31 December 2015

Cloaking technology



The normal notions of invisibility, inspired by fiction, include Magical objects in the form of
  • ·        Rings
  • ·        Cloaks
  • ·        Amulets
  • ·        Magical potions
  • ·        Magical spells
  • ·        Mythical creatures (making themselves invisible at will, like leprechauns and Chinese dragons)


But now there are actually devices, claiming to create invisibility fields around objects in real life. But real life invisibility cloaks don’t look like a Harry Potter style robe that completely erases visual presence in an environment, which is what usually comes to your mind when you hear the term. In more realistic movies, invisibility cloaks tend to bend light around an object, making it look as if it’s covered in liquid mirror. In real life, for instance, they often tend to be solid objects that simply play perspective or reflective tricks on the eye( which isn’t even close to what is shown in the movies)




Secret ingredients? Not so secret…

To become invisible, an object must do two things:
  • ·     It has to be able to bend light around itself, so that it casts no shadow, (Meaning: you have to return the light to the same path it was pursuing before it hit the cloak; otherwise it casts a shadow.)
  • ·     It must produce no reflection.


While naturally occurring materials are unable to do this, a new class of materials called METAMATERIALS is now making it possible. These materials are composed of metal and dielectric composite films, created using a nano-transfer printing method. The films are layered in such a way as to create a fishnet-like pattern, which in turn allows the control of visible-spectrum light.

Limitation: “It won’t work for every frequency.”

Historic footprints:

·        The "invisibility shield," created by David R. Smith of Duke University and colleagues, inevitably set the media buzzing with talk of H. G. Wells's invisible man and Star Trek's Romulans. Using rings of printed circuit boards, the researchers managed to divert microwaves around a kind of "hole in space"; even when a metal cylinder was placed at the center of the hole, the microwaves behaved as though nothing were there.





The shield consists of concentric circles of fiberglass circuit boards, printed with C-shaped split rings. Microwaves of a particular frequency (limitation alert!!!) behave as if objects inside the cylinder aren’t there--but everything remains in plain view.

·        the Rochester Cloak is a surprisingly low-tech response to what is traditionally considered a high-tech problem: making objects invisible.The Rochester Cloak could make anything invisible, as long as the lenses can cover it. Theoretically, that means it's possible to make a military base "disappear" from the visible spectrum if you surround it with big enough lenses.
·        A researcher at the University of Texas at Austin has devised an invisibility cloak that could work over a broad range of frequencies, including visible light and microwaves. This is a significant upgrade from current invisibility cloaks that only cloak a very specific frequency — say, a few hertz in the microwave band — and, more importantly, actually make cloaked objects more visible to other frequencies. The UT Austin cloak would achieve this goal by being active and electrically powered.

Recipe 101:  make it invisible!

You can make a small invisibility device ( a Rochester cloak) at your home for around $100:
  • 1.  Obtain two sets of two lenses with different focal lengths. The first set will have one focal length while the other set will have a different focal length. You will have four lenses in total, which should cost you no more than $30. The lens provider will include the focal length information (sometimes denoted as FL) so you don't have to calculate it yourself.
  • 2.     Using an optics bench, select one lens with the first focal length and a second lens with the second focal length. Separate them by a distance that is the sum of their focal lengths. For example, if your first lens has a focal length of 50 centimeter and your second lens has a focal length of 30 centimeters, then separate these lenses by 5+3 = 8 centimeters.
  • 3.     Now, do the same with your remaining two lenses.
  • 4.     Lastly, you need to know how far apart to separate your two sets. This will take a little math, but here's an example using the same measurements in Step 2 D=[2 (3) (53) ]/ (5- 3) = 12 centimeters should be the distance between your two lenses with the focal length of 3 centimeters.



Why does the world need to be invisible?

The practical applications of an invisibility cloak are exciting in their own right.
·        Imagine nurses who can make their hands invisible so they don't obstruct a doctor's view during surgery,
·        Trucks kitted with cloaks so they can see right through their blind spots on the highway. 
Cloaking technology has more revolutionary applications than just turning a Klingon Bird of Prey invisible. Hopefully we'll see more of this technology for the betterment of human lives.


