MIT Researcher: 6 Ways Technology Will Make Us Immortal, Telepathic And More

Making The Impossible Possible

Technology has already helped humans achieve some pretty remarkable things -- but that phenomenon is not over yet.

That was the message delivered by David Rose, a product designer and researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, during his session Monday at XChange Solution Provider 2013. Rose specifically honed in on the emerging "Internet of Things" trend -- or the movement by which embedded sensors are allowing everyday objects to "speak" to one another and connect to the internet -- while providing a glimpse into our technology-driven future.

Rose touched on six unique capabilities the "Internet of Things" and technology in general will allow humans to do -- many of which have only been dreamed of in movies, books and fairy tales.

Take a look to see what the future holds.


Humans have a natural thirst for knowledge that MIT's Rose thinks the Internet Of Things will help quench more than ever.

As an example, he pointed to Ambient Devices, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that produces internet-connected and seemingly all-knowing gadgets that keep their users up to date about the things going on around them. The Ambient Orb, for instance, is a frosted-glass ball that glows different colors to display real-time information related to everything ranging from stock market trends and traffic congestion to pollen forecasts and wind speeds.

Ambient Devices also makes Energy Joule, a gadget that displays and communicates real-time changes in energy costs and a home's energy consumption.


Rose said the emerging Internet of Things trend will also enable people to be telepathic, or know what those around them are thinking and doing.

The MIT-developed LumiTouch, for instance, is a picture frame that allows users to know when their loved ones are thinking about them. LumiTouch users can squeeze the frame surrounding a photo of a family member, and then that family member's framed picture of them (assuming it’s also a LumiTouch) will light up as a result, sending the signal that they're on somebody's mind.

Rose also noted other new, Jetson-like gadgets for the home that arm users with a telepathic-like skill. Internet-connected doorbells, for instance, can be programmed to send a specific ring tone to family member's smartphone when another member is approaching the door.


The advancement of technology is also empowering humans to better protect themselves, Rose said, sharing a half-astounding, half-frightening fact that a Google search for "teddy bear cameras" came back with 1.8 million results.

But, less obvious -- and perhaps less intrusive -- means of protections are emerging because of technology, Rose said, citing Google Glass as an example. Google's new internet-connected eyewear allows users to record every moment of their day, meaning they can perfectly recall conversations, what was going on around them and who was around them, if they ever needed to glimpse back in time for security-related or really any other reason.


While the Internet of Things might not help humans live forever (at least not yet), it can certainly help them live longer, Rose said.

Take Glow Caps, for instance, a pill bottle cap that alerts users when they forgot to take their medication. Made by a company called Vitality, Glow Caps can send a notification to users via their smartphones, or, as its name suggests, by lighting up a wirelessly connected night light in their homes, to remind them it's time for their daily dose.

So far, Glow Caps has been a success; Rose said a recent study proved that users of the device were 98 percent likely to remember their medications every day, compared to the 78 percent likelihood of those not using the device.


Unfortunately, technology experts are still working on the whole teleportation thing. But, in the meantime, Rose noted some pretty cool ways they're revolutionizing the travel and transportation industries.

At MIT, for example, researchers are working on the City Car Project, an initiative that's yielding a new generation of electric cars that not only save on fuel costs, but can physically "fold" themselves to save room when parking. Rose said these little cars can condense their size so much, that five of them can fit in a parking spot otherwise meant for a single car.

Rose also spoke of ambient bus polls, which can be used at bus stops to indicate how far away the bus is. The device will turn different colors based on the bus' location, so passengers can see from a block away if they need to hustle to the bus stop or have some time to kill.


Among its many applications, technology is used for human expression, Rose said -- and the Internet of Things is set to accelerate that trend.

Take the "I/O Brush" developed at MIT, for example. It's a next-generation drawing tool that lets users paint and draw using the textures and patterns found on everyday objects surrounding them. Using a built-in video camera and touch sensors, the I/O Brush can be swiped across pretty much anything -- flowers, M&M's, even a person's physical features -- "pick up" that pattern, and then transfer that pattern to its drawing canvas. Users can make whatever kind of special "ink" they want, just by exploring the items around them.