12 Sci Fi Surprises of the year 2009

Over the years, Sci Fi flicks have given us many a gadget to drool upon. And along the way, many gadgets, which were fat first a preserve of the movies, became an integral part of our daily lives. In this feature, we bring you a few oh-so-wow gadgets that could soon change the way we live. Sit back and enjoy the show.

Brain Computer Interface
Communicating doesn’t necessarily mean talking. It doesn’t mean writing either. Then what is it? According to Dr Christopher James of the University of Southampton, it is sitting in front of a computer and letting it do all the communicating. We are talking about a Brain Computer Interface or BCI which let’s a person communicate through his or her brain signals. This is achieved using a complex amalgam of computers, electrodes and the internet. Essentially, people can find out what you are thinking without you even uttering a single word. From now, it is not going to be , watch what you say, it will be watch what you think. Scary, but could soon be true.
Medical Plasma Knifeg2 
After Luke Skywalker iconized the light saber in Star Wars, the US Military has similar plans up it’s sleeve. But, in this case, it will be used to save lives than take lives. The US military has been field testing this Plasma Knife which can provide urgent medical help to the critically injured in war zones. The plasma knife uses ionized gases to penetrate flesh and literally seal a fresh wound. This, would stop bleeding and act as a life saver till the soldier is shifted into a full fledged medical facility. Wonderful technology.
Samsung Gesture Sensing Holographic Displayg3 
Tom Cruise wowed the world in Minority Report with gesture sensing. Now, the South Korean eletronics major, Samsung, wants a place in the spotlight with it’s own encore of the gesture sensing hologram. Samsung has come out with a holographic display that reacts to human gestures. Now, although this technology has made it’s way into commercial reality, there is a long way to go as it isn’t as quick as the conventional touch screen displays. That said, the technology looks extremely promising. Watch out for refined versions. Meanwhile, take a look at the video we’ve lined up for you.
Mind Reading Technologyg4 
You wouldn’t want to get caught in the wrong side of the law any time too soon in the future. Researchers are in the process of developing a brain scanner that can actually read your thoughts. While the technology hasn’t yet matured to function as a complete thoughts scanner, for now, it is able to pick up bits and pieces of information. In the future, we could have full fledged systems that will make lying impossible. Time to stop lying? Well, don’t you worry, you have some more time to go before this technology finds it’s way into copland.
Laser Powered Lightcraftg5 
Remember the book, Around the world in 80 days, which you read as a kid? Your kids could read a book called Around the world in an hour. Yes, all that and more could be possible with laser power. What’s more, this technology is even undergoing tests in Brazil. To give you a gist of what this technology is all about, it involves a ground based laser that powers an aircraft using laser pulses. A giant parabolic mirror on the aircraft will be used to control the laser and heat the surrounding air to five times the sun’s temperature. This will cause mini explosions which will propel the aircraft. If things go as per plan, you could be flying in one of these sooner than you imagine.
Sixth Sense Technologyg6 
Here is some more Sci Fi movie technology. Take a look at the Sixth Sense technology which researchers at MIT have developed. Instead of scaring kids silly, this technology could help greatly simplify decision making and could place vast amounts of usable information at your fingertips, well literally. The technology in it’s current form uses a micro projector, a camera and a cellphone, all connected to the internet. Using these, the technology will project information about objects around you. Here is what Pattie Mae of MIT, has to say about the very cool Sixth Sense tech. 
3D interface from Sony and Atracsysg7 
The Japanese electronics giant Sony too, has some motion sensing plans afoot. Here, Sony has teamed up with Atracsys to create the 3D touch interface that claims to emulate stuff from the movie, Minority Report. Here, the gadgets involved include a dual camera-based system that tracks and analyzes body movements in three dimensions, in real time. Now, this could just be the technology that PS3 users have been lusting after. A video would be a better explanation for this technology. Take it away. 

Hovering technology from Cornell
We’ve had an overdose of minority report tech here. Let’s move on to something that could make you glide across terra firma, just like a butterfly. Cornell University researchers have just found out a way to make it happen, using superconductors and permanent magnets. This will work as long as the temperature of the superconductor is maintained at below 88 Kelvin. Whoa, that is frigid. Now, let’s hope that the researchers come up with something that can maintain this frigid temperature. Keep an eye on this technology because it could vastly change the way we move around.
Wireless Electricityg9 
We all hate wires that become a huge nuisance once they get tangled. Right now, the nuisance can only get more profound as we surround ourselves with an ever increasing number of devices. To make things a little more simpler, researchers at MIT have devised a way to transmit electricity wirelessly. Though a home filled with wireless electricity sounds more than a little scary, the researchers allay fears about this by saying that this technology is very safe. 2011 could herald this game changing technology into the commercial market. Bring it on we say.
SBIG Allsky Camerag10 
For a long time now, we’ve heard a lot about UFOs but seldom seen them. All this could change with Santa Barbara Instrument Group’s Allsky Camera. This high resolution camera is capable of staring at the sky all day capturing information about weather, meteorites and of course UFOs. The Camera can also be powered by the sun and is enclosed in an all weather casing. Since, it is priced at a terrific $2,195, a lot of people can now make use of this previously unheard of technology. 

MIT’s BlindAid
MITs researchers are in thick of the Sci Fi action with products that are futuristic yet usable. Here is something to substantiate the previous statement. MIT’s Touch Lab has unveiled the BlindAid navigation system software. What is essentially does is, it maps the room that a blind person has to navigate, beforehand. This, in association with the robotic arm called the Phantom, a blind person can touch and feel the objects in the room. Thus, it will make it greatly simple for the blind person to navigate in the newer surroundings as and when he/she reaches it. A terrific way to make life easier for the blind. Kudos, MIT.

Opto-Electronic Contact Lensg12 
Heads up display or the HUD was once a staple feature of fighter jet. Slowly, it filtered down to passenger cars and now, it is heading straight into your eye. Yes, Dr Babak Parviz, of the University of Washington in Seattle has developed an opto-electronic contact lens. A semi transparent array is embedded into the contact lens. The array is capable of picking up 330 micro watts of power from a tiny RF transmitter. Thus, you have your very own HUD display, right in your eyes. Though currently a prototype, it could become a wearable reality in the near future.


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