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Thread: Technologies that should have been invented by now

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    Lightbulb Technologies that should have been invented by now



    I sometimes wonder what will be the next revolutionary technology that will change our life. Not many people would have thought 20 years ago that our lives would so soon be ruled by the Internet and smartphones, and that one could do so many things with a smartphone: taking high-quality photos and videos, editing them, holding video conferences, recording conversations, downloading any music from anywhere, asking an app (like Shazam) to recognise a song for you when you don't know its name or who sings it, and so on.

    My question here is: what kind of device do you think could be developed with the current level of technology and that hasn't been invented yet ? I sometimes have cool ideas but I forget to write them down then I forget. I guess I am not the only one. Let's remedy to that and post them here whenever we think of one.

    Today's idea is a device/app that would allow people to compose their own orchestral music based on voice recognition. It would basically use the same type of music recognition as Shazam, which also appears to works when one hums a song properly. I often make up new tunes in my head, but unfortunately never learned solfège to write down musical notes and compose my own music. I also don't play any instrument. But I am a big fan of classical music and memorized many symphonies and concertos by heart. Wouldn't it be great to be able to compose your own symphonies and concertos without having to learn solfège, or even if you did, without having to write down every note or imagine the combination of instruments in your head ?

    The program I foresee would recognise the notes one is humming, then allow the apprentice composer (good name for the app, btw) to choose what instrument and how many of them should play that particular tune. The user would be able to test the tune with any instrument, combine tunes with various instruments and test and adjust the whole composition the way he/she likes. I think that such composition programmes already exist, but require the user to input the notes manually in the computer or play the tune with an instrument connected to the computer (or with the keyboard). The big change here is that one wouldn't need to know how to write down music on a score or play an instrument to make music. All one needs if to make the music in his/her head and hum it correctly. All the technology to do this already exists. We just need someone (or a company) to put it all together.
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    Some weeks ago I came up with the idea of installing pulse oximeters into smartphones. I thought of myself being very ingenious minded until I found out that proto-types of this already exist. But as simple build pulse oximeters per se are not very reliable yet, I can't think of broad application of it in near future. Unless you sell it as a fun application under big marketing campaign ("Received an exciting sms that took your breath away? Check your pulse and oxygen content NOW!")
    Nevertheless, even respiration and heart frequency measurements are still in progress getting simplified, so I think applications as such becoming integrated into smartphones is just a matter of time. There's already an iPhone version with an installed glucometer. I'm convinced that the smartphone as a medical kit and instructor for emergencies for everyone will come soon!

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    Be careful what you wish for Maciamo...

    http://evolver.fm/2011/08/08/3-iphon...o-write-songs/

    Now you have to keep your word. We are waiting for your first symphony. :)
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    As recently as a few decades ago most of the developed world was still using asbestos, an extremely carcinogenic substance, as an insulator for constructions. There are dozens of insulating materials, such as mineral wool, fiberglass/glass wool, plastics (polyurethanes, polyisocyanurate, polyethylene), cellulose, concrete, and basic natural materials (cork, wood fiber, cardboard, straw, wool).

    The problem is how thick layers have to be to useful either as thermic or phonic insulators. I am surprised that more efficient insulators have not been invented yet. I dream of a world where bricks, plaster or painting would be self-insulating thanks to the addition of an efficient new chemical structure (safe for health) into their composition. Insulation will become one of the most important things in our future as the human population grows cities get more crowded.

    The importance of noise pollution on health, well-being and mental efficiency is still vastly underestimated by too many people. It should be vital to be able to sleep (and work) in a perfectly quiet environment, which is close to impossible nowadays except if one goes live in an extremely remote place, far away from any sign of civilization (cars, trucks, aeroplanes).

    Energy must be preserved, and insulation already makes it possible to keep a construction cool by hot weather and warm when it is cold outside - so basically have a passive building, something all of us should aspire to.

    To keep insulating materials safe, it might be a good idea to copy natural materials (such as cork) and improve them by creating a similar but denser chemical structure. The idea would be to develop a new "magic" composite material like Kevlar, but for insulation.

