Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Of Things to Come

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A collection by Neal McKenna 


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The Internet In 2015

Image Via InfoGraphic

     A zettabyte (symbol ZB, derived from the SI prefix zetta-) is a unit of information or computer storage equal to one sextillion (one long scale trilliardbytes.
     As of 2011, no storage system has achieved one zettabyte of information. The combined space of all computer hard drives in the world was estimated at approximately 160 exabytes in 2006. As of 2009, the entire Internet was estimated to contain close to 500 exabytes.

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes = 10007 bytes = 1021 bytes

     The term "zebibyte" (ZiB), using a binary prefix, is used for the corresponding power of 1024. Via Wikipedia
Well! That explains everything, now, doesn't it?

Image Via 
Vinoid Mehra

Living in the Retro Future

The future is here! Fortunately, dinner is not in pill form, I have nothing that looks remotely like a hovercar, and robots are still lumbering jokes. Where are the domed cities? The jetpacks? The shimmering silver unitards? It’s endlessly entertaining to look back and see where our guesses were right, and where they went hilariously wrong. Imagine it's 1950 and you’re sitting in a leather armchair in front of a roaring fire, slowly puffing on your pipe, dreaming of the land of the future… where will we be in the year 2000 and beyond? Let’s take a look at the home of the retro future...

The future home will be a work of art. If it’s not integrated directly with the land, it will still be open and transparent. The suburb as we know it will be transformed, as flying cars make it easier to live in a remote location without being disconnected from the community (plus, video phones will bring you closer to family and friends than you ever wanted to be).
The Bathroom

(Images via pink tentaclebbc)

Showers are barbaric, didn’t you know? Step on up into your self contained cleaning device… basically a dishwasher for your body. It will spray you with cleansing water with massaging jets, give you a heated dry, and will finish with a cleansing wave of infrared and ultraviolet light.
The Kitchen

The future housewife will have plenty of time to sip martinis all day, as her giant appliances cook and prepare meals for the entire family to enjoy (at least, this is how it seems in all the material). The idea that a housewife may not be necessary with all this time saving equipment is not a subject that’s ever really broached… It’s interesting that most visions of the future assume appliances as we imagine them will be entirely gone; replaced by machines permanently hidden in our walls.

(Images via textually)
Video Conferencing

The idea of video phones was incredibly popular back in the day, and while the occasional video chat online does occur, video conferencing never became the hit people thought it would be. There’s a very good reason for this: When someone can see you with a camera, you want to look good. The last thing you want when you’re awoken by the ringing phone, is have someone see you lying in bed with tousled hair and drool on your pillow. Phone calls already seem intrusive enough compared to email, that the idea of someone spying on you at the same time brings it to another level of discomfort.
The Living Room 

Images via modern mechanix, paleo future, picsdigger, design-crisis, global nerdy

Living rooms are the centre of most of our activities at home, and as such, they will be a nexus for all the technological gadgetry we can muster. Futuristic record players that disappear into walls, bipedal robots offering to take off our coat and vacuum the floor, and entire walls that display the newest film are just a few of the wonders in this generation. Much of the conjecture was correct in this case, at least in terms of vacuuming robots and giant wall encompassing displays.


(Images via pink tentaclewebomator)
Scientists in the future no longer need to use their hands! They do the thinking and let the robots do the actual work. While we don’t give robots free reign during surgeries, there is some merit to this line of thinking, as doctors increasing use hand operated cameras to aid during operations. Thankfully, however, the robot hands are far from the intimidating titanium claws dreamed up by futurists.
(Images via silver-rocketsmartin klasch)

Image Via TV Tropes
Future fashion will be frightening, according to the sources I’ve seen. People will be very aware that they are living in an enlightened time, and this will require that they either wear skin tight clothing with optional space-faring gear, or revert to the classic Roman outfit of loose fitting robes.
Home Computers
(Images via ofoghlupink tentacle)
The future will be so technologically advanced, that people will have computers in their homes. Featured in the left of this photo montage is an example of what the home computer might look like in the year 2004 (actually, this picture is a Photoshop fake). On the right, we have a cooler looking wall of computer gear, that still looks suspiciously like the inside of a submarine. I think we can all agree that computers are one area where human society has defied expectation. Considering how low these expectations were, we should be exceedingly grateful.
The Real ‘House of the Future’ is Futuristic but also Livable
In December, 2009, a public exhibition in Sydney, Australia featured 6 eco-friendly homes constructed out of different materials including: concrete, glass, wood, clay, steel and cardboard. The one that really stood out from the pack was the wood residence presented by Xenian LivingLight. It’s called, get this, the ‘house of the future!

