Tech Tuesdays Vol. 21: HEART OF GLASS

Above: Tom Cruise introduces us to a really big, holographic "iPad" that requires special gloves for him to review crime footage of a murder that hasn't happened yet in Steven Spielberg's 2002 blockbuster "Minority Report." The film features heavily futuristic imagery, filled with retina-scanning A.I.'s that can pull up a person's entire history , to individualized ads. But what I like the most isn't the self-driving cars, the cognitive advances, or the soundtrack: it's this, the epitome of what we hope to do with our information -- not just to touch it, but to MOVE it effortlessly around us in 3-dimensional space, like it MOVES us. The iPhone was a breakthrough, no doubt; but we're getting CLOSER to user-friendly holograms everyday. Holograms already exist, but the technology has leaps and bounds before you have it readily at your fingertips. In the meantime, the world of touch-screens edges ever closer to its glass-less counterpart. With that, I say "Greetings, loved ones -- lets take a journey"...

Lest you get discouraged, I do intend to (eventually) post about Wrist-Mounted Warfare (for those of you wanting to go all Assassins' Creed meets Batman and join "The 99%" occupying Greece (or Gordon Gecko's Wall Street)). Nevertheless, I'm more excited about more PRACTICAL things, such as vehilcles that see deer before you do. We've already covered Google's Self Driving Car in a previous post, but feel free to check out the since-edited version including a link to Real-World Mach 5's and Batmobiles. Now lets talk about SMART WINDOWS.

Let me preface this post by saying that this post almost didn't happen: I found out that a certain "CHAD" from UnfinishedMan.com had posted an almost exact replica of the article I was cooking up, featuring Samsung's Smart Window (basically a giant transparent iPad. Conveniently, you'll never need to purchase blinds again -- and if you have a Green Home w/ Solar panels, you can save on electricity.). HOWEVER, I intend to give you what UnfinishedMan cannot -- GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE.


IN THE PROMISED LAND, Israeli students in The FUTURE Lab at Bezalel Academy of Art & Design have gone beyond the Japanese Giant's simple in-home concept to bring THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD: Rear-Window Smart Glass for your car. TRANSLATION: keep the kiddies entertained. "That's what a DVD Player's for", you say. But the possibilities with transparent smart-glass are almost quite literally endless. Augmented Reality (AR) applications grow exponentially, because as your surroundings change (as they often do while driving), the external stimuli changes. This means more things to interact with. Or, you could always stick to the traditional self-contained applications: open up Netflix, hand your kid a juice box and enjoy your commute while listening to the sound of Little Einsteins remix classical music (or, just give them headsets). I implore you, check the vid -- it's a much cooler story when told digitally. GM deserves credit here, for throwing down the gauntlet to the Israeli students. Props for a job well done.

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BACK IN THE STATES, GENERAL MOTORS intends to take this technology one step further. Ever seen a deer on the road? Ever almost hit one? (and, you didn't hear it from us BUT: ever want to watch out for cops?) Smart Windshields featuring AR technology promise to do just that. That technology is currently going through Research & Developement at GM, and personally I estimate the tech to reach the market around 2016 (if not sooner). While insurance premiums may see a slight rise due to such vehicles, I predict a more stabile market in the years to come. Call it a hunch. Maybe I have something in my back pocket. Maybe not. But the beautiful thing is it's my opinion, and you don't have to like it. You should, however, consider investing in GM. Also, CORNING -- the company behind "Gorrila Glass" (used in every iPhone) and "Lotus Glass" (for Organic-Light-Emitting-Diode TVs; the future of which is moving toward transparence).** Just saying.


WHILE CORNING INC. ENVISONS "A Day Of Glass", they aren't the only game in town. Technically they are THE game in the U.S., thanks in no small part to being Apple's exlucsive manufacturer of handheld display glass. But Japan's Asahi Glass Co. is a major power player as well, and is an integral part of Mitsubishi. It's subsidiaries include AGC Glass Europe who, like Corning, have been busy innovating just about everything all across Europe, from Bathroom Mirrors to entire buildings. Having both of these companies available gives you stock options, as Asahi trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. So, if both companies do virtually the same things, what difference does it make who you back with your money? As much as I am a personal fan of good old American CORNING, and despite how very much pleased I am with the quality of Corning's viral "A Day Made of Glass" video, I must point out that AGC Europe came out with a similar video -- except back in 2007. Boom. I'll let you compare and contrast.


ACG Glass Europe's Corportate video, circa 2007

CORNING Incorporated's viral hit "A Day Made of Glass", 2011.

LASTLY, LETS GET REAL ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BATHROOM. You space out while conditioner seeps into your follicles as you contemplate the gazzilion things you have to get done, e-mails you could be checking instead of bathing, or that blog post that you really wanted to read (THAT WAS A SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE). With technology that lets the user fog and de-fog shower glass at will, one can only imagine that interactive smart-shower-glass-doors are soon to follow. I will say this, however: most people have more important things to do than throw money into a non-hygiene related product that they will only use while in the shower or on the john, so don't expect smart-shower-doors in your local Home Depot anytime soon. Such unnecessary and impractical ammentities are reserved for "The 1%" -- because we all know that's where all that money is best spent. PRACTICALLY SPEAKING, however, the simpler, more sensical idea of de-foggable glass is actually very cool and makes loads of sense -- especially in an office setting, in order to make fancy partitions that would make Michael Scott envious. Watch the video. Be amazed.


That's all for today folks. The future is bright (but nothing that digital blinds can't handle, I'm sure). Remember kids, YOU ARE THE FUTURE. Go change your world.



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*Props to SimplyZesty.com where I discovered this bit o' news about the GM-Israeli partnership, and major props to Engadget for providing me w/ the video to re-share.
**I am not a professional stock broker; this is merely my opinion. Take it or leave it.
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