Go-Going Beyond Gadgets

October 9, 2009

On Wednesday, I told you to log off your computer and get outside and to use pen and paper whenever you can. So you don’t get the impression I’m anti-technology — come on, would I be studying interactive media if I were? — I figured I’d highlight some innovations my classmates flagged recently that have the potential to improve society in dramatic ways.

I’m not talking about gadgets here. I’m talking about products with substantive impact:

  • Energy from animal waste could be harnessed to power entire farms or provide electricity to soldiers on the battlefield.
  • Specialized multi-touch surfaces allow doctors to perform virtual autopsies, eliminating the need to disturb bodies, taboo in some cultures, and allowing examiners to better see things that are difficult to observe in traditional autopsies.
  • Smart airport screening devices that detect the biological harbingers of malicious behavior could simultaneously speed up security checkpoints and better protect against attacks.
  • Hospital devices could be controlled via tactile holograms, reducing the risk of infection spread.

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