I remember growing up thinking that the future of today would be filled with embedded computers that we interface with nothing more than thought, that cybernetics would be a common thing and that the world would be a very dark place that corporations had taken over everything. In many ways, that fantasy of a future that science fiction portrayed is partially true…but many of the things that science fiction (mainly in the Cyberpunk Genre) forecast have been stymied by one thing and one thing alone…POWER.
For all the advancements in modern technology, the one thing that has not kept pace is our real ability to power the ever smaller, but more powerful devices that we use every day for an extended period. Take our Smartphones…I rarely get more than 8 hours worth of use out of my Nexus 4 before being forced to plug the bugger in and give it a boost. It is so bad that I tend to just plug it in most of the day at work, only unplugging it when I go for break and lunch.
When we look at what could be possible:
The one thing that all these advanced devices have in common is the lack of micro batteries that can keep them functioning…and that reality is what keeps us “tethered” to this modern world, and not taking the leap of faith towards the future. But that future may not be that far away.
At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a micro battery the size of a grain of rice is described as having extremely long life (said to be 1000x longer than current AA, AAA and 12V batteries) because of technology that uses micro-bursts of power instead of continual powering.
The future is coming…I just don’t know when.