You may have noticed that our computer programs and devices are constantly being upgraded -- we've had to update Adobe five times while typing this sentence. So, when is the technology going to come along to upgrade us?
Why, for instance, are our bodies stuck with the same lame five senses our caveman ancestors had? Sure, we can go in for laser surgery to correct bad vision, but why can't we get super vision while we're there? Well the good news is, those human upgrades are on the way. They just hopefully won't need to be updated again a week later. (Seriously, Adobe, what's wrong with you?)
#6. Gloves That Let You Feel Virtual Sensations
Our fingers are pretty good at feeling the things they're currently touching, but not so good at feeling everything else. You know what the table in front of you feels like, but what if you want to touch, say, a rhinoceros, and there are none around? That's where science comes in. Scientists have designed a glove that'll allow your digits to feel virtual sensations, like the soothing skin of an alpaca, or the smooth surface of a brand new car, or -- OK, yeah, most people are gonna use this for porn, probably.
John Rogers/University of Illinois
It already has giant sperm stenciled on it.
So far, the researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have managed to create a set of "smart fingertips" that can send electrical signals to the skin. It's basically a tiny little condom made of a circuit-polyimide structure, which is fitted onto a finger-shaped tube of silicon and then your actual finger. The applications for this are numerous, from highly precise surgery to contact sports. Or porn, did we mention porn?
Not only can this thing theoretically transmit different sensations like hot or cold, but the article also mentions that it "could restore sensation to people who have lost their natural skin," like burn victims or amputees. Does that mean they could help disabled people actually feel their prosthetic limbs? Because that would be amazing.
Sgt Ian Forsyth RLC/MOD
Your missing arm will still itch, but now your replacement will, too!
But imagine a future where you can't just browse the Internet, but actually touch it. Imagine scrolling down your Tumblr feed and being able to feel the fur of that LOLcat, or Tom Hiddleston's face, or Tom Hiddleston's face again. For once, all that baffling talk of "feels" would be justified. Just make sure you take off your electronic glove before you go into 4chan or you could end up touching someone's virtual turd.
#5. A Gadget That Lets You "See" Through Walls
A team of MIT engineers traumatized by decades of fraudulent comic book ads have developed a handheld device called the Wi-Vi that actually lets you "see" behind walls. It's not quite X-ray vision, but it can let you know if your wife has guests in the living room before you wander out of your room in your undies. In fact, just putting it against a wall tells you if someone is moving on the other side, on what direction, and how many of them there are. Check it out -- the device is behind the wall on the left:
A sine wave, for example, shows a serial killer's repetitive gait.
The way it works is that it shoots Wi-Fi signals at an obstruction, say a wall, which then bounce off any objects on the other side. The data can tell you how far or near a person is, right down to their step. It's so clever that it can detect and keep track of up to three people at the same time and successfully tell them apart from anything that isn't moving, like a couch.
Its creators say this could be used to help rescue workers know if there's someone alive under rubble or let police scan a place before a raid ... but more importantly, think of all the awkward situations this could prevent. No more knocking on the door to find out if someone's using the toilet. No more running into Gary from accounting in the office kitchen and having to talk about his graphic novel idea for 10 minutes.
No more walking away from the doorbell, when you just know they're in there laughing at you.
A parent could use it to quickly find out if their kid snuck someone into their room, or conversely the kid could leave it by the door and tell when mom is coming. The only downside is that since this thing relies on Wi-Fi signals, it would be rendered completely useless the moment you step into a hotel.
#4. A Suit That Gives You Real-Life Spidey Sense
If you've ever wanted to be Spider-Man, but didn't want to put up with the "With great power comes great responsibility" mumbo-jumbo, then Victor Mateevitsi is your man. A suit that he designed allows you to "sense" objects around you in a 60-inch radius, even if you're not looking -- when tested with blindfolded students, they were able to detect the incoming person and chuck a star at them at a 95 percent success rate.
The 95 percent fatality rate was deemed a success by scientists and ninjas alike.
It's like Spidey's spider sense or Daredevil's radar sense, except it's real and doesn't involve getting exposed to any radioactive materials at a young age. Instead, the suit sports small mechanical arms with built-in ultrasonic microphones -- once an object is detected by the microphones, they send signals to a microprocessor, which then tell the little arms to apply a tingling pressure to your body in the direction of the object. So if there's a guy with a baseball bat coming to hit you in a specific body part, you'll feel a tug down there that will let you know about the danger.
Applications for the suit range from helping cyclers avoid traffic accidents to kicking ass at dodgeball. Ever wanted to recreate the scene where Peter Parker catches the basketball without looking? Now you can, and for just $650. Of course, if everyone got one of these suits we'd have to completely redefine the concept of personal space -- if someone keeps standing within 60 inches of your butt and making the sensors start caressing you, does that count as sexual harassment? These are the problems the lawyers of the future will have to deal with.
Still not an excuse: "It was your fault for wearing that."