Dr. Denys Makarov would have Marvel fans pretty excited if they were paying attention. He’s recently invented a new “magnetic sensor, which is thin, robust and pliable enough to be smoothly adapted to human skin, even to the most flexible part of the human palm.” In short, this new sensor could be applied onto human skin to allow a sixth sense – the ability to detect magnetic fields with your skin. While it may not be immediately clear how this will allow us to become metal benders like Magneto, Dr. Makarov explains that he is interested in applying this technology for use in “biocompatible wireless communication devices,” “shapeable magnetoelectronics,” and “printable sensorics.” Layman’s terms? In the not so far future, we could hook up our 3D printer, tell it to print some magnetic sensors (perhaps in glove form), and use it to communicate with a computer. We already have those cool MYO armbands – this could the next step forward. So what are the applications? This video offers a very small glimpse:
Okay – that doesn’t quite get us to Magneto superpowers but it does suggest that the time for wireless communication with computers through our body is quickly making its way into our world. It doesn’t really take that much imagination to go from point A (moving from touch screens to just pointing at the screen) to point B (telling equipment what to do with body gestures like the Myo-band) to point C (Magneto superpowers on a very limited level – say, levitation) to point D (you got the idea). Considering existing mind controlled prosthetics, it doesn’t seem too far a stretch to imagine this new transhumanist invention to allow us to plug ourselves into electronic devices (wirelessly) so that we can communicate with them directly – sort of like Stephen Hawking and not too unlike what we saw in Avatar among the Na’vi. This could be technology leading us to the world of electronic telepathy. Hey teens – forget texting – that is so old school – just think about who you want to talk to and they’ll hear you in their minds!
I don’t know about you but these new technologies have me completely geeking out in my mental sci-fi universe – I think I’ll start writing a story right now…
What do you think? How far will technology like this take us? What are some clever applications you haven’t seen suggested anywhere? Where does your imagination take you?