Happy New Year! Good grief, are the holidays over already? I was just getting into the swing of things!
Actually, I'm really looking forward to the coming year, because I have a feeling it's going to be jam-packed-full of interesting and surprising developments in electronic components and design tools.
I'm also expecting there to be a lot of other cool news and products. As one example, just the other day I was telling a wheel-chair-bound friend about some of the cunning tools (engineer-type toys really) that are available from a company called X10 (www.x10.com).
The reason this came about is that it grew dark while we were chatting, and my friend had to ask me (via his speech synthesis package on his eye-controlled computer) to turn up the lights. Just a few days earlier, another friend had been regaling me with the fact that he could control his house lights via the Internet while on a business trip to India using devices he's procured from X10.
So my obvious thought was that my friend in the wheelchair could use the same technology to control things like lights around his house. The one thing we ran into a problem with was how to change the channel on the TV. So you can imagine my surprise to read that a company called Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems has developed an implantable microelectrode array that – combined with a digital signal processing system – allows people to exercise control over electronic systems through the power of thought. For example, the company has demonstrated the use of this technology to allow an individual to control a television simply by thinking. (You can check out the article Here.)
Although this technology is still some way from commercialization, it would have been considered a dream of Science Fiction only a few short years ago. We truly do live in interesting times (and they look set to become even more interesting real soon)!