Monthly Archives: August 2016

Wearable technology trend

As technology advances, the development of ridiculous and mostly useless gadgets soar, many of which only receive attention due to their bizarreness. While wearable technology has grown increasingly popular, this latest invention leaves you wondering whether such a product will ever be in demand.

If you think the idea of robotic pets sounds ridiculous, wait until you learn about the wearable banana, a real piece of fruit designed to alert you if you’re physically overexerting yourself, notify you of lap times and help cheer you on through Twitter updates.

Named “the world’s first edible wearable,” the wearable banana is equipped with GPS sensors and LED lights and designed to be worn on the wrist, reports Tech Times.

The Japanese division of Dole, the world’s largest fruit distributor, developed the strange device, debuting it at February’s Tokyo Marathon, but according to reports, only two out of 30,000 participants donned the new gadget.

Wearable banana sends marathon runners encouraging Twitter updates

Robotically modified, the wearable banana’s peelings contain electronic components and LED lights that display information, such as the user’s heart rate. The device is also capable of sending messages that remind the user to replenish important vitamins and minerals such as potassium after long-distance running, relays and marathons.

“Engineers have tested it day in and day out to come up with this amazing device,” said Dole in a video promotion for the new product. “This is no regular banana. It’s the best companion for any marathoner. You can strap it around your wrist and run with it until you finish the race.”

The most bizarre thing about the new wearable? You can eat it when you’re done exercising. Tech Times reports that the device’s real banana is removed to attach the electrical components, but is later replaced with a “smaller banana” and stitched back up to resemble an unpeeled banana.

The wearable is connected via a cord to a separate device that’s worn by the user. “The power source is a small battery connected to the wearable banana. Inside the battery there are ultra-compact LEDs and other electronic components,” said Dole, which has not yet released all of the specs for the device.

The wearable device market is projected to reach an estimated $52 billion by 2019, according to CNET, prompting competitors to develop other wearable fuel technology. Take for example the Wearable Tomato project, an electronic robot that attaches to your back like a backpack, feeding you tomatoes while running or working out.

Also debuted at the Tokyo marathon, the tomato-dispensing backpack is designed to conveniently provide runners with the nutrition they need. However, its developers say their invention won’t be complete until it can be worn on the wrist like the wearable banana.

While wearable food devices seem a little outlandish, the concept of getting enough vitamins and minerals before, after or during a workout makes perfect sense. Runners often suffer from muscle cramps in the legs caused by a mineral imbalance. Rich in potassium, bananas work effectively for preventing and even relieving muscle cramps.

The amino and citric acids found in tomatoes help convert glucose into energy, as well as reduce inflammation, making them an excellent dietary staple for long-distance runners. Incorporating tomatoes into your diet is important, but whether you need a robot strapped to your back feeding you those tomatoes is yet to be determined.

Technology being developed

A prominent climate scientist who’s actively involved in developing technologies to thwart the natural weather patterns of the globe says he’s disturbed by the prospect of having to make such drastic changes to the common order of things in order to fight so-called “global warming.”

Dr. Matthew Watson from Bristol University in the UK told the media recently that he’s “terrified” by many of the geoengineering projects currently in the works to thwart man-made climate change, which is still being hawked by many in mainstream science as a threat to humanity.

Speaking to the Daily Mail Online, Dr. Watson explained how futuristic technologies like spraying chemical particles into the sky to reflect sunlight back into space have the potential to disrupt how rain falls, how plants grow and how life lives.

Right now, Dr. Watson is working on a $2.8 million project of this exact nature. The plan is to inject sulfur particles into the earth’s atmosphere with the stated goal of blocking the sun’s rays from reaching Earth, ostensibly to keep the earth from getting too warm.

“Personally, this stuff terrifies me,” Dr. Watson told reporters. “Whilst it is clear that temperatures could be reduced during deployment, the potential for misstep is considerable.”