8 December 2015

The flying car- AeroMobil

It’s when dreams like this, turn to reality, that we realize how fast technology evolves, and it is truly worthy of appreciation. For decades, humans have dreamt of having a vehicle that could not only drive on the roads but fly as well, perhaps the 21st century has led to this turn of events. Since every individual can’t be a billionaire and afford a private jet, automotive designer Stefan Klein has come up with a design of a flying car. After working on this car for over 2 decades Stefan has finally achieved what many failed to do over the past centuries.



Prototype information..

The prototype of the AeroMobil has the following features that you should know about:
  • ·        Body- A Steel framework, carbon-fiber body and six-pound carbon wheels keep the vehicle light weight.
  • ·        100 horsepower, 4 cylinder Rotax 912 engine runs on conventional fuel and can be refueled at any gas station
  • ·        Wings- Tuck neatly into the body when vehicle is on the street, after folding width increases from 1.5 meters to 8.2m. ( with wings folded up it fits in a normal-sized parking space )
  • ·        Made for two people it can have a maximum speed of 124mph as a plane and 99mph as a car.
  • ·        Testing: A few tests that were carried out previously have been proven to be successful, only a few more tests are left to be carried out. The creators drove the 4th prototype in October ’14 named AeroMobil 3.0 in Slovakia. More than 800 feet off the ground and completing about 12 miles in a circle the test was successful.
Apart from this features included in the design are autopilot, safety parachute, complex engine, piloting controls and many other things.

photo source: www.aeromobil.com

photo source: www.aeromobil.com

Disadvantages

The possible shortcomings that one can think of in such a scenario are:
  • ·        Whether or not it can be considered a safe mode of transport?
  • ·        The skill set required to operate such a vehicle and on what basis can one qualify to drive/fly this vehicle?
  • ·        How economical are these vehicles in terms of a long term perspective?
  • ·        How to prevent mid air crashes with other air-borne vehicles?
This invention has the ability to change the face of future transportation; however a lot of laws and existing norms need to be considered before making any decisions.

photo source: www.aeromobil.com
photo source: www.aeromobil.com



21 November 2015

De-extinction: the new trend!









Is that your twin? How can you possibly be in two places at the same time? AAAAAAAAAAA run.. ghost!! I just saw you walk through that door and now you’re there again, or are you just spamming the doorway again and again?! 



Yeah well this is the expected reactions at present of all earthlings, to what might possibly be the future. Well what I’m talking about here is cloning. Something of the sort that happens in the movie, Island featuring Scarlett Johansson. Remind you of anything? Well it doesn’t happen exactly the way portrayed in the movies; A clone develops exactly the way a normal human does, needs a surrogate mother and ample time to grow into a fully developed individual.





Cloning is just so unnatural!

For all those who think cloning is unnatural, think again! It was pretty basic high school biology that everyone studied about Asexual reproduction, well recall those processes.
  • ·        Bacteria, yeast, and single-celled protozoa multiply by making copies of their DNA and dividing in two. Like the ditto from Pok√©mon.


  • ·         Redwood and aspen trees send up shoots from their roots, which grow into trees that are genetically identical to the parent- like roots dividing into more roots and forming more trees

  • ·         In the animal world, the eggs of female aphids grow into identical genetic copies of their mother—without being fertilized by a male.

  • ·        If a starfish is chopped in half, both pieces can regenerate, forming two complete, genetically identical individuals. Like chop up Patrick form ‘SpongeBob square pants’ and you’ll get two separate Patricks growing from those two pieces, imagine the horror!
  • ·         Even mammals form natural clones: identical twins are a common example in many species.


De- extinction be the new shiz!

Suddenly why do I bring this topic up when we’ve practically been watching movies, documentaries etc. based on this for over a decade now. I know it isn’t a new concept but well some new discoveries caught my interest.
The passenger pigeon was hunted to extinction 99 years ago, but researchers are planning to use DNA from museum specimens to bring the bird back to life.


