Comfort is our primary need. We have strived for ages to make our lives comfortable. From fire which keeps us warm and have great food, to shelter and work to keep us busy.
The new times are making us more comfortable and ‘content’ but with a price. Couch potato is a familiar term and we all know it affect us with increasing ease of technology. I am really afraid to predict the future where we have personal robots, automated homes and human-machine interface. Maybe we will just lie down and live our lives (If it’s ok to call it a “life”). Visit office from home; get food by robots, open windows/doors with the mind, brush teeth, automated flirting algorithms, and more scary automated ‘stuff’! Anyway, let’s be optimistic.
GPS, extended information services, localized database, Google Earth and the top travel sites! What’s next? Personally, in travel I would like as little digital intervention as possible but we can’t help it, since we are living in digital world. A bits and byte world in our hands; anywhere, anytime. One with a laptop and internet connection can go anywhere she or he wishes to and document the travel digitally. I guess we engineers got a handful job making peoples life easier with great software solutions.
I believe the present way of education is a waste of time; not completely though. Creativity comes from solving problems yourself. Making the brain find a way, exercising it, testing our limit makes us more analytical and ready for the next problem. The problem with the current system is that we are not at all encouraged to find our own way. There may be a few exceptional teachers who work really hard to induce motivation but they are, as I said, few. Normally we have to ‘learn’ a way, use it and get the result on how many ways we ‘remember’. It’s a sad way to teach our generation the Art of Engineering, the thinking process, its creative soul. One fact remains; the change is a mammoth leap and a continuous endeavor.
The OLIN experiment; Interdisciplinary, project-based approach emphasizing entrepreneurship, liberal arts, and rigorous science and engineering fundamentals are the curriculum they have and this is an approach we need in most of the colleges. One point to be noted is that, this kind of move requires a lot of effort from academicians, teachers and intellectuals. The students have to be motivated to learn what they came to learn! Half of us don’t even know what we are doing. Dont you think so? Maybe an exceptional few who realize and try the better way; applying what they have learnt practically. This approach is a must!
From S-video, Composite to the latest HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface); the thrill of pure uncompressed, high quality video entertainment is in! Since the technology is newborn and expensive, another 5 years or so, HD media players and HDTV’s will be on the rise.
How about cloths that change color to match your mood? Or hospital gowns that displays vital signs and x-rays on the person? MIT is researching on a ‘display’ that can be integrated in cloths, bags and ultra thin pads, called the ‘Urbanhermes‘! In the future there will be no need to replace paper since we will have electronic ink. Electronic ink is an interesting topic and pretty vast so here is a link for you to check out.
From digital signal processing improvement to advance Artificial Intelligent audio processors; these wonder devices can reduce noise, calculate area acoustics and generate better sound and pleasure our human hearing to a pleasant level. Just like HD video, we have Dolby Digital – EX, Live, surround EX and Plus which can run up to 13.1 channel surround!
Networking has brought shrunk the globe. Now will it shrink the Music Industry? With advances in Podcasting, online music stores and cheap distribution techniques, I think the next generation of music will be just online. No CDs, but direct streaming on our ‘connected’ devices!
The pictures I have included above are taken from various sources like MIT, OLIN College, Google image search etc. Check the links for respective owners. Credit goes to them. Copyright ©