Free Essay

Technology

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By sajidhussain
Words 2295
Pages 10
ISSUES PAPER

Date 28 March 2008

Subject ISSUES PAPER: Emerging Technology

Table of Contents

Introduction 1 Communications Technology 2 Green City 2 Nanotechnology 2 Personalized Medical Monitors 2 Robotics 2 Mind-controlled interfaces 3 Personal Networking 3 Smart buildings 3 The future of bio-technology 3

Introduction

History is full of life-changing inventions, the printing press, electricity, the telephone not to mention the foundations of medicine, transportation and computers and the Internet. It is well known that technology, coupled with knowledge and innovation have the potential to alter traditional concepts of the urban community. The cities to benefit from these changes are those with strong appeal for artists, creative individuals and younger educated people. The cities which have this creative skill base will be able to adopt and develop new technology.

Historically, Melbourne has a long history as a manufacturing city. However with the rise of China and Asia there has been a steady decline in the manufacturing industry in Victoria. Melbourne has revived itself as a knowledge city with higher education arguably being a key factor in Melbourne’s current and future prosperity (Committee for Melbourne, 2007).

Can Melbourne leverage from its historical base in manufacturing and knowledge to be a leader in emerging technology? It is well known that a city which can adopt new technology will excel in attracting business, making products and exporting services. Examples of the emerging technologies which stand to significantly alter the future of Melbourne are outlined in this paper. The second component of this paper is to review the innovative ways the City of Melbourne can use Technology to create a sustainable city for the future.

Communications Technology

The www has been integrated into financial, marketing, information and communication strategies of every major cooperation, education or political institution, community or government agency. Infrastructure provision is one of the factors currently constraining the growth of this technology.

For the City of Melbourne and its residents to compete globally in a world dominated by rapid flows of information, the infrastructure connecting the city to the commercial telecommunications network must be able to meet with future demands.
World wide aging of populations implies a loss in the global talent pool and intensifying of competition to retain those workers as magnets for further economic investment.

As a destination technology is critical. The majority of travel reservations are now booked online

Green City
Cities will need to innovate to be sustainable places. They will need to produce places, products and services in a way that use renewable resources, minimise impact and connect people with the environment.

Examples of technology being developed include:
Biomimicry which is the exploration of natural processes in human endeavour (Bioimicry 2008). This recognise that by integrating nature into a city the benefits are environmental, psychological and physiological.

Vertical Farming involves the construction of infrastructure for indoor farming on a mass scale. The concept of indoor farming is not new, what is new is the scale up of this technology to produce food for city population. Examples are available from (http://www.verticalfarm.com/ or http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/988/)

Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is going to play an important role in a number of sectors, addressing important issues such as health, energy and water. Opportunities over the next 10 years include enhanced water treatment, education, portable energy generation, vaccinations and low cost housing materials.

Along with opportunities are risks for workers and consumers. Environmental risk from the release of particles Business Risk involved with investment Risk to privacy when miniature sensors become ubiquitous.

Personalized Medical Monitors

Health in the future will include automated diagnostics which will make medicine more personal.

Robotics
Robots will be available which are free-roaming in the home. Examples that are already available include cleaners such as iRobot's Roomba and Electrolux's Trilobite and Friendly Robotics' lawn-mowing Robomow.

Joseph Engelberger, dubbed the "father of robotics" and now aged in his 80s, wants to see robots that help the elderly made a priority. Companies including Toshiba have been working on "life support partner" robot projects since the start of the decade and several Australian universities are world leaders in robotics research.
Mind-controlled interfaces
With the help of a piece of headgear that reads electrical activity in the brain, you will be able to think left, right, up, down, shoot, jump, and you will do it in the game. Recent demonstrations showed early success in creating such an interface. One recent start-up, Emotiv Systems, has a bicycle helmet-style controller, Project Epoc, that monitors brain signals and converts thoughts into game movements. Honda Research has demonstrated mind-control technology for moving the fingers of a robot hand. Important applications of this technology will allow the severely disabled to use their minds to break through the barrier of physical impairment.

