Technological advances

October 23rd, 2009

For a reasonably technologically-savvy person, I sometimes find myself utterly amazed by what nowadays technology can offer.

Like, for instance.

I’ve been wearing glasses since my early teens. One pair of glasses that I got myself roughly 20 years ago were so called “chameleons” – the specs that would become tinted in the sunlight. I suppose that made me an early adopter of photochromic lenses, but the problem was, they did not work that well. They would take forever to darken in most blinding sunlight, and would become just barely tinted at that. I abandoned them quite quickly, and ever since always made do with having two pairs of prescription glasses on me – one clear, one tinted.

My most recent pair of clear glasses was nearing its fifth or sixth year of life – despite some fancy-shmancy anti-scratch coating that I paid for when I got them, the lenses started to get worn out. I decided to get myself a new pair and figured I’d go for the photochromic lenses again, with Transitions.

I am astounded at how well they work.

There is maybe a 5-second interval of discomfort and having to squint when I first step outside into sunlight, and then it’s as if I’m wearing sunglasses. What’s more, my eyes don’t feel covered by a darkened glass – from inside out, I can barely tell that the lenses become tinted. The first couple of days of wearing them, I couldn’t help but stop at every other shop window to check my reflection and confirm that yes, in fact, the glasses looked dark grey on the outside.

Brilliant! I’m practically in love!

How about something more domestique

Natasha saw one at our friends’ house and decided to buy a Roomba for ourselves. I realize that robots have been in use in various industries, wherever repetitive tasks are being performed, for decades now. But I’ve never had a first-hand experience with any, let alone with a robot with a certain level of artificial intelligence.

It’s a damn vacuum cleaner!

Which goes around a room all by itself. It bumps into walls and other obstacles – not very bright, by the looks of it, – but then finds ways along the former and around the latter. It makes different attempts to get into tight corners, angling this way and that. It methodically crosses the room and seemingly finds a way to go over every square inch of the surface in a pattern that cannot be understood by mere humans.

And – wait for this! – when it knows that it’s running out of juice, it propels itself towards its base and docks for re-charging. Really!

It is not perfect; it can obviously only do the floor – no stairs or pieces of furniture. But it does relieve us from having to actively participate in the process.

Passive participation is another matter. I could watch the little thing glide around the floor for hours.

Technology rulez!

Technology

  1. October 24th, 2009 at 11:00 | #1

    Every time I think about the Roomba, I’m only reminded of how much crap I’d have to pick up before turning it on.

  2. October 24th, 2009 at 14:15 | #2

    I want one! Sadly, the one I want, the iRobot Roomba® 562 Pet Series, is out of stock.

  3. WendyB_09
    October 25th, 2009 at 11:19 | #3

    There was a Gilmore Girls show episode a few years back where the two main characters, both in their respective homes, spent the opening sequence of the show watching their new Roomba’s wander across their floors. It absolutely cracked me up!!!

    I’d love one as well, think I’d like the C3P0 SmartAss Roomba Series. It would coordinate with the R2D2 USB hub I discovered on-line the other day!

  4. October 25th, 2009 at 13:23 | #4

    This is not appropriate at all, but I can’t help thinking about the SNL commercial mocking Roomba. Have you ever seen the SNL commercial of ‘Woomba’? It’s bad – and too funny!

  5. October 26th, 2009 at 09:50 | #5

    Unless it’s a spot that ran in mid-90′s, there is no chance of me remembering – or seeing – an SNL sketch. Watching entertainment TV on Saturday nights don’t fit into my weekend routine.

  6. October 27th, 2009 at 13:48 | #6

    I’ve always wondered what would happen if you put two of them in the same room. My understanding is that the Roomba makes a “map” of the objects in the room, so as to avoid hitting them as it cleans. If one of those objects was moving (and also making a map of the room), I would think they would confuse each other until one of them crumbled into a pile of smoke & plastic. ;-)

  7. October 27th, 2009 at 16:14 | #7

    This hasn’t been attempted at Bot Wars?

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