Three technologies have recently come to my attention: one small, one medium-sized, one large (I feel like Goldilocks). The first is my new foldable, portable treadmill. Since Seattle is known for rain, I bought this so that I can walk indoors. I also had thought it would be nice if the dog walked on it with me. I had visions of the two of us puffing companionably along as we watched the NBC Nightly News. However, this is not going to work. Here is the dog refusing to set foot on the thing, despite the presence of her favorite treat:
Moving up in sophistication, e-readers came up during a discussion I had yesterday with a class at the University of Washington. Their professor, Dr. Howard Chizeck, brought me in to give a talk on SF, science, and society. When I asked how many students used e-readers, I was surprised to find that there were only two. "I like the feel of real books," they all said. And then, devastatingly to someone who loves her Kindle, "My grandparents use e-readers. Not us." Is this true? Are e-readers already obsolete with the young generation of engineers?
Most sophisticated, here is a link to a video of DARPA's astonishing Legged Squad Support System (LS3), a robotic "mule." http://news.yahoo.com/darpa-unveils-robotic-mule.html This thing can move easily over rugged terrain (the DARPA press release says "gracefully," but that's stretching it a bit) and can pick itself up if it falls down. We are one step closer to Imperial Walkers. And a long way from my manual treadmill.