Pretty stellar design, eh?
There’s really not a whole lot of info on this project when scouring the net for details. What is known however is that the residence was prefabricated off site, reducing waste with less site disturbance during development. It also features PV integration, passive ventilation, a rainwater harvesting system, and a sustainable garden built into a patio…. very nice! 
One thing you may have noticed from the photos above is the homes’ exceptional usage of LED lighting. My guess is this has something to do with Xenian, the firm behind the exhibition, which happens to be in the field of architectural lighting. Color changing LEDs are an obvious choice for their customization and energy efficiency capabilities… with costs coming down as production ramps up, we’ll be seeing a lot more of our diode friends. Chances are they’ll be in all of the ‘houses of the future!
Via Metro Hippie

Okay! You've seen the kind of house most of our progeny will inhabit in the next generation. But see how the obscenely rich will live...

Mahina Luxury Villa of the Future
Approximately 40 miles north of Auckland, New Zealand is the perfect perch for a proposed dream house. Though only an architectural visualization at this point, this is the kind of house you would normally expect a Bond movie villain to own! Mahina' is from a new generation of visionary architecture... works of art you can live in. Approximately 40 miles north of Auckland, New Zealand is the perfect perch for a proposed dream. 
ocean view house
Mahina, Maori for moon, designed by Weber Consulting was originally slated to be placed on the relatively uninhabited Kawau Island. However the island’s residents are torn over whether or not to allow it to be built. The controversy has led to international interest, and according to the New Zealand Herald News, the official website for the Mahina says that the moon-shaped house can be built anywhere on the planet.

The website literature states, “A predominantly modern residence with a ‘Bondesque’ suggestion of times past; the glamorous age of martinis and tuxedos.”
ocean home forest
Technical Information:
• Mahina uses Diamante glass. This glass has a very low iron content and does not have the usual green tint of a standard glass. The glazing is structural and is mostly 32mm thick. Many of the panels can move, for example the master bedroom façade can slide and stack on both sides for 10m.

• The complete façade has two sets of blinds, one set of shade blinds and one set of block out. These are remote controlled and can make any room or area private. The blinds neatly roll up into the ceiling spaces meaning they cannot be seen when not in use.
inside moon house
• The whole building has been designed to sustainable principles. The house has a very high available thermal mass and the temperature is regulated by water cooling/heating in the floors and walls (arches). Warm water collected from warm days is stored for the evenings and cooler days. This system combined with geothermal heat exchangers allows for well regulated temperatures with low external energy input.
ocean home wedge view
• A natural ventilation system deals with the high thermal gains the house receives during the day. This includes underground wet rock cooling chambers and hot air extraction through the roof. Effectively cooling is controlled by dragging cool air through underground chambers and expelling the warm air through the roof.

Seems like...
one decade's vision (the 1950s) of "the future" - meaning NOW...
Picture Via Paeleofuture
doesn't differ much from the projections of another, namely, the 1970s. And they both missed the mark by at least a light year!

General Motors shows off its vision of future urban mobility

By Jorn Madslien Business reporter, BBC News
     From inside the bubble, the futuristic EN-V feels like a living organism as it slowly rises from a crouching position, before balancing on two wheels as if they were legs.
     Unlike a motorcycle, which has one wheel in front of the other, the two-seater electric car has one wheel on either side of its flimsy body.
     The light-weight design makes it as agile as a ballet dancer. Turn the steering wheel hard to the side and the car, if that is indeed the best way to describe this peculiar vehicle, turns on a sixpence.
     Unlike a motorcycle, which has one wheel in front of the other, the two-seater electric car has one wheel on either side of its flimsy body.From inside the bubble, the futuristic EN-V feels like a living organism as it slowly rises from a crouching position, before balancing on two wheels as if they were legs.
     The light-weight design makes it as agile as a ballet dancer. Turn the steering wheel hard to the side and the car, if that is indeed the best way to describe this peculiar vehicle, turns on a sixpence.
     Push the wheel - which is more of an iPad-inspired joystick - forward and it surges ahead into a sprint at speeds of 25mph (40km/h) or more, depending on how the computer is programmed, delivering a 25 mile (40km) range per charge.
     Travelling at such speeds may seem hazardous, given that the car has been designed without bumpers, air bags or any other conventional crash protection devises.
     But according to the people who make it, the EN-V - short for electric networked vehicle - is smart enough to avoid collisions.
     "Unlike a conventional car, which is designed to prevent its passengers and pedestrians in the event of a crash, the EN-V is more like an aircraft, in that it is designed to avoid crashing in the first place," explains Tom Brown from the research and development department at General Motors (GM).

