TECH NOUS What to Expect

Imagine the reaction if you transported somebody from 1906 into the present day to witness all that has been invented over the past 100 years. Researchers tell us that at the current rate of change, we will see the equivalent of 100 years of technology development crammed into the next 20 years – and from there it will take only 12 years to repeat the process.
I don’t quite understand how they work it out – but look at the advances in technology over the past 10 years. Think about what was once considered science fiction material, but which we now take for granted.
New technology is fuelled by our basic business desire to identify (or more importantly create) what people need or want, and to make profit from it.
This is why, for example, perfectly good computers with 32-bit architecture are being upgraded to 64-bit machines.
This is why we need mobile handsets with all the latest bells and whistles, when really all we ever do 99 percent of the time is make/receive phone calls and/or text messages.
Technology, more specifically high-speed anywhere communications and web-based technology, is having profound impact on the way we live and do business. The internet offers countless and increasing moneymaking opportunities.
For example, I was staggered to discover recently the values being placed on web-based games ‘levels’ – after year’s effort, my son’s ‘Runescape’ proceeds were considerable. However, making $1 million by selling the pixels on your home page is infinitely more mind-boggling.
If you wanted an accurate snapshot of just how quickly technology is advancing on us , visit to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas at the beginning of this year would have been real eye-opener.
Toshiba was one of many manufacturers at CES 2006 and its display had particular emphasis on audio-visual advancements.
There was the world’s first HD (high definition) DVD player – the next-generation DVD format defined by the DVD Forum (you didn’t really think you’d own the latest technology for long did you?). It’s expected to land here around the middle of the year.
Toshiba also displayed its HD DVD laptop to show off the audio-visual capabilities the next generation DVD will bring to computing.
Also demonstrated was 3D display technology – delivering 3D images on flatbed displays without the need for special glasses. There’s detachable display too, which works as normal when attached to the PC, but can be separated for pen-based computing – writing memos, reading documents or demonstrating concepts, such as in sales presentations.
A prototype of Toshiba’s direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) was also shown – powering Portégé notebook. The fuel cell runs on methanol-oxygen fuel mix, generating and supplying power directly to the computer. With an energy density up to several times that of typical lithium-ion battery, the DMFC delivers much longer continuous operation.
Toshiba also demonstrated high-speed, wireless video transfer between ‘gigashot’ HDD video camera equipped with USB-compatible transmitter and PC with USB-compatible receiver. This wireless technology offers high-speed connectivity at data rate of 480Mbps.
There was the chance to view the new SED Theatre technology – surface conduction electron-emitter displays that combine flat panel lines with CRT-performance. We don’t have room here to explain how it works – suffice to say it has brightness, contrast and colour gradation levels like you’ve never seen before.
To round it all off there was Digital Living Network – showing how tomorrow’s consumers will be able to share video, audio and pictures in an environment of linked broadband networks and digital devices. (In New Zealand we may have to wait little longer for this to catch on, considering how slow our broadband uptake has been.)
All this, and we haven’t even mentioned the technology other manufacturers were showcasing at the Las Vegas expo.
It’s no wonder that homeowners everywhere are frantically converting their rumpus rooms into home theatres, and people of all ages won’t step outside the front door without their iPod or MP3 player.
Despite what many may say, we’ve mostly adjusted to the pace of change and we’re simply addicted to the devices that drive that change. We might as well get used to that fact.
I am reminded of the words from the great Greek philosopher Heraclitus – “Nothing endures but change.”

Glenn Baker is regular contributor to
[email protected]

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