Personal Networking

Personal networking
The future: When you meet someone new, shaking hands won't just be an exchange of pleasantries. You'll also share data directly through skin contact or wireless transfer. Your personal network will then share the information with your mobile devices.
Huh? Yes, your skin can transmit data - just like an electric shock, but without the zap. It's a nice trick that researchers are looking to put to good use. Japanese telecommunications giant NTT DoCoMo has achieved data rates of 10 megabits per second over skin. Devices including wristwatches and pens are also potential hubs for personal networking, with Hewlett-Packard demonstrating such concept designs in Sydney recently.
Smart buildings
The future: The walls really could have ears now. All glass and painted surfaces are doing a lot of extra work in the home and office, not least of which is reducing power needs. Windows automatically shade occupants as the need arises while generating power through invisible solar cells. Not only are robots living in the walls but the walls are doing their part, absorbing impurities from the air.
Huh? Big architecture is combining with small particles to achieve many things. The biggest is the possibility of smart systems embedded in glass-walled skyscrapers. SmartGlass International is already selling electronically controlled glass panels, with glass of varying opacity to control lighting, temperature and privacy. Solar cells can be embedded in window glass.
The Carvist Corporation is turning glass facades and roofs into solar energy systems capable of generating most, and perhaps all, of a building's power needs.
Smart paints are also ready to do their part for the environment. Not only can you buy kitchen and bathroom paints that prevent mildew, such as Perma-White (four litres for $78), you can cover a building in Ecopaint, from Millennium Chemicals, which absorbs smog-producing molecules, specifically nitrogen oxides.
Smart fabric
The future: Dry cleaning? That's for vintage. Now your jeans stay clean of their own accord. They're also more comfortable than ever, and waterproof - even bulletproof, if you like. If you're lost, just turn down the embedded music player and ask your jacket for directions. Oh, and then there's that invisibility cloak.
Huh? Already there are high-performance clothing lines with nanotechnology in the fibre. Nano-Tex fibre is being used in clothing and furnishing textiles to make them resistant to wrinkles, fading and stains with the capacity to cool or warm the wearer.
The list of fabric advancements is huge. LumiGram is a company making fibre-optic fabrics that radiate light. Tablecloths (from $571), tops ($325), cushions ($408) and bags ($211) are being made of this material. Sportswear makers are designing outfits to house your portable technology. Burton ski wear has teamed up with Motorola to create the Audex jacket ($899) with embedded Bluetooth systems for control of phones and iPods, with speakers and microphone. Even GPS is coming to such outfits soon. DuPont has launched tops containing Kevlar to protect against knife attacks.
Military applications of smart fabric will include embedded systems that monitor the whole body, diagnosing wounds and treating injuries. MIT has opened an Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies to develop suits with superhuman properties - flexible yet highly protective, with muscle-enhancing properties, light-refraction for near-invisibility and sensors for constant medical feedback.
Where's my flying car?
So much of the future is hard to predict, even the brightest minds can get it wrong.
"Everything that can be invented has been invented."Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." IBM chairman Thomas Watson, 1943
"Computers in the future may have only 1000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1 1/2 tons." Popular Mechanics, 1949
"640K ought to be enough for anybody."Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, 1981
"(By 2000), near space will be fitted with pharmaceutical factories and penal stations."Thomas Keneally, 1986
"Early in the next century, gym memberships may decline as the weight- and waist-conscious no longer need treadmills to burn off their favourite fast foods. All that will be required ... is to pop a fat-destroying pill."Wired magazine, 1996
The future of bio-technology
DON'T WORRY about that family history of heart disease, because gene therapy will soon clear all that up. Artificial limbs or an exo-kit will have you run, jump and lift like an Olympian.
Genetic research is already quite mature, although ethical debates will shape how it can be used. Will we get embryonic gene therapy or will genetic problems be treated only after birth? Best-case scenarios could include growing new organs from our own tissue and the arrival of vaccinations for cancer. The world's laboratories are tackling such areas as a matter of urgency, and one of the leaders is the gene therapy research unit at Westmead Children's Hospital, in Sydney.
Prosthetics already use amazing technology, with both realistic and high-performance options. Performance prosthetics, in particular, have a "cyborg" edge, offering users potential benefits over their original limbs. One Japanese company will next year offer an exoskeleton, the HAL-5 ($713 a month, left) for those who want to enhance their lifting capabilities.
The magic of nano
Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Any science or technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic". Molecular nanotechnology is the science that will bring us closest to this magical future.
We have mentioned some textile and architectural uses for nanotechnology but it is in the engineering of true machines and systems on a molecular scale that nanotechnology promises to change the world in amazing ways.
We could see Star Trek-style replicators, with nanobots that build whatever we want, including food, out of ambient atoms and molecules.
Our blood could be infused with machines that fight disease, heal wounds, and maintain a healthy level of fat in our systems.
Another possibility is a "utility fog", a cloud of networked nanobots running errands in the air around us, whether related to health or business.
While nanotechnology is still in the theoretical stages, it is close enough to prompt scrutiny of its ethical implications. Expect to be living in a very different world by 2050.
The future: When you meet someone new, shaking hands won't just be an exchange of pleasantries. You'll also share data directly through skin contact or wireless transfer. Your personal network will then share the information with your mobile devices.
Skin can transmit data - just like an electric shock, but without the zap.

