One of the most striking aspects of the film Minority ReportÂ was its futurist thinking. In the film, Tom Cruise and other actors interactÂ with a digital project that mimics a technology we now have today. Today’s panel PC systems that have become an ubiquitous part of commercial industry even mimics some of those sameÂ gestures. Perhaps the most amazing thing that the film managed to nail was justÂ how all-encompassing this technology would become.
Itâ€™s easy to miss just how many capacitive touch-screens areÂ in use throughout our daily lives. Yet it would be difficult to imagine lifeÂ today without them. Grocery store cashiers can ring up orders and locate theÂ codes for produce much faster. Fast food restaurants can relieve lineÂ congestion with an automated kiosk that takes a customerâ€™s order. Yet theseÂ consumer-based examples are just the tip of the iceberg. How we utilizeÂ technology is changing rapidly thanks to our ability to interact with it.
Touch-Screens at theÂ Airport
Walk through any airport and youâ€™d be surprised to findÂ people not interacting with touch screens these days, but thatâ€™s one of theÂ more unique aspects to this technology. Companies can construct applicationsÂ that will interact with their own servers through a userâ€™s device. This isÂ already happening in Newark Liberty International Airport, where touch-screen tabletsÂ are available in resting areas between flights. Travelers will be able toÂ browse the Web, order items from restaurants and sync up with flight schedules to see where their travel plans stand in real time.
The idea is to makeÂ travel bearable, but itâ€™s not difficult to imagine the next phase of thisÂ technology. Oneâ€™s smartphone may soon become the portal to all things check-inÂ related. The greater access that is afforded to consumers, the more weâ€™ll be able to take care of with just a fewÂ swipes.
Most people who have been to the doctor in the past fewÂ years have probably already noticed how touch screens have been integrated intoÂ the life of medical professionals. Doctors immediately enter a diagnosis theÂ moment itâ€™s made, even forwarding prescription information to your pharmacy ofÂ choice. Another change occurring behind the scenes makes life a lot moreÂ efficient.
A study was conducted at the UniversityÂ of Nottinghamâ€™s Hospital. Touch screens were added to let patients checkÂ themselves in, which had several effects outside of the reception area. TheÂ hospital could track patient load in real time, which meant staff could beÂ directed to deal with priorities far faster than before. Decreased wait timesÂ also helped ease the stress level of everyone at the hospital, both patientsÂ and staff. The hospital was even noted as appearing more organized, a sideÂ effect of making data digital.
The Army Gets anÂ Upgrade
The United States military seems to think that theÂ smartphone will be a critical aspect of the future battlefield, and is workingÂ hard to integrate Microsoftâ€™s Surface technology into its battle plan.Â Commanders envision a future where soldiers on the battlefield can thumb through critical mission data, such as satellite footage or heat maps, duringÂ an engagement. The entire scenario adds up to a mobile command site that canÂ assist in deployment and direction of troops on the ground.
If youâ€™re thinking itâ€™s a bit impractical for soldiers to text and shoot, youâ€™re probably right and the Army knows that too. TheseÂ small-scale tests are utilizing open-source technology to try and buildÂ practical applications with real-world usage. Today, soldiers are tethered to aÂ phone. Tomorrow, they may have a heads up display with modified optics.
Technology has given the most basic elements of our lives aÂ much needed upgrade. Because of applications, weâ€™re able to interact withÂ touch-screen devices in a meaningful way. The Internet of Things is also makingÂ its way to manufacturing, lowering costs and carbon footprints. Soon, humansÂ will manage much of our workloads remotely, while we focus on the high-levelÂ management of all these menial tasks. Itâ€™s going to require a smarterÂ workforce, but technology is unlocking possibilities in a way the movies hadÂ only dreamed of.