Two of the great consumer technologies that came from the space program are satellite TV and GPS. For the thousandth time, NASA did not invent tang or velcro. The latter was invented by the Swiss in the 1940s. Still we owe much of the life we take for granted to our endeavors in space.
Military tech is also cutting edge. Some of our most advanced thinking is poured into making better war. That purpose sounds rather ignoble when said aloud. But the technology is truly astounding. And it eventually comes down to the consumer level. There are a few differences in the GPS used by the military as opposed to civilian systems. But those advances continue to inform improvements to the GPS trackers that help us find our lost pets.
We also have the enterprise to thank for life-changing technologies. That might not be immediately obvious because on the surface, big business is known for being rather behind the curve when it comes to computers. The average workstation is ancient and barely usable by modern consumer standards. But there is more to tech than the workstations used by corporate cube dwellers. Here are a few technologies worth watching:
Powered Exoskeleton Suits
Check out the video in the link if you have never seen a powered exoskeleton suit in action. It is not like anything worn by a superhero in a comic unless that superhero is a worker with enhanced strength who is able to lift heavy loads with great efficiency without strain. This hero, otherwise known as a typical factory worker, can exceed the limits of what a coworker can do without the exoskeleton while also taking less time off for visits to the doctor to deal with back and knee injuries. Sarcos describes it this way:
The Guardian XO full-body exoskeleton is the world’s first battery-powered industrial robot to combine human intelligence, instinct, and judgment with the power, endurance, and precision of machines.
Set to transform the way work gets done, the Guardian XO industrial exoskeleton augments operator strength without restricting freedom of movement to boost productivity while dramatically reducing injuries.
This type of dramatic leap in technology is not only set to change one industry, but every industry. The real superheroes are not the ones who wear the suit, but the managers and owners who make their environments workplaces of the future. Who knew business tech could be this exciting?
If you are not keeping up with the development of quantum computing, you are missing out on one of the most exciting and potentially transformative advances of our time. Big businesses and big data will surely be the first to exploit its potential.
Last year, Google achieved quantum supremacy. This is not just a boast, but a technical term meaning that it has created a quantum system capable of performing a task that would be otherwise impossible with a traditional system. In this case, their 54-qubit Sycamore processor was able to perform a task in 200 seconds that would have taken the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years. You don’t have to understand all the technical jargon associated with quantum computing to get a sense of the quantum leap this will be for every aspect of human life.
Augmented reality is a form of second-sight that is real and making a difference today. You can experience it right now through high-end smartphones and specialized headsets. Microsoft is already on the second iteration of a product being used by engineers, scientists, and physicians.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about augmented reality is that we are in the very early days. While business customers are the early adopters, this is exciting technology that is actively being developed for consumers as well. It is the worst-kept secret that Apple is working on smart glasses that are powered by AR. Accessibility is set to get a huge boost when that happens.
The most interesting thing about powered exoskeleton suits, quantum computing, and augmented reality is that they are being adopted first by and for business needs. We usually think of the corporate world as trailing the technological pack. But a closer look shows that they are leading the way in key technologies that will have a profound and positive effect on society.
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