You know what smartphones are about. They’re the shiny, techie status symbol of the decade; they Google bizarre factoids when you need them in conversation; and if you’re reading this column there’s a 78% chance you’re using one right now to order scallion pancakes or play “quiz” on a triple word score.
But is that all they are? A tiny version of a desktop computer that helps us kill time or buy food? I’d say they represent far more. In fact, even so stately a publication as The Economist called smartphones a foundational technology, using the hushed tones usually reserved for talking about cold fusion or artificial intelligence.
It turns out smartphones represent the future in two ways. One, by combining many different tools into one package and making it portable, we have actually unlocked whole new ways of interacting with the world and each other, a situation ripe with implications for the future. Two, consumer craving for sophisticated devices like smartphones is part of what propels our technology forward, compelling designers to push the envelope of what’s possible. Here are some of the ways we’ve looked at these pocket-size miracles here at Cosmic Revolutions.
Last year, there was a video going around the internet purporting to demonstrate a “holographic” version of the iPhone. I checked it out and did an analysis in this special two-part post. There are so many hopeful people searching for it that this post remains the most visited one ever on the site.
Augmented Reality: this is one of those modes of interaction that didn’t even exist until the smartphone came along. Our devices now give us a lens onto a kind of alternate, digital dimension overlaid with our own, and populated with anything you can imagine. Check out the implications at the link.
If everyone used this app for directions, it would route people in a such a way as to prevent traffic jams before they even start. It’s a civic obligation!
Yeah, there’s an app for that, too. Technically, this is photogrammetry, but the end result is more or less the same: You can use your phone to build a 3D model of something just by taking lots of pictures of it. Read more in the full article.
Flexible phones are coming! Will anyone buy one? How about you?