As technology continues to evolve, every so often, some comes along that's truly game-changing.
And on "The Early Show" Thursday, technology contributor Katie Linendoll showcased ten innovations that are already redefining things and promise to do so for years to come:
iRobot (probably best known for the makers of the Roomba) also makes some of the world's most popular military robots that quietly save lives. Over 3,000 Packbots have been delivered to military and civil defense forces around the world and are customizable for various missions. The Packbot has been used in 9/11 and is regularly used in terrain areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. The PackBot's main mission is to get in the line of fire. With its multiple cameras it can look around corners for snipers keeping operators at a safe distance (beaming imagery back), dispose of bombs or even sample the air for radiation and chemicals. And yes, iRobot has offered to deploy the Packbot to Japan if assistance is needed. Since the PackBot can be used for air quality sampling and detection of radiation it could be especially useful for HazMat technicians to detect oxygen levels, explosive gasses and gamma radiation while keeping operators at a safe distance.
Under Armour UA E39
UA E39 is an athletic evaluation and improvement tool. It's a compression shirt fitted with electronic sensors that track an athlete's biometric signals. That data, stored in the heart of the shirt, is transmitted to a computer or handheld device via Bluetooth for the athlete/coach/trainer to review. Using super-sensitive motion tracking it measures an athlete's heart rate, breathing rate, and core acceleration/body positioning. This allows for an athlete to be tested in their true environment without sensors, treadmills, doctors, etc. This was recently used by 22-30 athletes at the NFL Combine. Stats were broadcast live on the NFL Network. (Available 2012)
Withings is a smart connected body scale. It automatically records the user's body weight, lean & fat mass and body mass index (BMI) and tracks it for you to follow. It challenges you to lose weight by giving you the option to track your progress and set goals but also to update others along the way. The scale can even be set to Tweet users weight daily, weekly or monthly motivating the user to push for results. Can track up to 8 users and has privacy options. (Compatible with iPhone, Android & Web)
GPS-enabled shoes and loafers
GTX Corp, a company known for their GPS tracking technologies (many may recognize the GPS Tracking and iLoci Apps) has paired with Aetrex (a foot health company) creating a GPS Shoe specifically for those with Alzheimer's. The shoe uses GPS and cellular technologies. It gives a family member or a caregiver the option of monitoring real-time from the Internet or on your phone. Also, it has the capability to set up safe zones. If a patient wanders off from the area the caretaker will be sent an alert by phone or web. It charges off USB and is water resistant. (Available Summer 2011)
Watch-like" band uses cellular technology that connects to a 911 system and reports its location to pinpoint individual if they go missing. EmFinder is a location-finding device that basically looks like a watch. Links can be removed to adjust appropriately. It comes in two variations; EmSeeQ Secure Band (which needs help getting on and off to ensure it won't be removed) or EmSeeQ Standard Band (which can be taken on and off just like an ordinary watch). The band can be worn on wrist, ankle or strung to laces. The device costs around $200 with a monthly fee of $25. A caregiver can call 911 if they suspect the wearer has wandered off which will then call EmFinders operation center and activating the device. 911 operations will then send response units to the rescue.
It can be hard for any individual to remember when to take pills especially those with Alzheimer's and in this case could be life threatening. Glow Caps are Internet connected pill caps that light up when you need to take your medication working off a wireless base station that looks like a night light. Glow Caps will also play a light ringtone if you still don't catch the light cues. If you haven't opened your pills within two hours as a final resort you'll receive a phone call reminder. Glow Caps will also send progress reports to caregivers or doctors. Glow Caps reports that with use of product individuals take their medication over 95% of the time and improve adherence by over 35%.
Tobii (leaders in eye tracking) and Lenovo have paired up to create the first eye-controlled laptop. Tobii believes that eye control is a natural way to interact with the computer. It can also increase efficiency - with one glance you can open an icon or zoom in on a picture by looking at a specific area. It also makes browsing through media files or switching between multiple open windows a breeze. This could also be incredibly helpful for setbacks like when you're working in an environment where you don't have easy access to your hands, such as surgery. It also could give you a whole new experience in reading text on the screen, because instead of using a scroll bar or touch pad, the text or window could just scroll to follow the speed of your eye. (Expected availability- 2013)
Software that converts everything you say to text. It is a free app for mobile and tablet units (ideal because they aren't the most ideal keypads). It can increase productivity by 5x allowing you to "type" 150 words per minute. Also, Dragon can help individuals struggling to communicate their thoughts and those that have disabilities accessing computers taking out the frustration of transferring thoughts to the written word.
Easily translate information straight to your devices. You can type or speak entries for instant translation and also save previous entries. While its not 100% accurate it is pretty decent! Translates over 50 languages.
"Skin gun" for burn victims
A device created for burn victims for disposition of skin cells on to the wound. The device was invented by Dr. Jorg Gerlach and the device was showcased on an episode of NatGeo Explorer. Operation of the gun is compared to using a paint gun spraying but more sophisticated with computer applications. In short you are using an individual's healthy stem cells. It takes about an hour to transfer. Over a dozen patients have already been successfully treated. (Availability TBD)