Research round 3

Some future trends that may dictate where technology is headed toward and how it impacts us…

The last post was all about technology in today’s society and how it helps shape our lives and impact us as a race. But researchers and engineers all around the world continue to spend time, while their employers spend money to have the next new piece of innovation that will be the next new trend that will fly off store shelves (or websites) coming into the homes of every consumer (or business) gaining billions. So in this round, we will be looking at exciting new pieces of tech that are still in its infancy packing great potential…

Foldable screens:

The idea of foldable screens is very simple, to possess a phone (small screen) and a tablet (large screen) in one device so how does it work? First thought of by Xerox in the 1970s (1), but then popularized by Samsung in 2010 the idea is to have a small display around 4” (iPhone SE size) to call, text (2), or do something quickly and then you unfold the device like a flip phone to reveal a display approximately 7.5” (iPad mini size) to play games, watch movies/videos, etc. and then fold it back to the small compact size it was and put in your pocket on the go, like carrying a tablet in a pocket (3). Currently, there are four of these devices that have garnered the most attention.

  • Samsung galaxy fold (available, $2,099USD) (4)
  • Huawei mate X (available, $2,999USD) (5)
  • Motorola Razr (coming soon, $1,500USD) (6)
  • Royole Flexpai (available in China, ¥8,999) (7)

The drawback is obvious, these products are not affordable and are extremely expensive. These devices are also hard to find and purchase. They are only available online on sites like Aliexpress and Newegg which are not as credible and legitimate as bigger websites like amazon. Once you manage to get your hands on one of these products, they are highly delicate and fragile. But foldable phones eliminate the need for a separate tablet carried alongside your cell phone and put the major functions of a tablet and cell phone in one device.

Quantum computers:

These forms of computers will probably never affect us as individuals, but it, however, affects society as a whole. quantum computers are designed with a different type of architecture in mind. processing 2 things at once or 2 numbers at once. Quantum computers are really hard to explain and shatter conventional thinking using probability and unknown variables, so this is a very oversimplified explanation: Computers like the ones we use processes information using 0s and 1s and only those numbers (8). Quantum computers can use either a 0, a 1, or both at the same time. These computers require operating temperatures below -200°C and are found in airtight compartments isolated from everything (9,10). Companies like Burnaby based D-Wave (3033 Beta Ave, Burnaby BC) produce these machines and are one of the few operators of quantum computers along with companies like NASA and Google. These machines offer computing power that is millions of times more powerful than supercomputers that take up space the size of a football stadium in a case that is around 10 ft in length, width, and size. These computers offer large strides and are useful in weather forecasting, stock market predictions, particle physics, simulating experiments, code-breaking and more making an indirect impact on our day to day lives. (11)

Last but most important…AI:

What does AI stand for? AI stands for artificial intelligence and it is exactly as its name suggests, AI is machines and robots learning new stuff. Before this groundbreaking discovery, machines were usually hard-programmed meaning their programmers write a code where the machine strictly follows the code and doesn’t do anything else which is why computers technically never mess up or cause a blunder, unless under a special circumstance or human error. But while hard programmed machines can execute a specific task successfully millions of times over, it also means that they learn nothing else and cannot possibly improve. But artificial intelligence breaks this cycle and enables a machine to learn and adapt to its environment most commonly by doing something over and over again until the machine understands and then begins to execute the new behaviour properly (12) Have a google home or an Amazon Alexa smart speaker? AI is embedded to learn your habits and have the speaker adapt to your specific behaviour, in fact even your smartphone and personal computer have machine learning in it to adapt to your daily lifestyle and provide you with overall better experience. Even processors that come with these phones are tailored for machine learning and are constantly improving the more you use it. This is already making a change and creeping into devices like fridges, refrigerators, washers, dryers, and are also playing a key role in self-driving cars. (13)

This is the last research round! it has been thrilling and enlightening!



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