Arthur C Clarke once stated as one of his laws of prediction:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
And I’ll be damned.. he IS right!
(Which automatically brings us to his first law: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” But we won’t go into that here)
I’ll highlight three current advanced technologies here that prove Clarke is right. The third and last one probably not one that you’d expected.
This is just about an antique in terms of technology that everyone will have heard of. The Segway was first revealed to the public in 2001. A personal transport device that balances itself on just two wheels.
I had the pleasure of running a Segway rental company in the summer months. So I saw first hand the reactions of people who hadn’t seen a Segway before, let alone ridden one. They said it was like magic how the Segway stayed upright. They couldn’t comprehend that a vehicle with just two wheels could stay upright. Yet most of us walk around on just 2 legs. We’re constantly falling and putting our legs and torso such that we either go in a certain direction or stay in the same position. It is the same with the Segway. It provides a stable platform thanks to accelerometers and processing power. A clear case that the technology has advanced so far that is is is indistinguishable from magic.
On this blog I write about 3D printers quite regulary. 3D printers can print physical objects in a variety of materials. You might have seen them in the news.
Since at our local MakePlace we have a 3D printer that we show to people we experience daily how people react when seeing one for the first time. They have a hard time understanding that a machine can print objects (seemingly) out of thin air. There seems to be an air of amazement about these devices, even though they have been around for decades. A very good case for Clarke’s first law of prediction.
Windcatcher air bed
Waah? An airbed as advanced technology? Yes.. an airbed.. hear me out on this one.
There is something every once in a while that completely blows my mind.. Today.. Mind.. Blown..
This wind catcher bed is an air mattress that you can blow up in just a few seconds and works by entraining surrounding air when blowing into the valve.. A young inventor by the name of Frayne is running a kickstarter campaign now.
Frayne claims that the volume of air entering the Windcatcher system is at least 10 to 15 times greater than that leaving your lungs – which means more inflating power for less effort.
So do away with the conventional air mattress valve and by blowing into a large opening you’ll blow up the mattress quicker and easier?? That sure sounds like magic to me!
But this seems oddly in line with the Dyson fans where they use the term Air Multiplier:
“…they use Air Multiplier™ technology to draw in air and amplify it up to 18 times, producing an uninterrupted stream of smooth air.”
This clever use of entraining surrounding air is nothing new and spectacular in itself but sure does raise some eyebrows of amazement!
It’s magic right?