How will this happen?

Step 1: sequence the genome of the passenger pigeon and compare it to that of the bird’s closest living relative, the band-tailed pigeon, to pick out the most important variations.
Step 2: Edit the genome from the germ cell of a band-tailed pigeon to transform it into that of a passenger pigeon.
Step 3:  Implant this germ cell into another pigeon, likely a rock pigeon, where the researchers hope it will migrate to the gonads to produce sperm or eggs. Two of these birds will be mated to create a passenger pigeon chick. At least that’s the plan.

Dolly the cloned sheep.


Where’s the problem?

·        The nucleus of an egg cell needs to be removed for cloning; this means removing the proteins essential to help cells divide, is removed. Cloning mice is not a problem because they are able to make these proteins again, but this doesn’t happen in primates- so monkey cloning failed.
  • ·        Cloned animals often have different kinds of genetic abnormalities that can prevent embryo implantation in a uterus, or cause the fetus to spontaneously abort, or the animal to die shortly after birth.
  • ·        The extremely high rate of death, and the risk of developmental abnormities from cloning makes cloning people unethical.


 Let’s just hope that this technological development overcomes obstacles only for the better, and not lead to Human extinction!



4 November 2015

Kinect: Xbox 360 secret!

The story uptil now..

It all started in 1962 with ‘Spacewar’, the first of its kind and then there was no looking back for the video game industry. This ever evolving field of technology has touched millions of lives, be it a 6 yr old or 60 year old, it has taken control over the minds of all; its like puppets to the puppet master, slaves to the owners, zombies controlled by their masters- the players to the video games! The journey of the evolution of this technology is commendable. The essential part of a video game, without which it can’t be played is-...
Well you guessed it right- the CONSOLE!  The development from first to eighth generation of these consoles has been quite impressive. But the nineth generation of consoles will see something that will not only change the video game industry but all of science and technology for the better.Have you ever thought of telepathy? Something similar to what is portrayed in the movies- make the car move just by thinking about it, make the computer type whatever you want to, and make the robot walk just by imagining it. This is how the console will work, on the concept of Brain computer interface.
A glimpse of eigth generation technology : 

A brain computer what? Let’s rephrase- Neurogaming

For all the gaming lovers out there, I’m not talking about the brain of the computer- which is a CPU. We’re talking about a brain computer interface! Yes, sounds pretty alien like. Well controlling your online player without having to even move a finger is what we’re talking about. Yes! Now I’ve got your attention! All you have to do is imagine the player going right, the player will automatically take a right, imagine it jump, kick, box, whatever you want, however you want it to be, the player will do as u wish! The technology behind this miracle is BRAIN COMPUTER INTERFACE. It’s like controlling the player with your brain, like telepathy. The electromagnetic waves generated by your brain will be caught by the console which will enable you to control the player.


How does it work?

·        Using non-invasive Brain computer interface (BCI), Neurogaming enables the users to interact with the console, without the use of a traditional controller like a joystick or a motion controller wand.
·        Meaning- make the player move on the screen without even moving a finger. These neurogaming softwares use a player’s brain waves, heart rate, pupil dilation, expressions or even emotions to complete tasks or affect mood of the game.
·         For example, game developers at Emotiv have created non-invasive BCI that will determine the mood of a player and adjust music or scenery accordingly.
·         Interaction between a player and the software in such a manner is aimed at providing a more realistic gaming experience.
·        Utilizing the user’s ‘psychological state’ will help transfer reactions of users to their games in real-time action.
 A glimpse of the future of gaming: 



How does gaming help the world?

Earlier in this article I had mentioned “nineth generation of consoles will see something that will not only change the video game industry but all of science and technology for the better”. All those who think I’ve lost my mind, well i haven’t, yet! What I primarily meant by that statement is- the applications of this technology vary from the field of gaming to biology. For those whose lives depend on gaming to those whose lives actually depend on this technology for survival, it will change everything.


