The mobile phone is one of, if not the most important gadgets in your possession today. With the countless possible uses, the phone designer’s are looking ahead to a lucrative and guaranteed future. Here I look at a few of the possibilities for tomorrow’s world.
Camera, MP3 player, video recorder, dictation/sound recorder… stay with me, games machine, TV, sat nav, computer, PDA, remote controller, projector and wait for it…shaver! Yes, a person in China has developed a prototype phone with a shaver attachment and Samsung have launched a mobile phone complete with projector aimed at the business sector. The big players are unlikely to take up the shaver option as it will inevitably be a niche market. – No apologies for the pun!
It goes without saying that of all devices that are used in everyday life, somebody, somewhere, will try and incorporate them into a mobile phone at some stage in the near future. Your mobile phone is already more technically advanced and has many times more memory capacity than the computer that took Neil Armstrong to the moon in 1969. Okay it may have been 40 years ago, but don’t we all still look at the moon in awe of that great achievement?
If we combine the aforementioned projector function with the laser you can see the possibilities for producing a life-size hologram of the person you are talking to, anywhere on the planet; in fact anywhere in space, considering the signals are beamed back from space via satellites. It is extraordinary to think that a modern day astronaut could theoretically call on a mobile phone and using voice commands, set up a direct debit to pay his gas utility bill from the surface of the moon. Not far then into the future he could be talking to a six foot realistic looking custom gift card printing human being. “The thing that will really bake your noodle” (to quote the ‘Oracle’ in The Matrix) is that the bank teller will also be able to see a life-sized hologram of the astronaut on the moon! There would be an 8 second delay in communications, but unless a Stephen Hawking invents time travel we are somewhat inhibited by the speed at which light travels.
It’s only a matter of time before a mini-chuck can be slotted in to the base of a mobile phone to drill a hole and change the bit then insert a screw. Maybe a phone could double as a theodolite for the surveyor that likes to travel light or a distance meter for an architect or maybe a multi-meter for an electrical engineer.
A chef can already use a phone to view and download a new menu but could it soon be possible to use it to mix a sauce and light the alcohol to flambé a dish or test the temperature of a cooked chicken?
Imagine if a gas rig worker or a miner could detect flammable atmospheres, the canary population would double in the next ten years!
In the crime fighting world there could be many new applications for fingerprint recognition (although this technology already exists), iris scanning, face recognition number plate recognition, speed camera/radar detection and even further into the future DNA testing from a mouth swab all using the mobile phone. Mobile Infra red motion detection linked to your house alarm or a remote call center could see your phone doubling as a second pair of eyes. Night vision camera-phones feeding images via the phone network to anywhere in the world the possibilities for this are endless. Imagine being able to check up on your pet at all hours or that your car is where you left it. There could also be military applications for phones that have these night imaging capabilities.
In the medical world our fitness could be monitored, Sony already have a pedometer as a function installed in a mobile phone, imagine if a person with a heart arrhythmia problem could be constantly monitored via the phone, located via the phone signal and treated at the scene … with the phone. We seem to be getting into the realms of fantasy now, but to think that just ten years ago talking to a relative via a mobile telephone video link in Australia was like a scene from Star Trek, maybe it is not so incredible after all.
A vet could perhaps use his phone to scan a micro chip in an animal. The technology already exists in a slightly different format to pay for goods and services and entry to stadium using the mobile phone handset as a secure credit or travel card. This technology, called NFC (Near Field Communication) allows the user – after downloading a secure application – to sweep the phone over a sensor, the sensor reads the information and gain entry to a building or make a transaction.
On the downside criminals will surely take advantage of the new technical innovations, and it will be a difficult and ongoing battle for the authorities to keep one step ahead. With this in mind it will not be long before mobile phones are totally banned on airplanes, despite British Airways recently advertising a new in-flight mobile phone service. The possibilities to build-in devices that can help in our everyday lives also open a whole new can of worms for air travel security organizations worldwide. I mention this in this article not as a training tip for any ‘wannabe’ insurgents but as a wake-up call to the travel and security organizations that protect our welfare when we move around our ever shrinking planet. Stun guns are openly sold on the internet and delivered all over the world with impunity. That same technology exists in mobile phones and with some modifications your Nokia or Samsung could become the hijacker’s weapon of choice.