Remember that space-age 21st century future we used to read about when we were kids?
Well, it’s here now. Yep, flying cars and all.
Here are some of the inventions currently being refined that will make our lives better (or at least more fun).
The future is NOW.
1. The flying car.
A car that’s also a plane sounds like pure sci-fi. But Slovak company AeroMobil believe their flying cars could be on the market within two years. They drive like ordinary cars, and even fit into an average parking space. But they also have piloting controls, so if you have a pilot’s licence as well as a driver’s licence, the sky’s the limit. No more getting stuck in traffic on your way to work.
Admittedly, an AeroMobil flying car did crash in May, but thanks to the built-in parachute, the pilot survived. Just part of the testing process.
2. The driverless car.
This is so close to becoming reality. Driverless cars are going to be tested on Adelaide’s Southern Expressway in November. (Don’t worry – they’ll block off three lanes of traffic first). Think of the benefits. Your driverless car could drop your kids off at school and take your elderly mother to the doctor.
There are other advantages to the technology. Traffic could be centrally controlled, directing cars away from roadworks, and moving them to the side when an ambulance comes along. And no one would ever need to be the designated driver again.
3. The exercise pill.
Imagine your body getting all the benefits of exercise… without actually having to do any. Too good to be true, right? Well, researchers at the University of Southampton in the UK have discovered something they call Compound 14. It tricks cells into thinking they’ve run out of energy, so they increase their glucose uptake and metabolism. This is something normally only happens after exercise.
Tests of Compound 14 on mice showed that obese ones lost five per cent of their body weight in a week. There’s potential for a pill for humans. But if you’re only carrying a couple of unwanted kilos, you’ll probably still have to go to the gym.
4. The smart contact lens.
For a lot of people with diabetes, pricking their finger several times a day to test their blood sugar is a necessity. But a new contact lens could take away the need for finger pricks. The contact lens, being developed by Google and Novartis, would test people’s blood sugar using their tears.
The results would be sent to a phone or computer. With the rate of diabetes on the rise, this invention has the potential to help a huge number of people.
5. The invisibility cloak.
It all sounds very Harry Potter. But scientists at the University of Rochester in New York have come up with something that works like an invisibility cloak, made using four standard lenses. You can put your hand behind it, and your hand disappears. Whatever was behind your hand is still visible.
Scientists say it might be useful for surgeons who want to be able to look through their hands to see what they’re operating on. We’re sure people will think of a few other uses…
6. The drone postie.
It’s great ordering stuff online. The only problem is that you have to wait for it to be delivered by snail mail. But soon, you might not have to wait very long at all. Amazon is looking at using specially designed drones to deliver packages to people’s homes, promising that they’ll arrive less than 30 minutes after being ordered. For real? Yep. Amazon has visions of thousands or even millions of drones in the air above America (and, hopefully, one day, Australia).
The drones would all have GPS and sensors to avoid collisions, obviously. No one wants to be killed by a falling copy of 50 Shades Of Grey.
If you think your kid can come up with an invention to rival these, why not encourage them to enter Origin’s littleBIGidea competition? They could win a trip to the US to visit the NASA Kennedy Space Centre. The competition is for students in Years 3 to eight 8. To enter, they just need to write about an invention or a clever idea that could make the world a better place.
But hurry, time is running out. Entries close on August 21, so head to www.littlebigidea.com.au to find out more today.
What other inventions do you hope to see in the future?
Want more? How about:
Final chance for young inventors to win a trip to the USA.
To foster creativity and help unearth the next world-changing invention, Origin is calling on budding young inventors from Years 3-8 to enter their ideas into the 2015 littleBIGidea competition for their chance to win a trip of a lifetime to visit NASA in the USA.
But time is running out – entries close on 21 August, so enter today.
For more information, visit www.littlebigidea.com.au