 Saviour of the day

This technology can be used for assisting, augmenting or repairing human cognitive or sensory motor functions. Ranging from limb replacement to bringing back vision to the visually impaired, this technology will serve as a means to provide life to those who had lost hope. It’s a saviour, so let’s welcome it with open arms.


23 October 2015

The journey doesn’t end here



This famous tagline is making headings all around the world, maybe, because it is associated with a name which everyone chants day and night in times of need. Take a guess- this brand is the one you look for, as soon as you switch on the internet- one of the biggest names of the 21st century. THIS IS GOOGLE! And I’m talking about their new thing in the market, GOOGLE GLASSES! It was only a few decades ago when we had inventions like Laptops and mobile phones coming into existence-In an era where there was no way to communicate over thousands of kilometres laptops and mobile phones bought the world to your feet , within a touch of a button. Call it the next generation or the future of electronics but Google brings to you the world not even a touch away- just voice commands- Yes! GOOGLE GLASSES ARE THE FUTURE!




So Google jumped into the eyewear business now!?

Contradictory to everyone’s expectations Google glasses aren’t like your other pairs of Ray-Ban or Gucci, it aims at providing a ubiquitous computer- in simple terms- you’ll get to wear your computer all around with you. According to Google these are “DESIGNED FOR THOSE WHO MOVE”.

Are they worth it?

These glasses were basically designed to give an all hands free smartphone display. It can be used to communicate via natural language voice commands and the use of internet. Developed by Google X- the research department of Google which is also involved in developing the autonomous car- the Google Glass has all the features of your regular Smartphone,
·        2 GB RAM
·        16 GB total memory (12 GB usable memory)
·        Prism projector for display (640x360 pixels)
·        Sound- Bone Conduction Transducer
·        Voice commands through microphone, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor
·        Camera- 5MP, videos-720p
·        Connectivity- Wifi , Bluetooth, micro USB
·        Power- 570 mAh Lithium ion battery
·        Weight- 43g ( Yes! Just 43 g)
A timeline-like interface displayed on the screen is controlled by a touchpad located on the side of the Google Glass, just by swiping through it. Sliding backward shows current events, such as weather, and sliding forward shows past events, such as phone calls, photos, etc.
These are basically an all in one pair of glasses which help you navigate, play music, send a message etc. so where is the problem.


Perfect, or maybe not!?


  • Other than the touchpad, Google Glass can be controlled using "voice actions". To activate Glass, wearers say "O.K., Glass." Once Glass is activated, wearers can say an action, such as -"Take a picture", "Record a video", "Hangout with [person/Google+ circle]", "Google 'What year was Wikipedia founded?'", "Give me directions to the Taj mahal", and "Send a message to Rajat".
  • For search results that are read back to the user, the voice response is relayed using bone conduction through a transducer that sits beside the ear, thereby rendering the sound almost inaudible to other people.
  • People wearing such eyewear can record private conversations. The "Find my Face" feature on Google+ functions can be used to identify strangers and misused, violating privacy rights and creating security problems.
  •   Michael DiGiovanni created Winky, a program that allows a Google Glass user to take a photo with a wink of an eye, while Marc Rogers, a principal security researcher at Lookout, discovered that Glass can be hijacked if a user could be tricked into taking a picture of a malicious QR code, demonstrating the potential to be used as a weapon in cyber warfare.
  • In post soviet countries like Russia, Ukraine, etc. with laws prohibiting the use of devices that can record video, audio or take photographs in an inconspicuous manner, the legality of the Glass is still in question.
  • The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) announced a ban on wearable technology including Google Glass, placing it under the same rules as mobile phones and video cameras.
  • Cyber forensic experts have raised concerns over potential threats from software programs that are compatible with Google glass and can be used to steal Smartphone and tablet passwords.



We hope that google is able to resolve these privacy issues by launching appropriate applications which will enable them to publicly launch this device for sale.


5 October 2015

Solar Cars racing ahead..



