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Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

What side are you on?

It is crazy to think how far technology grows in the world of cell phones. I can’t seem to finish out my 2-year contracts before another revolutionary smartphone hits markets and I regret my decision to upgrade so soon. Although we have already discussed the demanding market for the next best thing. It came to my attention that we have hit a sudden slump in the world of smartphones. This year when my contract went up in February I decided to hold out and snatch the newest smartphone as soon as it hit the market, the problem? There hasn’t been a new one.

I currently am a blackberry user and was looking forward to their newest creation but after such a long lag in new product releases, I decided I would switch over to the new iPhone 5 because it had been so long since the iPhone 4 was released.  Here I am in April and still stuck with my old blackberry.  There have been a lot of speculations why there is a sudden stalemate in the smartphone war. Some blame it on the issues iPhone had with the iPhone 4 release and the antennae problem while others claim it is the new competitor in the Android causing Apple to step up there game. Instead of the usual Blackberry vs. iPhone war a new player as been added to the shuffle. Google Inc. has entered the world of smartphones with the Android.  Google’s phone has had so much attention some claim it is even better than the iPhone and will knock blackberry off the market for good.  Now, with the added player to the smartphone fight my decision to get a switch just became twice as hard. With Android being compared to Windows PC and the iPhone obviously representing Apple systems, where does the blackberry stand.  Not many people remember the Palm Treo in early 2000 that has faded from the smartphone market because blackberry stole their thunder with a better operating system that provided more user friendly capabilities and more reliable technology. Now that there is a new phone to compete with the iPhone, is the blackberry a thing of the past?

I feel a consumer obligation to the blackberry after two years of satisfied use, but what can I do if the Android and iPhone provide a new generation of smartphones and Blackberry fails to rise to the challenge.  For now I am team Blackberry with a strong inclination to switch to iPhone if they are able to release the new iPhone 5 any time soon. But the increasingly positive reviews of the Android with its very consumer friendly advertising campaign makes a strong argument to forever abandon the Blackberry. With smartphones that already start cars, turn on security alarms, scan credit cards and display HD movies, it is hard to imagine what our phones will be doing in 10 years.

Can you see the future?

I am sure everyone has been bored on an airplane and opened up the latest version of SkyMall to check out the latest in gadgets and home accessories.  One object in particular always catches my eye: iWear VR920.  For the cheap price of $399.00 you too can have the world’s best-selling pair of virtual reality glasses.  Not only is the customer able to look like a character from The Matrix, but they also get to experience the wonders of a virtual reality. There has even been experiments if this virtual technology could be used with medicine to help patients psychologically heal from injuries.  Although the iWear glasses are sold on a commercial basis for personal use, advances in technology could discover a way to help patients recover from psychological events or help train combat fighters to decrease deaths.

With all new inventions, there are many faults in the product including the stability, and the graphics of the virtual reality. But like all new age technology, once the original is created it can only be improved from there. So who knows, maybe one day we will only communicate through a virtual world, or maybe the reality of Chew-Z and Can-D is not far in the future.  The Vuzix iWear glasses are able to track your head movement so the character reacts to your movements and provides to equivalent of a 62-inch screen from a safe distance of 9 feet.  These revolutionary glasses give the viewers a full immersion into the virtual world of the game of their choice. Not only do viewers get to experience their favorite games in a 3D experience, but they will feel like they are a part of the game.  The concept of virtual reality glasses brings a whole new meaning to the concept of gamer addiction as they feel they are physically in the game.

The technology of the virtual glasses can easily be improved with lighter designs, better graphics, and faster movement tracking technology.  After such advances in technology it is not far fetched to think that maybe one day we will be able to slip on a pair of glasses and join the Avatars of tomorrow in a foreign land where we cannot die and virtual cyberspace becomes our reality.

 

Is the tablet worth the buzz?

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Forbes has called the tablet the “buzz word” of 2011 and it truly seems that the tablet has taken over these days. You walk into a coffee shop and find everyone engrossed in the shiny and small tablet device. I never thought about the invention of such a portable device because, well, we already have the laptop.

Currently Apple rules the tablet market, with the iPad, which launched the tablet industry. Apple has sold over 14 million tablets since it first went onto the market in April 2010 and they are expected to have over 7 billion dollars in sales by 2015. The iPad started the tablet craze and now dozens of new tablets are on the market, including the Motorola device tablet. I came across this commercial for the new tablet device from Motorola and was captivated by its unique take on the evolution of the tablet and the comedic qualities of the advertisement. The commercial not only portrays past literal tablets, such as the Rosetta Stone, but presents and ridicules what is thought of today as the tablet, such as Motorola’s biggest tablet competitor, the iPad.

I am not the biggest advocate of the tablets, but I must say I’m beginning to see what others see in them due to their size, shape, and capabilities (its like a hybrid between a phone and laptop). The iPad has boasted about the enhanced experience that comes from using the tablet. The multi-touch screen with the bright LED-backlight makes images come to life. The 9.7-inch high-resolution screen allows one to experience a unique way to surf the Internet, watch videos, and multi-task all at the convenience of ones fingertips (literally, since the iPad is a touch screen device).  All these features draw you into the beauty of such a portable device.

