Technology, the application of scientific knowledge in creating tools, techniques and systems in order to solve life’s problems has evolved faster than most could have imagined. The use of technology globally is increasing rapidly and alongside it, our dependence on it to accomplish complex and everyday tasks. In recent times, certain technologies such as smartphones, have revolutionised how the world works and ‘The internet of things’ is just taking off. In this article I will take a tour of some of the new emerging technologies;
Robots: Mostly humanoid in form, robots have been designed to complete specific tasks using a combination sensors, control systems and complex software. Recent advancements have led to robots which were once only conceived of in science fiction.
- NASA Curiosity Rover: A car sized robotic rover exploring the Gale Crater on Mars. It investigates the red planet’s climate and geology.
- Asimo: Hondas Humanoid Robot. Asimo can turn on a light switch, carry objects and push carts. It also recognizes faces and gestures as well as moving objects
- DARPA’s Atlas: Google’s Humanoid Robot developed with Boston Dynamics for the upcoming DARPA Robotic Challenge. This is a very sophisticated robot and can perform virtually any task it’s been ask to perform. It’s 75% complete and it should be fully ready before the middle of May.
- BigDog: BigDog is robot that walks, runs, climbs and carries heavy loads on rough terrains such as mountains. It has four legs like an animal and powered by an engine that drives a hydrulic actuation system.
The introduction of robots into Ghana will be a giant stride for the tech industry in the country. Imagine marine robots searching our seas and lakes to rescue people when they drown, robots at the reception of a hotel which lay your bed and take your luggages to your room, and robotic surgeons that perform complex surgeries in our hospitals. Some of these robots are already present in China and just because we can, here is robot which can cook for you
It’s obvious robots will take a center stage in Ghana in about a decade or more but having them will surely be a great thing!
- Autonomous Cars: Just as torpedos can be self guided to their targets and airplanes have autopilots, autonomous cars are able to perceive their environment, decide what routes to take to its destination and drive there. After long years of research, Google and some of the biggest vehicle manufacturers in the world are finally making driverless cars a reality. Driverless cars are officially being trialled in the UK and are expected to be deployed in other countries in a few years.
It might take over 10 years for this technology to reach Ghana (or even Africa) but they will still come anyway. By then, the technology will have reached a state where a high level of safety is assured to all, effectively allowing drivers to become passengers as autonomous cars take over, enabling them to work or entertain themselves as they are driven around.
- Quadcopters: This piece of technology never ceases to amaze me. I guess you have already seen many videos or heard of these little remote controlled copters (if not here you go).
Quadcopters are helicopter-like flying machines with multiple propellers which can be controlled by smartphones or remote control kits.
It has both recreational and professional applications. Kids can play around with it and professionals can use it for taking videos and photos from an aerial view. Drones and other multi rotor devices have been used for surveillance, military airstrikes and entertainment purposes. Amazon is trialling out a service where drones deliver packages to their customers right at their destinations.
- Wireless Payments: Many flagship phones like the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 Plus have a wireless technology known as NFC (Near Field Communication). It is a short range, low-powered radio tech (like bluetooth) that transfers data between two devices held close to each other.
NFC associates you and your bank account to a computer. With your NFC ready device you can make payments for products or services just by tapping your device on a payment terminal where the provider is adequately equipped. This technology is available in many developed countries notably the US and UK. Have you imagined buying a movie ticket at Silverbird Weija by just tapping your phone on a nice looking payment terminal?
- Internet of Things: Let’s look at the scenario in which gadgets, objects and animals have the ability to interact with each other and humans via the internet. The concept of Internet of Things makes it makes this a reality, where the functionality of everyday items are increased by introducing new levels of interactivity. Consider the Google Glass, with its head-mounted display. It packs many features such as HD video recording with live streaming, text message notifications with voice reply and language translation on-the-go. There is also Philips’ Hue, a smart bulb used with its smartphone app which can change color as set by user, turn itself on in the night when the user is not at home or notify the user of certain events.
TV’s, cars, washing machines, air conditioners, refrigerators and many other devices are gradually becoming integrated. With the right amount of money and technical resources, your whole house and the appliances within it can be connected to a smartphone application allowing you total control even if you are physical absent. I can’t wait for the opportunity to send a text to my fridge and tell it not to open itself to anyone!
The future of technology is here, and there is no reason for African countries to lag behind. As larger percentages of the population becomes tech savvy added to the continuous push for computer literacy and emphasis on acquiring programming knowledge, I expect we will no longer wish we had certain technologies. Rather I will be on the lookout for a generation of technology advancements that were trialled and firstly launched on the continent. A world wide addressing system integrated with Snoocode could be a start.
Do you have any interesting technologies not present currently in Ghana or Africa which would be great to have? Share them with us in the comments section below.