With the world solar challenge not even 2 weeks away let’s take a look at this emerging technology and the possible future of cars. Contrary to popular belief humans might end up relying on this technology far more than expected, with the natural resources vanishing at a fast pace, the Sun might be the only saviour.

Materials significance..

Since the solar powered cars are a bit different from the petrol/diesel cars that we see today they have quite a unique design and special materials used are:
  • ·        Photovoltaic solar panels- They are the power source of the car, and usually very delicate and expensive.
  • ·        Titanium composites- These are lightweight materials usually used to manufacture fighter jets.
  • ·        Batteries-Lead acid batteries used in conventional cars are too heavy, therefore nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH), Nickel-Cadmium batteries ( NiCd), Lithium ion batteries or Lithium polymer batteries are usually used.  
  • ·        Carbon fibre
  • ·        Fibre glass
  • ·        Narrow wheels- to reduce friction with the ground

Also since the cars in the race are hand made by specialized teams, the cost rises in addition to the materials used.


Advantages:

  • ·        Efficiency- Solar energy powered cars can utilize their full power irrespective of the speed, unlike conventional cars.
  • ·        No expense required for running the car.
  • ·        No annoying noise made by solar cars; unlike conventional cars, solar cars are quiet.
  • ·        Solar cars are a very low maintenance affair.
  • ·        One of the biggest advantages- Solar cars do not produce harmful emissions.

Disadvantages:

  • ·        Solar cars don’t have the speed or power that regular cars have.
  • ·        In the absence of the Sun solar cars can only operate for a limited distance. If there is no sunlight for many days, the car battery will not charge.
  • ·        A good solar powered car is expensive, about $200,000 or more.
  • ·        Solar car parts are not produced in bulk, hence are expensive.


Solutions:

The disadvantages seem to outweigh the advantages, hence the solutions for this are:
  • ·        Installing super chargers,  the one like Tesla motors just came up with, storing power in big batteries and recharging stations could help customers in times bad weather and cloudy days.
  • ·        Since the solar cars are a rarity hence the car parts are expensive, once mass production of these car parts starts it will reduce the cost upto a great extent.
  • ·        To increase the efficiency of solar cars we could possibly come up with some sort of hybrid versions for these cars. The hybrid versions will not only increase speed but also power of the car. A combination of wind power and solar power might prove to be beneficial. Also regenerative breaking could be of great help in this respect.



If the solar car were to make its mark in human history, the right time would be now. After the autonomous cars the solar cars would be a big achievement in world of technology, let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best.

12 September 2015

Samsung holographic phone

Life would be really easy if we could explain what we we’re trying to say with small illustrative holograms and Samsung brings you just that opportunity. Whether you want to explain your business model to your boss with a small prototype or help your kid learn about various animals and objects, it’s as easy as clicking a button. Samsung has filed patents to for a technological device that could display holographic images.
But don’t get your expectations too high, these aren’t as good as the holographic videos you see in movies or other high tech products.






Recipe :

  • ·        1 Device with a normal screen and body
  • ·        1 light guide member (light emission device) placed right above the screen
  • ·        1 entrance optical member (another thicker material) right above the guide member’s surface
  • ·        1 image hologram above it’s surface (it will be spaced laterally above the light emission device).
  • ·        And…

.
.
TADA!!!!!! You’re holographic Smartphone is ready.


The holographic image stored in the image hologram will be displayed when light is emitted by the area corresponding to the entrance optical member (step 3 of the recipe). It will be displayed right above the light emission device.


DISCLAIMER!!!


 (for all those who don’t like being disappointed, please read before you buy the actual product)


Smartphones have limited space and resources, meaning implementation of this technology will only provide us with small holograms and images.

Big companies like Samsung and Google keep filling numerous patents for insane and awe-inspiring innovations like these, but whether or not they’ll introduce the devices in the market or not, is a question no one can answer but them. Rumor has it that the Samsung S7 is expected to have these holographic features but news is that Samsung is only experimenting in this area.


Who knows what will happen but it would be so cool to use such a product, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best!!