Wealth of ideas
     The EN-V is GM's vision of what urban cars could look like in the future.
     Not necessarily its design, since the car's simple structure means it would be very easy to make and fit differently shaped polycarbonate and acrylic bodies to the frame.
Segway balancing vehiclesThe EN-V is basically a widened Segway, enclosed in a bubble
     The two-wheel mobility solution is not integral to such a future either. This was developed to GM's specifications by the transport technology firm Segway, using gyroscopic and fluid-based levelling sensors to help the vehicle balance whilst on the move.
     As such, the eye-catching prototype is really little more than a widened Segway, enclosed in a bubble, based on well-known and relatively simple technology.
     What makes the bubble stand out, however, is the wealth of ideas contained within it; ideas that, if implemented, could change the way we live.

Autonomous driving
     The most impressive attribute of the EN-V is its ability to communicate, both with other vehicles and with infrastructure such as satellites or buildings.
     Sensors, cameras and a GPS system help the car see its surroundings and know its location.

The two wheels are hidden by sleek coversThe EN-V's two wheels are revealed once the sleek covers are removed

     And although it is possible, and indeed great fun, to drive the EN-V manually, it is really designed to drive by itself.
     Obviously, it cannot do this safely in streets where cars controlled by people might drive into it.
Instead, the EN-V was designed to operate within specially created zones, be they limited areas such as the Olympic Park in London or entire cities that only allow autonomously driven cars.
Reasonable cars
     This might sound like science fiction, but it is not as far-fetched as it first seems.
Tom Brown, General MotorsGM's Tom Brown describes the EN-V as "another member of the family"
     The vehicle has been trialled at the World Expo Shanghai, which is essentially a Chinese micro-city.
     And with new mega-cities emerging all over the world, it is not only perfectly possible but perhaps even necessary to redefine how we travel within them.
      There are good reasons why local and central governments might want to do so, such as traffic congestion and parking.
     Besides, EN-Vs are designed to avoid collisions, so their weight can be dramatically reduced. Hence they would require less material to make and less energy to move, thus costs can be cut.
     GM says its price tag would be a fifth of that on a conventional car, with running costs slashed to less than a third.

Endless possibilities
     Ford Motor is working on v-to-v, BMW is doing it and we're working on it” Tom Brown General Motors. Talking cars could hit the road soon
     But it is the EN-V's functionality that really makes it attractive. Because it is autonomous, drivers could read, have teleconferences or sleep while being driven around in them. Because it is light and small, it could be driven onto fast-moving trains connecting cities. Because it is small, it would be easy to park - perhaps using some sort of stacking system.
     Not that you would ever need to park it, however. The car could be on the move all day, without its owner being anywhere near it, sporadically charging its batteries at traffic lights or in dedicated charging stations.
     Send it out in the morning to take the children to school, have it pick up a friend on its way back for a morning coffee. Travel in it to the local pool and make it pick up the shopping while you go for a swim.
     Modify it for a child in a wheelchair and that child gains new independence. Similarly, blind people can suddenly go for drives on their own, and when they have reached their destination the car can head off on its own to find a place to park.
     "It's like having another member of the family," grins Mr Brown. "It is an au pair on wheels, a private chauffeur, an individual cabin on a train. You can fill it with gadgets to keep you entertained or you can lean back and enjoy the view."

Major obstacles
     But although the techies have come up with a way to revolutionise urban mobility, and though the list of compelling reasons why it makes sense can only grow longer, it could still prove difficult to make it happen - even with the urban planners on-board.

     The EN-V's futuristic looks makes it an eye-catching way of showcasing vehicle-to-vehicle communication
     For starters, laws would have to be changed. How would these vehicles be classified? Would you need a licence to drive one? Could they be exempt from current safety regulations?
     And then there would be the difficulty of getting companies and governments to agree on standards they could all live with, which would be awkward to say the least if the current chaotic electric car-charging situation is anything to go by.
     "If all the manufacturers don't come up with one common solution, it would defeat the whole idea," laments Mr Brown.
     But whereas such obstacles might prevent or delay the introduction of the EN-V concept in a wholesale fashion, it will not prevent the ideas from entering the world of motoring.
     In fact, much of it is here already - in particular vehicle to vehicle communication, known as v-to-v in techies' jargon.
     "Ford Motor is working on v-to-v, BMW is doing it and we're working on it," says Mr Brown.
"Cars are already beginning to talk to each other, and we'll see much more of it in the future."

And here is another vision of the future family car. 
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