About 2,500 years ago, during the Medo-Persian Empire, an angel told the prophet Daniel, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). We are seeing a dramatic fulfillment of this in our day. Recent inventions include the following:
(1) New face-recognition software system can sort through 36 million faces per second (“Video: Face-Recognition System,” Popular Science, Mar. 23, 2012). The Hitachi Kokusai system can monitor video feeds from around the world in real time, scanning for a particular face, and can track the individual if he appears in any supplied feed.
(2) A person lying down in an fMRI machine has controlled a robot just by thinking (“Robot Avatar Body,” New Scientist, July 6, 2012). The goal is to give people the ability to interact with the world using a surrogate body. The person was in the Advanced Virtuality Lab at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, while the robot was in the Béziers Technology Institute in France.
(3) Major companies are using eye-tracking technology to make heat maps of where consumers’ eyes go on a label or store shelf to fine tune their advertising displays(“Supermarkets Use Retina Trackers,” Popular Science, July 12, 2012). “Doing so allows market researchers into consumers’ heads in a way they never could before.”
(4) The world’s largest laser system unleashed a 1.85-megajoule blast that delivered more than 500 trillion watts of power (“World’s Most Powerful Laser,” Fox News, July 12, 2012). The fraction-of-a-second blast, at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California, produced 1,000 times the energy used by the entire United States at any given instant. It created conditions that had previously only existed deep within the heart of a star. The scientists hope to reach a break-even point, where the energy released is equal to if not greater than the energy that went into the blast.
(5) MIT has developed radar that can see through concrete walls (“Radar,” BBC Technology News, Oct. 19, 2011). With the radar, which uses short radio waves and amplifiers, it is possible to detect people behind a concrete wall from as far as 60 feet away.
(6) The first swallowable electronic device has been approved by the FDA(“Approved,” Popular Science, July 31, 2012). The pill is powered by a sand-particle-sized silicon chip that generates voltage by contact with digestive juices. The pill signals a patch on the person’s skin, which relays a message to a mobile phone.
(7) There are plans to build a 3D printer that can print houses in 20 hours (“3D Printer Could Build a House,” Yahoo News, Aug. 10, 2012). Speaking at the TEDxOjai conference, Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California described plans to build a giant 3D printer that can “print” houses in just a few hours. A scale model has been built and tested. It is called Contour Crafting.
(8) Disney has invented a process to clone human faces into silicone-skinned robots(“Disney Invents,” Gizmodo, Aug. 14, 2012). The process uses 3D motion capture cameras to calculate the precise shape, density and composition of the synthetic silicon skin. The cloned face is driven by an underlying robotic actuation machine.
(Friday Church News Notes, September 7, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)