I am a long-time Futurist, and technologist. In my career, I have spanned the birth of personal computers, to the rise of Cloud Computing.
Seeing Beyond the Possible
As a futurist, I am always looking ahead to see beyond the art of the possible. And this is an exciting time for technologists because we are seeing exponential growth in just about every field, including still-nascent industries. In this article, I will discuss three emerging innovations:
- Self-watering soil
- Brain-machine interface
- Apple's Emergency SOS Satellite Feature
The focus will be on how science and technology can help us make the world a little bit better.
1. Self-Watering Soil
What if the very soil you are planting in could take moisture from the air? One of the things that I found interesting this week is that scientists at the University of Texas have developed a compound that could create self-watering soil. As a longtime fan of Frank Herbert's Dune series, I find this fascinating.
The solution produced 6L of water from a kilogram of the substance. As a frame of reference, this moisture got extracted from the air. Beyond helping drought-stricken farmers, you could use it for several applications.
Let's start with the compound I already mentioned. It does not pollute the environment and can be constructed and added to the soil for atmospheric moisture. It is pulling water from thin air! The coolest aspect of the compound is that, unlike other combinations of a similar nature, this one does not require an external power source to release the water.
They are early in their trials, and likely are two to three years out from making the compound commercially available. But I wanted to share a few of the potential uses.
- The first would be to lay this in advance of advancing wildfire. It would then take the moisture out of the air, and as the fire got there, it would run in the water. So it is conceivable to help reduce the impact of wildfires in the Western U.S. based on what happened this year in Europe.
- The other use is as an emergency water source for hikers and others, including the military. They could then generate fresh water without carrying it with them. Leave this out overnight, and then you have fresh water when it heats up in the morning.
2. Brain-Computer Interface
I talked last week a little bit about the concept of the BCI, or brain-computer interface. The initial goal of BCI was to help people that had lost the use of bodily functions due to illness and injury. But eventually, this could help us move down a path that I brought up many months ago: the concept of a wearable cell phone.
Where you carry a cell phone anymore, you have it with you. Part of the cell phone is inside of your body, and part of it is in your pocket. If you think about cellular signals, having an antenna sewn into your close would greatly increase reception and capacity for that cellular interface to interact with the network. So BCI is another way science works to help those who need it, but building something that will benefit all of us.
3. Apple's Emergency SOS Satellite Feature
Another technology I find incredibly interesting is integrating a satellite phone and a traditional cellular phone. The iPhone 14, released in 2022, will be the first phone to offer that service. You can utilize the satellite network for SOS texting outside a cellular network, which many are calling a game-changer.
This iPhone feature will greatly increase the safety of people in terms of always getting help no matter where you are. Additionally, it also will increase the network for those who need a connection when they are outside of the cell zone. It's an incredible boon, and even more so if you think about the integration that Apple has produced with its watch and the iPhone.
The Apple Watch and iPhone together will help those who wear those devices. For example, say you are biking, hit something, and fall off the bike. Even though you are unconscious, your phone will call for help. It will technically text your latitude and longitude if the satellite connection is the only one available.
The Future Is On Its Way
The future is always interesting; it is always coming. All of these technologies are real today because they are in testing. Except for the iPhone 14, they're not on the mass-market, but you can see already that the potential for change with these technologies is amazing.
If the soil additive truly will create self-watering soil, reducing the impact on the western United States in terms of drought would be significant. You would no longer have to have a lawn sprinkler system, you use self-watering soil, and your ground is always green.
The iPhone 14 will allow you to go anywhere without being concerned if you fall, injure yourself, or are unconscious.
Last but not least, the brain-computer interface, I have to say, is truly amazing. The capability of your brain interacting directly with the cell phone will certainly be impressive. Of course, the old joke will become a little more poignant. Did I say that out loud?
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 DocAndersen