Following the disgraceful lack of a 'future technologies' article in October due to illness i've decided to do a random article this month with a few cool but unrelated things i've come across recently.
First up is a project called HashCache and is a great idea at getting web caching to work effectively for a higher purpose. I know lots of people don't like caching for various reasons and I assume it will mean certain sites won't work as well, especially social networking sites, but for countries struggling to overcome network issues this seems like a great solution:
It's such a simple idea that just looked at the way something had been done for years and then streamlined it. I'm sure there are lots of examples of how background applications for the Internet have been untouched for decades but could be improved. I have certainly seen lots of discussion related to this around SMTP.
A one-terabyte hard-disk cache could give students in a poor country much faster access to online content, but operating such a cache can be expensive. HashCache offers a way to cut costs. You can't dispute the figures below:
This next link came my way via @jonmoss. Electroluminescent Liquor Packaging - you can tell by the title it's gonna be good! So this is basically packaging that is being used on bottles which includes light effects to better advertise the bottle:
I'm assuming this is using printed electronics technology which I blogged about in April and it is great to see it being used in an obviously commercial setting. It's also true that it's not just the technology that is interesting but the effect that this will have on package design and the new types of skills and thought processes that will be required from the designers.
This next project is called Scratch Input, an acoustic-based input technique that relies on the unique sound produced when a fingernail is dragged over the surface of a textured material, such as wood, fabric, or wall paint:
It's a simple sensor that can be easily coupled with existing surfaces, such as walls and tables, turning them into large, unpowered and ad hoc finger input surfaces, and I love it! How cool would it be to control your stereo by tapping on the wall or controlling your mobile by touching your desk or even your jacket - very cool!!
The project concludes with a study that shows users can perform six Scratch Input gestures at about 90% accuracy with less than five minutes of training and on a wide variety of surfaces. So already pretty user friendly with absolutely loads of potential applications.