high blood pressure, among other conditions, and can also contribute to obesity and depression. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly difficult to diagnose sleep disorders because sufferers do not always connect their symptoms to poor rest.
Smart beds might be one solution to this problem. China has recently unveiled modern bedroom technology in its preparations for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. According to Olympic Village employees, player beds contain advanced censors that can track heart rate and breathing, along with other physical data. This, in turn, can be used to track the quality of rest that sleepers are getting.
Smart beds could become a tool that allows people to keep an eye on their sleeping patterns and take note of any changes. Consider it something of an early warning system for potential problems before sleep deprivation sets in.
Virtual hospital space
Virtual technology allows players to do everything from visiting museums to playing their favourite games with digital currency from the comfort of their own homes. The reliance on this type of technology has grown exponentially over the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and today many people expect to complete most of their business without leaving their homes. This includes healthcare, with increasing numbers of people turning to virtual care in the face of hospitals overrun with patients.
In response to this rising need, virtual and modular medical spaces are becoming more specialized. When used to its fullest potential, this kind of technology allows hospital staff to go wherever the need is greatest, rather than staying in a stationary location. Many minor issues can be treated virtually, while healthcare professionals can treat a smaller group of patients with more serious issues in person.
In addition to making healthcare more accessible, this design would cut down on the costs associated with building new hospitals and allow medical staff to offer care in areas that need it the most much more quickly. It can take up to 10 years to build a traditional hospital, but with virtual space and modular units, patients can receive help well before the structure is complete.
While the idea of electric driverless vehicles zipping down city streets might have lost some of its appeal after well-publicized accidents in recent years, the technology continues be refined and perfected. Ideally, this kind of vehicle would actually make the roads safer by eliminating some of the guesswork that naturally exists with human drivers. Reduced emissions are another potential boon thanks to the increased use of electric vehicles as driverless tech becomes more popular.
None of this means that autonomous vehicles are set to revolutionize society in a year or two. On the contrary, there is much work to be done to guarantee the safety of everyone on the road when driverless cars are concerned. However, the question of widespread adoption seems to be more of a ‘when’ than an ‘if’.
Brain-scanning computer chips might sound like science fiction to some. However, the technology is already creating an impact for Swiss patients. Scientists have designed a chip that scans the brainwaves of tetraplegic patients and interfaces with robot limbs. This allows the patient to interact with the world around them and could fuel self-controlled wheelchairs or even specialized limbs allowing people to pick things up or complete other tasks that limited mobility might otherwise restrict.
As the climate continues to change and attention is increasingly drawn to environmental pollution and other harmful issues, industries with poor environmental friendliness might find themselves in the spotlight. Food production is one of these. More specifically, dairy farms, which are responsible for 4% all carbon emissions, will likely find themselves in hot water.
Scientists are currently working on dairy products such as ice cream, cheese and milk that can be mass-produced from laboratories. Their goal is to create food that tastes the same as ‘natural’ food while eliminating – or at least reducing – a big source of environmental harm.
If the thought of driverless vehicles is appealing, wait until you hear about flying cars. Well, flying motorbikes, to be precise. Known as the Aero-X, early models of the vehicle are powered by a 240-horsepower engine, can hover at 12 feet or less, and can travel at up to 45 miles an hour.
While the concept is still in its infancy, flying cars have become more than mere fantasy.
Prosthetics that feel
Prosthetics are an incredible development that give patients the mobility to live their lives the way that they choose. One of their few downsides is the inability to feel. Individuals who have lost a limb and use a prosthetic do not have the sensation of touch.
That might be changing thanks to Johns Hopkins University engineers. The team has created ‘electronic skin’ that can be applied to prosthetic limbs and allows users to feel things as they would with their own hand. This includes sensations such as pain as well as the ability to interpret shapes and improve grasp accordingly.
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