5.05.2009

Weird science

We're chest-deep into the age of information. Makers of machines like the Kindle are replacing books, Ipods have replaced CD players and the internet seems like it is replacing everything that I found normal as a child.


And I love it. I love how far humanity has come in such a short time. Within one hundred years, we've advanced further than any civilization before us.


And it seems that technology is beginning to tread some strange grounds. Here's a look at four of my favorite technological advances:

Chocolate fuel

Vegetable oil and waste from a chocolate factory fuel a British all-natural Formula 3 race car. Even the car itself isn't made from plastics and metal. Instead, the scientists who invented the car used everything from plant fibers to soybean oil foam.


I certainly have no problem with the idea of running a car on chocolate. The idea is far from harmful. It's just strange that anyone would think of running a car on chocolate waste.


Mind control earphones

Just kidding. Japanese scientists have been tinkering with how to play with the nerves in peoples' ears. There's a lot of neurology behind the explanation, but here's the short story: you can make people move wherever you want them to. Sounds like fun, right?


The video (linked above) mentions that the device could be used as a navigation system for pedestrians. By plugging into a Global Positioning System, you can literally be pulled toward whatever destination you're trying to reach.


This means that, if someone were to hack into your earphones, they could control your every move. A slightly unsettling prospect, but at least you can avoid being led around by the ear. Just don't wear the earphones.


Telepathy helmets

Our own military has been working on this since at least October of last year. The prospect of our troops having a constant uplink to one another is actually a smart idea, and I have no real objection to it. A quote from a lead scientist on the project is what makes me a bit shaky on the idea:


"It will take a lot of research, and a lot of time, but there are also a lot of commercial applications, not just military applications."


Commercial applications. I would be horrified at the idea of any company getting their hands on this technology.


Mental twittering


That's right. A man named Adam Wilson created a helmet that can read your thoughts and create a Tweet (status update on Twitter ) with your mind. This doesn't have me worried so much as entertained. And there are real, practical uses for this technology. A device like this could bring definitive proof on whether or not people in vegetative states have thoughts, and are still aware of the world around them.


We've come a long way since the Industrial Revolution. And while some of our inventions seem a bit quirky, but I can't wait to see what our scientists can think of next.


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