    The best thermic insulator developed so far is aerogel. The main problem is that it can be carcinogenic, depending on what it is made of. If they could work a way of making construction bricks from aerogel, or filling regular bricks with aerogel, or even better mix aerogel with concrete, with the clay of bricks or with the plaster in wall, we might get rid completely of cumbersome and less efficient insulators like those mentioned above.

    Phonic isolation is much harder to achieve with thin layers though. It's really time to start working on something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Be careful what you wish for Maciamo...

    http://evolver.fm/2011/08/08/3-iphon...o-write-songs/

    Now you have to keep your word. We are waiting for your first symphony. :)
    This only facillitates easy conversion of humming to midis. It doesn't actually create the brilliance of the work, which Maciamo seems to want a machine to do rather than study on his own.

    Art is work. Hard, hard work. Machines can only help us do what we already know, or get rid of some of the tedium.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    As recently as a few decades ago most of the developed world was still using asbestos, an extremely carcinogenic substance, as an insulator for constructions. There are dozens of insulating materials, such as mineral wool, fiberglass/glass wool, plastics (polyurethanes, polyisocyanurate, polyethylene), cellulose, concrete, and basic natural materials (cork, wood fiber, cardboard, straw, wool).

    The problem is how thick layers have to be to useful either as thermic or phonic insulators. I am surprised that more efficient insulators have not been invented yet. I dream of a world where bricks, plaster or painting would be self-insulating thanks to the addition of an efficient new chemical structure (safe for health) into their composition. Insulation will become one of the most important things in our future as the human population grows cities get more crowded.

    The importance of noise pollution on health, well-being and mental efficiency is still vastly underestimated by too many people. It should be vital to be able to sleep (and work) in a perfectly quiet environment, which is close to impossible nowadays except if one goes live in an extremely remote place, far away from any sign of civilization (cars, trucks, aeroplanes).

    Energy must be preserved, and insulation already makes it possible to keep a construction cool by hot weather and warm when it is cold outside - so basically have a passive building, something all of us should aspire to.

    To keep insulating materials safe, it might be a good idea to copy natural materials (such as cork) and improve them by creating a similar but denser chemical structure. The idea would be to develop a new "magic" composite material like Kevlar, but for insulation.

    The best thermic insulator developed so far is aerogel. The main problem is that it can be carcinogenic, depending on what it is made of. If they could work a way of making construction bricks from aerogel, or filling regular bricks with aerogel, or even better mix aerogel with concrete, with the clay of bricks or with the plaster in wall, we might get rid completely of cumbersome and less efficient insulators like those mentioned above.

    Phonic isolation is much harder to achieve with thin layers though. It's really time to start working on something.
    Go make a business, Maciamo! Make it yourself. You have the desire, now turn that desire into profit and progress.

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    Wouldn't it be nice for a perfume maker to be able to provide scent samples of its products directly on their website ? That would be amazing. No need to go to the shop to test each bottle before you want to buy something. Perfect for online shoppers. But how could we send smells over the Internet ? Impossible ? Not at all. People just need to be equipped with a specially designed electrode (with a USB plug, for instance) that would be place on the forehead (on one of the two olfactory bulbs, above either eyebrow). The user would click on the scent sample on the website to send the adequate signal. The computer would then generate the olfactory electric impulse corresponding to the desired smell, send it to the electrode and the user would feel the smell instantly as the part of the brain is activated.

    This application could be used for all sorts of products besides perfumes: flowers, soaps, shampoos, foods, drinks...

    We have the technology to do it, but no company has made the effort of using it commercially yet.

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    One of the most urgent desire I have for new, useful technologies is intelligent traffic lights. I am appalled by the enormous amount of time and fuel (and carbon footprint) wasted by the traffic lights turning red just when cars arrive from the previous traffic light, and for no reason as there are no pedestrian and no traffic from the side streets. This happens to me all the time, something 5 or 6 traffic lights in a row, as if each one was equipped with a detector that turned the light red whenever a car was coming. It's strange because all traffic lights here are equipped with detectors and cameras, so unless they were all improperly configured (unlikely as it is the same in all the country), they are pretty much useless.

