Cellular phones have been reinvented as smartphones while cameras are being reinvented as connected devices. Idiot Box has blossomed into smart television. From just a desktop computer, we now have multiple options of laptop, netbook, ultrabook, tablet and phablet. Convergence has taken new random hues with a ubiquitous device such as smartphone becoming a projector. Elsewhere, even if on a laboratory scale, newer domains such as nanotechnology, stem cells and epigenetics are supporting the emergence of revolutionary options in healthcare. Given the profound impact technology would continue to have, this blog post postulates some thoughtful technologies that could make further positive impact on our lives.
For all the amazing things the smartphones do in terms of amazing displays and myriad applications, the way they guzzle battery power has been a negative point. Smartphone makers have been fighting the trend by providing batteries of increasing power (from conventional 1400 mAh to 2600 mAh). Some tablet makers are even thinking of providing dual batteries. Smartphones which recapture some of the heat and smartphones which are charged by daylight and electric light could reduce substantially environmental load by downsizing or even obviating battery usage. The same self-powering or natural-powering principles can be applied to a wide range of devices including laptops and other devices.
Typical homes and offices which bask in sunlight absorb as well as reflect plentiful energy. Various devices in the homes and offices generate significant heat. Technologies should be deployed to channel all this energy into energy sinks which can be drawn for operation of various devices. Use of energy absorbing and channeling materials on one hand and programmable energy sinks could be an extremely novel way of optimizing energy consumption. Given the emerging state of the Indian society, the energy recycling and co-generation options can be developed from simple options (like solar heaters and TV to low volt charging) to total systems (like total energy transducer). Given the level of noise and heat that is generated in the streets in India, even these could be captured for additional impact!
If there is one development that is an "absolute must" it is the minimizing of oil consumption. Hybrid automobile engine technologies offer a major area for oil conservation. Rather than go in for completely alternate fuel programs, hybrids which convert kinetic energy of automotive motion (when running on conventional engines) into electric energy of motors (to be used when possible. The hybrid technologies that are now available only for high end cars must be extended to all cars and other automobiles (including trucks, buses, three wheelers and two wheelers). The technological solution to oil conservation is far superior to substitution of diesel power for gasoline power based on administered pricing decisions. Hybrid technologies require significant tax incentives and potentially dedicated hybrid technology laboratories to achieve mass coverage.