This time last year, we looked at some of the most incredible inventions underway for 2010. An electric eye to help the blind see, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope to find other habitable planets, a SixthSense wearable gestural interface to bring the digital world to life with the touch of your fingertips…
Now, here is a look at some more amazing innovations in store for 2011.
Oh Google! Is there anything you can’t do? Giving us the power to access the world’s information in a matter of seconds, now you join forces with Toyota to bring us motorized sofas on wheels! Otherwise known as driverless cars. These specially designed Toyota Priuses are the same as the regular Prius (full hybrid electric mid-size car) with the addition of cylinder-shaped sensor (the vehicles eye) attached to the roof. Using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car it mimics the decisions made by a human driver.
The aim is not only to create more efficient and environmentally-friendly cars but also to help prevent traffic accidents, free-up people’s time and eventually reduce car usage.
Seven of these robot-cars have already been tried and tested, and drove more than 140,000 miles with very little human control. These hybrids are not yet for sale and for now, only accessible to its employees.
Have you ever been stuck in traffic and wished you could just say ”Go Go Gadget Car” then lift off and fly right over everybody? China’s new straddling bus concept (which is not a giant female monster riding a school bus), designed by Youzhou Song of Shenzen, is about as close as it gets- and promises to be the new solution to the country’s pollution problems and highly congested roads.
This 18 ft tall, 25 ft wide public bus, which can carry up to 1,200 passengers, is powered by a combination of municipal electricity and solar power derived from panels on the bus’ roofs and at bus stops. It travels at an average speed of 25 mph (40 km) and could reduce traffic jams by 25 to 30 percent on main routes.
The New York Times reports the straddling bus could replace up to 40 conventional buses, potentially saving the 860 tons of fuel that 40 buses would consume annually, and preventing 2,640 tons of carbon emissions.
Plans to start work in China should begin this year.
Image source: tech.blorge
3D seems to have taken over the home entertainment industry overnight and now Toshiba smugs its other 3D TV competitors saying “Pfft… 3D glasses are so 10 minutes ago!”
Toshiba has already launched 12-inch (~$1,400) and 20-inch (~$2,800) versions of its glassless REGZA 3D TVs. The company plans to unveil prototypes of 56-inch and 65-inch models at CES and will probably launch two models, one over 40 inches and another over 50 inches.
How it works:
Using the integral imaging method which enables natural 3D viewing. Essentially, by simultaneously showing several pictures from different positions and angles, the viewers left and right eyes can see different pictures creating a 3D effect without the help of bulky glasses.
Watch demo video:
Toshiba has also been putting together 3D concept laptops based on the technology and could be ready to bring a glassless 3D laptop to market by the end of the year.
Image source: Engadget
Ask just about anybody (that doesn’t have a fear of heights) what superpower they wished they had- and I’ll bet the ability to fly would probably top the list. Personal flight will become possible thanks to the Martin Jetpack (which is not a jet or rocket-powered) and will sell for a hefty sum of $100,000.
The Jetpack, designed by Glenn Martin of New Zealand’s Martin Aircraft Company, uses a premium gasoline engine with 200-horsepower and two ducted fans to provide lift. It can reach a speed of 60 miles per hour, an altitude of 8,000 feet, and fly for about 30 minutes on a full fuel tank.
Unlike earlier devices called “jetpacks”, the Martin Jetpack is the first to be considered a practical device. Initially designed with the leisure market in mind, commercial demand for the Martin Jetpack has seen the research and development program focus on readying the product for use in a number of sectors including emergency response, defense and recreation, with numerous applications in each sector.
Watch this mega hunk of carbon-fiber in action:
Image source:Freer Logic
MIT researchers are developing a microchip that will enable a blind person to recognize faces and navigate a room without assistance, helping the blind to regain partial eyesight. The chip, which is encased in titanium to prevent water damage, will be implanted onto a patient’s eyeball. Users are required to wear special glasses fitted with a small camera that transmits images to the titanium-encased chip, which fires an electrode array under the retina that stimulates the optic nerve. The glasses will help to power the coils surrounding the eyeball.
1. Sixth Sense
SixthSense is a wearable gestural interface that bridges the gap between intangible digital information and the tangible world. Using natural hand gestures to interact with information SixthSense is comprised of a pocket projector, a mirror and a camera which allows you to interact with objects in a way never before possible. You can take a picture simply by framing scenery with your hands or even hold up an object at a store and find out all relevant information about it. SixthSense essentially makes the entire world your computer.
Read Top Tech Inventions Shaping 2011
Image & Info. Source: http://blog.sherweb.com