Japanese telecommunications giant NTT DoCoMo has achieved data rates of 10 megabits per second over skin. Devices including wristwatches and pens are also potential hubs for personal networking, with Hewlett-Packard demonstrating such concept designs in Sydney recently.

Smart buildings
The future: The walls really could have ears now. All glass and painted surfaces are doing a lot of extra work in the home and office, not least of which is reducing power needs. Windows automatically shade occupants as the need arises while generating power through invisible solar cells. Not only are robots living in the walls but the walls are doing their part, absorbing impurities from the air.

Big architecture is combining with small particles to achieve many things. The biggest is the possibility of smart systems embedded in glass-walled skyscrapers. SmartGlass International is already selling electronically controlled glass panels, with glass of varying opacity to control lighting, temperature and privacy. Solar cells can be embedded in window glass.

The future of bio-technology
Genetic research is already quite mature, although ethical debates will shape how it can be used. Will we get embryonic gene therapy or will genetic problems be treated only after birth? Best-case scenarios could include growing new organs from our own tissue and the arrival of vaccinations for cancer. The world's laboratories are tackling such areas as a matter of urgency, and one of the leaders is the gene therapy research unit at Westmead Children's Hospital, in Sydney.

Prosthetics already use amazing technology, with both realistic and high-performance options. Performance prosthetics, in particular, have a "cyborg" edge, offering users potential benefits over their original limbs. One Japanese company will next year offer an exoskeleton, the HAL-5 ($713 a month, left) for those who want to enhance their lifting capabilities.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that we are in the midst of many changes in the world of marketing and advertising as new technologies are changing the way we move and live within a City. It is important to realise that although technology is developing we cannot become dependent on it.

References:

Biomimicry Institute (2008) Bioimicry Available online: http://www.biomimicryinstitute.org/

Committee for Melbourne (2007)

Binks P (2007) Emerging Technologies – A Brighter Future? http://www.equityresearch.org.au/files_pdf/weaving/Dr-Peter-Binks-Emerging-Technologies-A-Brighter-Future-NanoVic.pdf Weaving with Light Symposium (19 April 2007)

2001 Knowledge Valued Cities in the Digital Age (Available online: http://www.milkeninstitute.org/pdf/kvdc.pdf)

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