The recent adaptation of Total Recall might not be everyone’s favorite remake. (It’s tough to beat such a classic sci-fi flick!) But there’s no question that the technology depicted in the movie is impressive.
There’s the giant lift that blasts passengers through the Earth’s core. Hover cars that can drive underneath roadways thanks to advanced magnetism. There’s a laser gun that shoots a lasso at the target, ensnaring the person without harming them. And you can’t forget the tattoos that actually illuminate!
What’s even more fascinating, however, is the fact that some of the technology depicted in the movie is much closer to reality than you might think.
Like making calls using your hand alone – no phone required.
Thanks to researchers at the University of Tokyo, we’re about a decade away from doing just that.
According to Professor Masatoshi Ishikawa, “I think it will be such that we could just open our palms and that can become the smartphone, or we could even be notified of an incoming email just by stretching out our arms.”
How can it be done?
Well, the system comprises tracking technology, computer vision and rotational mirrors that ensure a projected image always stays centered on its target in three-dimensional space.
That way, you can hold your hand up and (eventually) a hidden projector will create an image of a phone’s screen on your hand, and you can input commands accordingly.
Better yet, the researchers are making the experience tactile, too! Since Ishikawa wants people to actually feel the projections, he fitted the system with oscillators that beam ultrasonic waves along with the projected image. The waves generate pressure on the skin much like the tactile sensation people feel when pressing buttons on a smartphone screen.
As we mentioned above, we’ve got about 10 years before this device is likely to hit the market. But considering how often people lose (or drop) their electronic devices, it will be worth the wait.