Saturday, January 1, 2011

Get On It, Science!

A lot has happened in the past decade, technologically speaking. We could get online ten years ago, but most of us weren't connecting to the Internet on our laptops wherever we stopped for lunch. We weren't yet keeping in touch with everyone we knew through Facebook. We weren't entertaining ourselves by watching Miley Cyrus and kittens riding a Roomba on YouTube. We were listening to music on CDs. Our cell phones didn't play music or take pictures or connect to the Internet.

So we've made some great strides, and our gadgets keep getting smaller and faster. It's hard to imagine how much more we can do. According to Back to the Future II, we're only four years away from getting our flying cars.

Not sure if that will happen, but here are a few things I'm hoping we'll see in the next ten years:

Vehicles like those bank tube things. Once I punch in an address into the GPS, I should be able to hit "Send" like I'm making a deposit in the drive-through lane at the bank, then take a nap or read a few books on my b-reader while my tube car whooshes me to my destination.

Which brings me to...

The b-reader. I read a lot of books this year (Thirty-five if I counted right, including a couple of audiobooks.) But there are so many more I wanted to read. Before I can get to the next book in my to-be-read pile, I hear about five more I want to read right now. Downloading instantly onto an e-reader wouldn't help much. I need something that downloads a book instantly into my brain. 

One end of the b-reader will plug into a USB port on your computer, and the other will stick to your forehead like an electrode. Click on what books you want to buy from an online bookstore, and the whole story is transmitted to your brain. It should just take a couple minutes, so keep your wish list full.

Video call Photoshop application. With videoconferencing like Skype and iChat, video calls may become more commonplace. But do you want to worry about how your hair looks every time the phone rings? What if it's 2:00 in the afternoon and you're still wearing your pajamas? Or you're at the mall while taking a sick day from work? With a couple clicks on our phone's touch screen, we should be able to select a hairstyle, touch up skin imperfections, and choose background scenery. By the time you answer the phone you'll be looking well-rested yet productive. (Unless you're supposed to look bad because you're at home sick. In that case, click the "death bed" background.)

Rosie the Robot. The Roomba's been around for a while, but The Jetsons had their own robot that did all the household chores, and I think it's time we each have our own Rosie too. Maybe we're not too far off: I found this article "Finally: Rosie the Robot Comes To Life" in the science section of the Houston Chronicle blog. The robot "completed 50 out of 50 attempts to fold a single towel and also folded 5 out of 5 towels when they were presented in a group." That's more housework than I accomplish in a week.

The kittens will just have to find something else to play with.

So, what are you hoping to see in the next decade? What would make your life easier and free up some time for what you really want to do?


  1. I know, I hate missing out on good books because there's no time to read everything!

  2. I want shoes that come when you call them.

  3. Oh my, that would be handy, Leigh, however creepy.

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  5. How hard would it be to design one of those Buck Roger machines, where you order a three course dinner into a wall microphone and it appears within seconds, piping hot?

  6. I can't believe I didn't think of the automatic meal thing, Miriam. since I used to draw those on the spaceship panels I made as a kid. Yes, we need those in the kitchen!