Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Future is Closer Than You Think

Intel announced that it's researching a technology that would allow devices like cell phones to recharge themselves from the harvesting of free energy in the environment. Tiny sensors would capture energy from sources as diverse as sunlight and body heat to power personal electronic devices.

There are already watches that run on body heat and prototype smart phones whose display screens double as solar cells.

There are quite a few uses for something like this. One example Intel gives is having an accelerometer embedded in a building powered by sensors that harvest energy from the radiation of a nearby cell tower. With no batteries to service and no power source other than the sensor, the device would completely self-contained.

It will be sometime, Intel admits, before this technology is ready to be incorporated in consumer devices. But when it does, the world is gonna change.

Imagine devices that need no recharging. That are completely self-contained. The possibilities are endless. Not just your cell phone could benefit. Anything that has a battery could benefit. Your cell phone, your computer, maybe even your car.

Combine this with the flexible semiconductors and we could soon be wearing our personal communicators. Think this is too like Star trek? Check this out:

We are on the brink of a new sea change. Within the next decade or two, we will see these personal devices change not only how they look but how we use them. Already it's hard to imagine not having a cell phone. My family doesn't even have a landline any longer. And the phone I currently have is a far cry from my first. That first one was clunky and almost too damn big to fit into my purse. The one I have now is so small I lose it sometimes and it has a 1GB flash drive so I don't need a separate MP3 player.

It's kinda like the difference between my original Mac and the Mac Mini we're looking at buying now. My original was all state-of-the-art and had an external disk drive so you didn't have to eject the operating disk to save a file. It had all of 512K of storage. It was a sad, sad day when the sad Mac appeared to let me know it was dead.

The Mac Mini we're looking at now has 120GB of storage and 2GB of memory. It blows away the old one in every measurable sense. This in just 20 years.

So, maybe, just maybe, we'll someday have a self-powered device that we can wear (and so not lose or have to dig for) that connects to the rest of the world, keeps us informed and more.


Maddie said...

Sad Mac! Oh noes! Where did you find that picture?

True Blue Texan said...

Ah, the power of google.