It’s so often that we sit back and look at the world we live in and suddenly realize just how far it has actually gone. Alright, we don’t have flying cars yet, nor super power unlocking implants, but take a moment to look at science fiction from the 70s and 80s and be amazed. Some of it even sounds like a vivid description of our own world. Give or take the evil empire that’s slowly taking over the world.
Here are a few of this past few year’s developments in science that really make us strongly aware of how much we have advanced in technology and possibilities.
1. Self-driving cars
It’s already out there, folks. Well, truthfully, although it is out there, it’s still in testing phase. The best two examples are actually some cars you might have heard of before. One of them is the Google Driverless Car – development started nearly 3 years ago and its first prototype was exhibited in May 2014. If you live in San Francisco Bay area, you might actually witness the testing undergoing for the Google Car sometime this year.
The second example is a little more ambitious, but still believed to be a dream come true in the next few years. It was presented at this year’s CES and pretty much involved a car that is commanded through voice and motion that – if anything – is more of a lounge or pleasant but relatively smaller living room. The car in question is the Mercedes-Benz F 015 “Luxury in Motion” and looks nearly hard to believe.
2. Hydrogen-fueled cars and airplanes
Also featured at CES 2015 was the wonderful Toyota Mirai – the first car to be hydrogen-fueled and also available for purchase for anyone who wishes it. Not only that it basically promises to run on a very cheap and abundant fuel, but it doesn’t exhaust any form of fumes either – instead of carbon dioxide it produces water. The Mirai is currently being sold for $57.000 but Toyota has made all of the 5,680 patents that it owns for this model available and royalty free to allow developers and producers all over the world innovate further on the idea.
Airplanes haven’t been forgotten either as airlines have been attempting to find alternate fuelling methods for years. Boeing and South African Airways are theorizing on using a tobacco plant named Solaris that supposedly has a lower carbon emission.
Even the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory has been looking into the matter and has discovered an alternate method to power jets – by producing fuel from the water that surrounds them and turning it into a liquid hydrocarbon type of fuel.
3. Suspended animation
Experimenting with this concept has been going on for a long time. Theorizing it by sci-fi writers and medical researchers alike even longer. What suspended animation entails is exsanguination – draining all of your blood from your body, and replaced with a very cold saline solution that stops all cellular activity temporarily for a few hours. In essence you would be dead from 99% of the perspectives but your cells would be kept alive without oxygen for a while – in this time doctors could operate freely in case of cardiac arrest brought on by traumatic injury, then pump the blood back in and resuscitate the patient.
4. The blue pill
Following recent studies, it has been discovered that the way our memory works could be cheated by certain proteins. Whenever we try to recall a fact, our brain uses said proteins to form the memory circuits needed for the process. So, logically, if we were to block this protein – known as PKMzeta – the circuits would no longer form in our brains and thus the memory would stop existing in our brains. Amazing, yet a very spooky thing to think of.
5. No more postal services?
Amazon and Google seem to be the companies that are most bent on making the drone delivery idea a reality. Amazon is already set and ready to go, except it’s still awaiting for approval from the FAA to begin the Amazon Prime Air program – a system that promises to make deliveries of orders in 30 minutes. By air. Using remotely controlled drones.
Google is at it as well and recently revealed that it’s been working on Project Wing – originally a program that was meant to deliver defibrillators to heart attack victims using air vehicles – now shifted towards the same 30 minute delivery-by-air concept.