“By identifying risks, we hope to contribute to the evidence base around geoengineering that will determine whether deployment, in the face of the threat of climate change, has the capacity to do more good than harm.”

Geoengineering will likely cause irreversible damage to planetary ecosystems

The simplistic nature of such projects ignores the immense level of irreversible damage that could result from interfering with the normal functions of the planet. By blocking sunlight, plants won’t be able to engage in photosynthesis, for instance, which means no more oxygen and no more food.

Similarly, humans won’t be able to obtain natural vitamin D if the sun’s rays aren’t allowed to penetrate the atmosphere, triggering an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency and resultant disease.

One proposed method of mitigating excess carbon dioxide, which many would argue isn’t even a real problem, involves planting and irrigating millions of trees in the world’s deserts. But this would directly counteract the natural reflection of sunlight from desert sands back into space, contributing to more warming.

Another proposal involves dumping iron particles into the world’s oceans to supposedly improve the growth of photosynthetic organisms capable of absorbing carbon dioxide. But this concept would only further toxify the world’s oceans, harming sea animals in the process.

Technology to create unnatural beings will

The same Duke University graduate who recently told an audience of scientists in Austria that every living thing is intrinsically flawed and in need of genetic modification is back in the news after announcing plans to one day grant ordinary people the opportunity to create their own fake organisms from the comfort of their own homes.

Cambrian Genomics CEO Austen Heinz envisions a future where nothing is natural and everything is created in a laboratory using synthetic DNA strands imprinted on glass slides. This maniacal concept is somehow idyllic to Heinz, who relishes in the idea that one day humanity might be able to do away with, well, humanity, and all other life for that matter.

Heinz openly admits that his harebrained and reckless visions for the future could end up “killing everyone” on the planet, but he doesn’t really seem to care. Democratizing creation, as he likes to put it, is at the forefront of what his company is fomenting throughout the world, and it’s something that Heinz has been working towards for many years.

Heinz wants DNA creation and synthetic life to be completely unregulated

The plan is to make DNA printing, a technology Heinz personally developed while studying electrical engineering and computer science as part of his doctorate program in South Korea, available to everyone. For just a few cents per DNA letter, anyone will be able to manufacture synthetic life as they personally see fit.

Cambrian is already doing this type of work for pharmaceutical giants like Roche and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), but eventually the company hopes to extend this technology to the common man. Parents might eventually have the option to create designer babies in a lab, for instance, or generate pets and houseplants to accommodate their lifestyles.

The only thing standing in the way is all that pesky regulation, which in a perfect world would protect the biosphere against such sadistic meddling. But Heinz hopes to do away with all regulation, which he admits is not in the best interests of what his company is trying to accomplish.

“We wouldn’t want the industry to be regulated,” he openly stated to the SFGate.com. “So, ‘How do we democratize creation without killing everyone?’ is basically the question.”

Creating synthetic life on DNA plates akin to eugenics

All of this might seem like utter lunacy, but there are actually financial backers out there willing to support these and other vain attempts by deranged visionaries to play God. A startup known as “Glowing Plant,” for example, raised more than $480,000 on Kickstarter for a genetically modified (GM), glow-in-the-dark plant concept that it hatched before eventually being kicked off the site.

Cambrian has raised even more money, gaining $10 million from more than 120 private investors, according to SFGate, including Peter Thiel’s venture firm Founders Fund. All of these investors believe in Heinz’s ideas, as vile as they are, and with enough financial backing they could one day become the new norm.

“We have to take seriously people like Austen Heinz who say they want to modify future generations of human beings and upgrade the human species,” said Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, a bioethics watchdog group based out of Berkeley, California. What Heinz is proposing is legitimized eugenics, a term to which he objects but that substantiates every aspect of what he’s trying to do.

“I think that technical project is far more complicated than they acknowledge,” Darnovsky added. “Nonetheless, their story about what we should be striving for as human beings, as a society, I think is very troubling.”