Reflecting on Liquid Crystals
Many believe that authors and storytellers of the past have predicted what the future will be like, years, decades,even centuries later. Although this may be true to some extent, I believe the future lies in the hands of the creative few that speak on the whims of their imaginations.
Self-prophesying; it’s an interesting concept. The self here being society as a technological whole, and prophesying being our ability to develop our material future from the imaginative and scientific minds of the past. I realized this concept to be more or less true through many nostalgic moments watching old science-fiction movies like The Running Man or THX 1138, and seeing the ideas for futuristic gadgetry. These films created special effects (although incomparable to modern CG effects) by manipulating modern technology at the time to make environments more futuristic (e.g. cathode ray tubes implanted into boxes to appear as flat screens). Through this idea of a ‘flat television’ arose flat screen TVs. Somehow it has been established through the depiction of science-fiction, along with a pinch of efficiency, that a flat television is cool, futuristic, and somehow necessary.
This concept is not only distinguished in the 80’s nor is it only applicable to bulbous flat screen TVs. Depictions of the material future are seen in many modern films such as I-Robot, The Island, and Wall-E (although I would argue this is more of a simple analysis based on the new lethargic nature caused by computers). Holographic three-dimensional images, flying cars, touch screen newspapers, are all things of the…now.
Maybe not quite…yet, but this brings me to my really cool gadget of the week.
(more after the jump)
Drum roll please…
Let’s welcome to Earth, The HCI Interactive Mirror.
HCI (human computer interaction) is exploding in popularity and is the forefront of most new technological computer advancements. This digital mirror is just one prime example of modern interactivity. Developed using easily accessible parts (software, dielectric glass mirrors with built in LCD panels, and some constructive know-how) by Alpay Kasal of LitStudios and Sam Ewen of Interference Inc., this mirror is a fully functional touch screen display. The applications for this technology are boundless and I can only begin to ponder such uses. How about a fun house of mirrors; except when you walk in and see yourself, the mirrors are manipulated so Carebears with bloody fangs appear behind you?
So to end this philosophical journey into time, we can safely look forward, assuming that most of the technological advancements will come from the current minds of the screen, pen, and mouth. We can also safely look forward knowing we can draw on our reflection with our fingers. What’s next? Flying cars, wireless electricity (Southland Tales), or maybe we can finally have invisibility by installing fiber optic cameras that transmit images to the opposing sides shown on flexible displays (damn you Die Another Day)!