Atlas 21°03′05″

On hybrid-electric aircraft, brain-computer interfaces, upgradeable laptops, and myopia smart glasses.


Consumer tech 05 March 2021

The quest for better ways of flying

Are you mad because we had the Prius back in 2000, but yet we still don’t have fossil-fuels-alternatives in aviation? Don’t get nervous: hybrid-electric aircraft will soon take off. Start-ups like Ampaire, Eviation, and Joby Aviation are giving rise to a new generation of planes that will redefine air mobility. The CO2 emissions from aviation are far lower than what most people expect—2.5% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion—still, the quest for better ways of flying matter, and regional flights will be the first to be affected by changes. Indeed, it seems the world’s first Hybrid-Electric Regional Aircraft (HERA) is expected to be in service by 2028. While, regarding long-distances-zero-emissions aircraft, nothing is supposed to happen before 2035

An unbelievable headset 

Does brain-computer interface sound sci-fi to you? Same thing here. But it’s reality. Cognixion, an award-winning neuroscience and tech company, has just revealed Cognixion ONE. The first-ever-augmented-reality-headset that can be controlled through a brain-computer interface. The brain-driven device aims to reduce the lag between intention and outcome, also including an augmentative communication app and an integrated artificial intelligence virtual assistant for home automation control and companionship. Tom Gruber, the co-founder of Siri, and former head of advanced development at Apple commented on the invention stating: “It will allow people with severe motor and speech disabilities to speak with family and friends, and—via an integrated virtual assistant—interact with the digital and physical world.” 

A long-lasting laptop

As soon as I came across the Framework Laptop, I thought of Google’s Project Ara – 2016, what a time to be alive. The smartphone was doomed to fail from the start itself—as it was too early to enter the mass-market with such a concept—but the intuition was brilliant: an over-the-time upgradeable device capable to extend the product lifecycle and potentially reduce electronic waste. With essentially the same purpose Framework’s notebook will address the business model adopted by major tech companies, which, according to Framerowork’s founder Nirav Patel “encourages waste and inefficiency, and ultimately environmental damage.” 

The magic goggles

Myopia is a condition causing distant objects to look blurred because of an un-proper focusing of the light as it enters the eye. To date, the only remedies for this disease are prescription glasses or surgical invasive treatments—the latter is quite a common practice as definitive correction, despite relative risks. But Japan’s Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings has just unveiled the next-level-smart glasses, aiming to banish nearsightedness without surgical intervention.  The device, which leverages nanotechnology, is still in a testing phase. Yet according to the company, wearing the device 60 to 90 minutes a day corrects myopia. We’ll see—come on, do you get it?