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Turning sci-fi into sci-fact


7 December 2012 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Did you watch Minority Report — that Steven Spielberg thriller starring Tom Cruise? If you did, then you must surely remember the awe-inspiring technology that was featured in the movie — iris recognition, personalised advertisement, e-paper, 3-D video, multi-touch interface to name just a few.

In 2002, the year in which the movie was released, technology geeks could only yearn for such amazing sci-fi gadgets would see the light of day. But eight years later, a lot of that fancy technology is actually reality. For instances, audiences were amazed at how Cruise used his gestures to operate a computer interface. But anyone who has used Apple’s iPhone and played video games on Wii, knows that gesture-controlled technology is now quite established. We now also have e-news, customised advertisement on the Internet and iris recognition is a routine security check at airports.

Artificial intelligence too has been a major theme of sci-fi movies. After all, who can forget Arnold Schwarzenegger as a formidable cyborg in The Terminator and the sidekicks, C-3PO and R2-D2, from Star Wars? While artificial intelligence is still arguably a burgeoning field, robots have replaced humans in industrial assembly. The most famous is ASIMO, the most advanced humanoid robot developed by Honda.

Now there’s a new achievement in the field of robotic technology that scientists at MIT are boasting of. They have created a small robot that can change its shape— quite like the Transformers’ characters. Using magnets to mimic molecules that fold themselves into complex shapes, these robots are intended to perform different tasks by altering their form. These shape-shifting robots— currently tiny in size— are expected to be a precursor of bigger and more sophisticated robots that can manipulate their own shape and size.

Human imagination has always inspired breakthroughs in technology. No matter how incredible a sci-fi gadget in a Hollywood flick seems, it’s mainly a matter of time when science fiction will turn into science fact. So should we now get ready for time travel?
Khaleej Times

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