The Switch – Electronics & humans !

– Maggie Deka

video gamesTrue Story – On one of the episodes of ‘Mobbed’ that I watched on Youtube- the best proposal, I responded on someone’s not-so-cheerful comment, that it is possible to find true love. For which, someone else responded, that he was both surprised and intrigued by me. The very next day I receive this friend request on Facebook and we get to chatting. Soon enough we make plans to meet, and he turns out to be this amazing guy. We are “just friends” so you know.
Unfortunately, sites like Facebook, YouTube and Google are banned in the country I am residing in. But thanks to VPN, I can access these sites with ease anytime I want to.
Now to get to the point, I am referring to ‘Technology’. I have watched and read several posts about how technology is taking over our lives, and we spend little or no time with our loved ones. True to a point, but come on guys, be real here. Aren’t we all using the latest technology anyway?
I remember my grandmother saying, how much she misses not having a television at home when she was younger, and all the kids would play all sorts of games to pass their time. Life was wonderful and peaceful then. Throughout this last decade or so, she would happily watch all the episodes of the ‘K’ series on TV and if she missed even one for some reason, she would frantically pick up her mobile phone and call a friend to get updates. And then they would discuss for hours at length like they knew the characters personally. ‘Mihir died for the 8th time, but he will be back’.
Technology is indubitably a necessity to improve pre-existing solutions to most of our problems. Even the technologies that have created unwanted by-products such as ‘pollution’, as humans we still strive to improve and work towards making things better. But I am aware, that few have disagreements over whether it is improving our lives or destroying it.
Now, how innovative can one get with technology? Let’s look at the oculus rift for example, the latest version for consumers isn’t out yet, but the buzz and excitement is all around. In a normal setting your eyes cannot see 3d, however, the oculus rift made that possible. The rift is a head mounted display giving you virtual reality in 3D imaging. A hoochie koo time for the gamers out there!! After almost a year of shipping the original development kit, the team announced DK2, the second development kit for the Oculus Rift which should be out for the consumer’s, end of this year. For those who purchased the DK1 don’t fret, I am sure you can sell your kit on ebay or OLX and I guarantee there will be thousands ready to pay good money for it. Bas a friend, once told me that in the next 5-10 years every house would probably have an AVR headset! Sounds totally cool doesn’t it?
I have never been an ardent fan of video games, and for those of you who think the gaming world is taking up a lot of time away from social life; you may be correct in some way. There were times we made up games with sticks, leaves and coconut shells; times we would long to talk to a friend who moved to another city/country without a forwarding address. What I believe, is that technology is not taking over, but we as humans are. We need to indulge in pithy of how technology can co-exist in our lives and emancipate ourselves.
Let us look at the latest self driving car for instance by Google. This is a two seat subcompact (mini) car, the prototypes of which should hit the roads in less than a year. There is no steering wheel and no pedals; so what you actually do is just enter your destination on the screen and press a button to start. Just like that of a GPS. However, there is an emergency break available between the two seats, to be used if necessary. The amazing part it that of the sensor placed on top of the car- which detects traffic, and slows down at turns. Though it sounds amazing, for someone like me, who has been driving on her own for years, I think I would still be pretty circumspect till I reach my destination. It is very convenient for the elderly, the physically challenged, the late night party goers and of-course people who have failed their driving tests a couple of times, and want to just give up the idea of obtaining their own licence!!
Technology is visible everywhere starting from virtual classrooms to video conferences to the everyday tools you use at home. But what intrigues me most is the ‘Solar Roadways’. Though many believe it would be expensive for worldwide acceptance, I personally still think, it’s a brilliant idea considering it is environment friendly. It started with Scott Brusaw and Julie Brusaw discussing global warming sitting in their garden one afternoon, when they came up with this idea. They made the prototype considering a solid structural engineered case to protect the fragility of the panel. They also realized that snow could ruin the panel and there was low visibility at night. So they added heated element to avoid snow accumulation, and LED’s fitted with microprocessor, to light up the road like a runway. Sensors were added so the microprocessor could read and warn drivers in advance of an animal/anyone crossing the road. To add to this innovative idea, they also considered taking out the electric poles and wires and putting them underground into the utility box; that way the area could be wire/pole free. The team of engineers, from three different universities in the U.S. are contributing to the development of the project, and would be using organic recycle materials getting rid of most of the trash. This technology can be used not only on roads, but also in parking lots, playgrounds etc.
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We get so much out of the advancement in our lives through technology. We learn, see, are able to give our opinions and inspire others miles away, get to see animals, places which otherwise would not have been possible without travelling. We become more benevolent and try and reach out to people we haven’t even met at times.
We are all used to technology in some way or another, and sometimes do silly things using it. For instance, the other day I was talking to my friend Jas over the phone, and after a while she seemed distracted. Then she said she couldn’t find her phone… Umm just as she said that, she realized she “was” on her phone talking to me, and we both had a great laugh. I am certain at some point in time; you have wanted to give a ‘miss call’ to you remote or your car keys when you couldn’t locate it. Don’t worry that’s happened to all of us at some point in our lives.
Bill Gates quoted ‘Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.’
So all in all, I think technology is amazing and we should embrace it. Considering how convenient life has become, I am absolutely thrilled by what is coming next. Having said that, it is important that we should also consider how, not everything should be dependent on technology and we should not lose touch of reality. Learn to co-exist and contribute to the environment and spend more time with your loved ones.

Picture source: http://www.commongunsense.com
Picture source: www.dailyplanetmedia.com

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