The tablet seems to be the next logical step in the evolution of the portable computer but the main question stands: Is a tablet a better device to own than a laptop? Though the craze right now is the tablet, in a few years the tablet will be seen as an obsolete device and a new and smaller device will be the “buzz word.”

Will the tablet be able to last like Ralph Numbers in Rudy Rucker’s book Software, or will it disappear into the technological past.  It’s up to you to decide if the tablet really is a buzz or if it is simply a fad that will fade away.

Jeopardy! Hosts Epic Battle of Man Versus Machine

February 17, 2011 3 comments

This week marked a historical landmark for game show fans and technology enthusiasts alike.  Over a two-game competition, Jeopardy’s two highest-winning contestants of all time competed against an IBM-designed supercomputer, Watson, in a new test of man against machine.   Relying on the equivalent of 2,800 powerful computers connected in a high speed network, with a memory capacity of over 15 trillion bites, Watson functioned independently to communicate with Alex Trebek and respond to clues – with neither internet connection nor human assistance to aid him.

Representing the human race were Ken Jennings, who in 2004 earned over $2.5 million over a 74-day winning streak, and Brad Rutter, who accumulated over $3.2 million in regular season-play and other Jeopardy tournaments since his debut in 2000.

Watson (middle) displays its superior handwriting

This situation raises some interesting questions about the competitive relationship between man and technology.  To what extent can a man-made machine surpass the potential of man himself?  Can a machine comprehend complex information provided directly from human interaction?  How autonomous are modern super computers?  Do machines appreciate Alex Trebek’s dry humor?

Watson’s performance alone answered many of these questions.  Between the two games, Watson’s winnings accumulated to $77,147, compared to Jennings’ measly $24,000 and Rutter’s embarrassing $21,600.

Watson, deep in thought and looking confident

While the large supercomputers that power Watson had to be kept in a room backstage, the avatar that stood behind the podium between Jennings and Rutter had a unique presence on the show, seeming at times to be wiser than a mere collection of wires and hardware.  Aside from having a human name, Watson’s “face” would change colors and display threads of light representing thoughtwaves based on its progress and confidence as it pondered its answers.  Additionally, its monotonous electronic voice seemed to possess an unwavering air of superiority.

When asked about his experience competing against Watson, Ken Jennings stated, “I had a great time and would do it again in a heartbeat.  It’s not about the results; this is about being part of the future.”  Spoken like a true second-place competitor, Jennings did not seem overly concerned about seeing a machine beat him at his greatest skill in life, playing Jeopardy.

Should we really be as excited as Jennings about this future?  Watson already displayed his dominance over Jeopardy – how long will it be until future generations of super computers exceed human ability at other tasks?  If Watson can play Jeopardy, what other jobs could it be programmed to do?  Surely it could handle the analytical demands of many popular American jobs, and don’t forget – Watson doesn’t show up late for work, sleep on the job, take sick-days, or demand comfortable work conditions or a fair salary.

Perhaps Watson’s success marks a step forward  in time toward a world in which man himself will fall obsolete to the power of his constantly evolving technology.  But even though Watson was able to answer questions more accurately and quickly than its human competitors, it does not necessarily represent a threat to mankind’s mental capacity and dominance.  To prove this, I have one question for Watson:

How did it feel to compete on Jeopardy?

Not so smart anymore, Watson.  Machine may have won this round, but the future of man’s relationship with technology is still in our hands.

For more information on the technology behind Watson, and to watch Watson compete on Jeopardy, watch this recording of the episode on YouTube: 

Imagination still King

February 4, 2011 1 comment

Future technology Photography small  Lens cameraTechnology continues to advance each day and with each new discovery people are amazed by what humans have accomplished.  We think of how far we have come and everything that our new technology can do for us to make our lives a little better.  We think about how innovative we are and how impressive our skills as inventors are.  While most people may be in total awe of what we are able to make, I think about something else.  I think about the power of our imagination and I think about how it will always outpace any technology humans will ever create.  The picture to the right is what some people believe to be the future of photography.  The huge lens can take a snapshot of whatever it is looking pointed towards and it immediately streams the digital information to a computer.  My reaction to this future camera was at first a sense of awe.  No doubt it looks cool andserves its purpose quite well.  But then for some reason I though back to when I was 5 years old.  If you asked me then what the best way to take a picture I probably would’ve told you something along the lines of, “Oh, just make a box out of your fingers, put it

Concept Phones Of The Future 2

up to your eyes and say snap.”  Now that may seem totally ridiculous, but back then my imagination allowed me to believe that I could really take a picture using only my hands and my eyes.  So although that future camera may seem really high tech it still is far inferior to the camera my imagination was able to create.  Another example of this phenomenon was only a few years ago in 2007 when Apple announced that they were coming out with a “touch screen” ipod.  Before I had seen the actual prototype I though to myself wow that’s pretty cool they’ve actually come up with a totally flat touch screen.  What I imagined was actually very similar to the picture to the right.  As soon as I heard touch screen I thought it would be a clear flat screen with almost no depth.  However, the actual ipod touch fell abruptly short of my expectations.  Even today they have yet to develop and shelf a product like the one I imagined.  Technology will continue to progress, but it seems that simple imagination will always be years ahead of any invention.