    The idea would be to install intelligent detectors that keep the lights green at all times on the main thoroughfares unless cars are waiting on a side street, or pedestrian push the button to cross (this latter one already works properly here). Ideally the detectors should be linked to a central computer that calculates how long the light should stay green for traffic depending on the number of cars coming in each direction. The system would also synchronise traffic lights so that the main axis with the most traffic get as many green lights as possible when the cars arrive from the previous intersection.

    All that is needed for such a system to work is:

    1) intelligent cameras that count the cars, using shape recognition like for faces and smiles on digital cameras, but set to recognise cars, trucks and motorbikes).
    2) a centralised computer (either for all the city, or by neighbourhood) that decides how long each light should stay green/red.

    I wouldn't be surprised if some cities or countries were already equipped with a properly working system of the kind. I have just never see any. At present, in Belgian cities, traffic lights on the main axis turn red at present times, even when there is absolutely no car in any direction (which I noticed as a pedestrian).

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post
    Go make a business, Maciamo! Make it yourself. You have the desire, now turn that desire into profit and progress.
    I have hundreds of ideas like that. I rarely write them down though, then forget about them. That's why I started this thread, to write new ideas when they come. I don't have the time or desire to turn these ideas into businesses. I leave that to others. There is only so much a single person can do.

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    Fossil fuel free energy. If you look back to WW2 the
    Germans with a limited supply of fuel made advances in this field but like anything else when the war was over and fuel supplies returned to normal all that goes to the back burner. I feel you don't wait until your supply dries up to to come up with something new. If they could have worked on them technologies from 70 years ago imagine how far solar or synthetic fuels could have come by now. And if we could leave the Middle East out of the equation our lives would be much better

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    I have dreamed of an intelligent alarm clock that would be activated at the right time in a person's sleep cycle. Apparently such monitoring applications already exist (e.g. RenewSleepClock, Zeo and Lark for smartphones, or Sleeptracker).

    Additionally the alarm clock would beep again after being snoozed if the person is still in bed, and turn off automatically once the person is out of bed. This could be achieved either:

    a) with a weight sensor under the bed (like those equipping most Japanese toilets as a way of saving energy on the electronics when one is not using it).

    b) with a movement detector (like those for automatic lights), or even a camera if the alarm clock is on a smartphone.

    The advantage of such a system is that one shouldn't worry about falling asleep again, nor of the alarm beeping again after leaving the bedroom if we only snoozed it and forgot to turn it off completely.

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    The next gadget I am the most looking forward to is the food analyser, a device that would allow to test the actual content of minerals, vitamins, the types of proteins, glucoses and fats, and even the possible toxins (e.g. dioxin) present in any food or drink. Now we have to rely on the information on the packages, which is always partial and approximate, when it is there at all. Fruits, vegetables, meat, freshly baked goods (bread, pastries), and most cheeses have no nutrition information displayed at all when you buy them.

    Everyone knows that fruit juices lose a lot of their vitamin C once they have been opened. The most wonderful tool I wish could exist is an instant analyser that would give detailed and accurate nutrition information for any foodstuff. This way we would know what percentage of Vitamin C is left in a bottle of orange juice that has been in the fridge for three days, how much cholesterol, and what fish from your supermarket contains the most Omega 3.

    I would have thought that this kind of technology wouldn't be made any time soon, but it looks like it could just be. There are already apps that will analyse blood and detect diseases almost instantly from a mobile phone, and portable instant DNA scanners* that will test a person's DNA in less than an hour already exist. If they can test viruses and DNA so fast, vitamins and minerals should be a piece of cake.

    What we need now is a tech giant like Apple or Google to invest in the project and turn the food analyzer into an affordable device for everyone (well, at least anyone who can afford a smartphone now).


    * Remarkable, I found out that the Japanese company NEC already made a fully integrated portable DNA analyzer 5 years ago ! And no one told me !

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