29th December, 2011
Wall climbing adhesive, self-destructing gadgets and cars that charge themselves are all things we’re used to seeing in science fiction films.
However, they could soon become a thing of reality as researchers develop new technology to make lives more like a Hollywood epic.
Unveiling their work early next year at the Big Bang Fair, a celebration of all things science and engineering, inventors have come up with all of the above and a host of other gadgets.
David Kirby from the University of Manchester said that ‘real life is not only catching up with filmmakers but also inspiring their work – so the two are inextricably linked.
While filming the latest instalment of the Mission Impossible series, Tom Cruise – who plays Ethan Hunt – was pictured scaling Dubai’s Burj Kalifa using high-tech magnetic gloves.
Determined not to be outdone by such a fantasy world, inventors at Cornell University in New York have come up with a palm-sized device that uses the adhesive power of water to create a reversible adhesive bond.
That ‘glue’ can stick to glass, wood and even brick. They hope to be able to create gloves and shoes that will allow us to scale even the blankest of walls.
Developers came up with the idea by looking at a beetle native to Florida which can stick and unstick itself to a leaf with a force 100 times its own body weight.
Some of the creations that have been thought of are already partially available including self-destructing gadgets.
While the iPhone may not actually explode when it falls into the hands of the wrong person, data stored on the device can be destroyed remotely.
Technologists in the US have come up with self-destructing text messages that could mean an end to embarrassing late-night, drunken messages. Tiger Text allows users to set a time period for them to be deleted.
People with office gossip on their mobile phone those with government secrets they want to hide should look out for the Tamatebako flash drive.
Fujitsu is behind this particular piece of kit, already available in Japan, which erases unwanted data without the distracting nature of a mini-fireball.
That information can be stored and deleted within a time frame of 10 minutes to a week. It will also be erased if the user inputs the wrong password or if it is plugged into an unauthorised computer.
Another creation would surely be welcome news for motorists and green campaigners everywhere – although not that great for the tax man.
BMW created an i8 hybrid concept car for Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, that does away with the need to go to petrol stations.
Turbines generate enough energy from the wheels to power the car and could well be a glimpse of how we will drive in the future.
After getting out of your super-efficient car and arriving at your office, the new technology will just keep on coming.
‘Surface computing’ is being devised by Microsoft and it’s not just a version of the burglar light in the back garden that switches on every time a leaf blows past it.
The gadgetry will allow users to manipulate digital content through different motions and hand gestures.
Dr Kirby said: ‘Ethan Hunt’s adventures will no doubt capture the imaginations of millions, but the real excitement comes in knowing that film fiction is already being brought to life by scientists and engineers.’
The big Bang Fair will take place at Birmingham NEC from March 15 to 17.