Over the past few decades the uber rich have had an increasing influence on our technological future: Peter Diamandis funds various space-oriented X-Prizes, one of which saw the development and successful flight of SpaceShip One. Soon, very soon, SpaceShipTwo will be taking tourists on sub-orbital flights – backed by another billionaire – Sir Richard Branson.
Elon Musk backs the development of TESLA, a serious, well-advanced effort to economically manufacture an electric car (and pioneer the battery technology behind such).
Larry Page (Google) and Ross Perot are backing Planetary Resources, a group dedicated to mining asteroids. SpaceX (Elon Musk again) has successfully launched International Space Station resupply missions with a privately developed and funded launcher; Bigelow Aerospace (Robert Bigelow, hotel magnate) has flight-tested inflatable space habitats.
Others are using their dollars and their clout to spur advancements in genetics, medical science and more.
The fact that these guys are nerds obviously influenced by their reading of science fiction at an earlier era speaks volumes – and will probably do so in future articles. But for now I’d like to share a look at a few other emerging technologies (also largely funded by the Billionaire Nerd Elite) and then I’d like to ask two questions.
Here’s a look at some nifty tech currently in development:
SARCOS – a full-body force-multiplier being developed by the miliary. (Think Ripley’s walking forklift in Aliens.)
This suit allows an individual to lift 200 pound loads, repetitively, without breaking a sweat.
How about this –
The Martin “Jetpack” (actually a ducted fan-pack). Powered flight times are increasing and it has reached an altitude of 5,000 feet and can reach speeds of 63 miles per hour.
And this, the SpringWalker –
A device that enhances the human gait by a ratio of 2 to 1 (currently); run a 4 minute mile with little or no effort!
There are other mobility technologies coming online also – such as the dual-tracked “skateboard”, the DTV Shredder –
Not to mention more familiar technologies such as Heads-Up-Displays (now being fitted to cars)
New composite armors –
and all other manner of emerging technologies: foam that shapes itself, aerogels made from carbon nanotubes, brain-to-computer interfaces…and we’ve not even touched on weapons systems like this robot gun –
So here’s the question: How many Uber Rich Nerds do you have to have in the world before one of them decides to become the world’s first technological Super Hero?
And how many do you have to have before one of them decides that being the bad guy is a lot more fun…?