Entertainment: Fantasy Only No More?

The good and the bad when it comes to technology…

The Good
It brings the mystical and fantastical closer to reality

The Bad


So what “advances” in technology have come across the table recently…

well I think the one that everyone has heard of at this point would be the possibility that an invisibility cloak is closer to fruition. ,a href=”http://www.mugglenet.com/app/news/show/96″ target=”_blank”>Back in 2006 it was reported that scientists are trying to find way to make to turn the invisibility cloak into a reality.

In 2011, researchers in Texas appear to be one step closer to turning visible, invisible using nanotechnology.

My issue? As it was once mentioned to me… any good technology out there, chances are high the military will be the first and only party to make use of it. Granted in the wrong hands who knows what may happen… but at the same time… is there such a thing as “in the right hands”?


Moving on.

So that lead me to realizing that there were other aspects of the Harry Potter world that have been recreated on a smaller scale… like the “magic wand” and I don’t mean a trick wand either.

Granted if I was really cynical I would say that everyone has at least one magic wand sitting with them at home and that they use it every day, it is called “the remote control”. Particularly those that happen to have the “multi-function remote control” lying around at home.

However, instead of a “point and click” of a remote control… all the features that once could use via the remote control The Wand Company has in their “magic wand” but not only that, you have to swish the wand around in very specific patterns in order to activate particular functions.

I don’t know about you, but this sounds very suspiciously like a particular iPhone app that was all the rage a few years ago.

Then again I digress…

Now the one device that several people might find intriguing but when you break it down logically makes a hell of a whole lot of sense is the clock that emulates the one that the Weasley Family owns.

How? Well… considering how so many people uses all these social networking platforms whenever they go, one particularly inventive patriarch decided to use those same social networking sites to his advantage and pretty much created a computer that takes the form of a clock.

According to the inventor:

The clock uses a wireless connection to retrieve four twitter feeds, parse them, and decide where to set the hands. It then passes the information to an arduino board which drives four servo motors to turn the hands.

Now for an engineer like myself… I am intrigued and fascinated by something that appears to work rather well. However… as with all first tries he has potential improvements for later projects which you can read on the site.

Can I say upfront that I am probably most fascinated by this one?

This is something that in all honesty we already use in everyday life… but not to the extent that it shown in the Harry Potter series: radar. The air traffic control systems are but a blueprint to the possibility of bringing something like the Marauder’s Map to life.

So how to apply this to an individual level? Simply through the wonderful devices that everybody probably has on them every day: the cell (mobile) phone. Over at Olin College (that has a student body of less than 500) they have already created an Android viewer/app that allows anyone on campus that has an android phone to find out where other students are on campus.

How does this work? According to the Olin Projects blog post:
The Marauder’s Map works by looking at the signal strength of wireless routers that your laptop can see. Based on these signal strengths, the Map does a multi-dimensional distance formula to figure out what room on campus you are most likely to be in.

Now… can one just imagine what could happen if this kind of technology and programming becomes far more widespread? Particularly when technology continues to integrate further and deeper into our lives?

Just sayin…

But still… kind of cool to know that the lines between technology and magic blurring with every passing moment. Much like how a lot of the technology that was revealed in the Star Trek universe we now use in everyday life, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Just look at the various articles from ,a href=”http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/10-star-trek-technologies.htm” target=”_blank”>HowStuffWorks.com and PCWorld.com.

You know what this means? It means that the future is upon us… and the ability to create more “futuristic” devices that are firmly planted in fantasy is slowly disappearing…

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