2014

Personalised DNA sequencing for less than $100

DNA sequencing technology is now so fast and cheap that an entire human genome can be read in a matter of hours for less than $100, making it accessible to everyone. This has been made possible by a revolutionary new device called a nanofluidic chip – capable of isolating very long strands of individual molecules – in combination with a channeling system that binds to the possible combinations of DNA “words.”

This is enabling medical treatment to be delivered on a highly personalised level, uniquely tailored to a patient’s genetic profile. For example, a doctor can biopsy a cancer patient’s tumor, sequence all of its DNA, and use that information to determine a prognosis and prescribe treatment – all for less than the cost of a chest X-ray. In the case of lung cancer, the doctor can determine the exact genetic changes in the tumor cells and order the chemotherapy best suited to that variant. Meanwhile, parents of newborns now have the option of determining if their baby is susceptible to conditions like diabetes, and then modifying the baby’s diet and medication from day one to reduce the chances of it ever manifesting.

Lifecasting enters the mainstream

Digital devices have continued to shrink in size, becoming ever more compact and miniaturised. On-person webcams – measuring less than a centimetre across – are now being embedded in clothing, hats, spectacle frames and other hidden locations. This has led to the emergence of a new form of internet blogging known as “lifecasting”.

Rather than simple text updates, every moment of a person’s daily experiences can now be captured in real time, on video. This is available on social networking sites, so that communities of users can “subscribe” to the lives of those they wish to follow – including a number of famous celebrities.

Brazil hosts the FIFA World Cup

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This is the second time the country has hosted the competition.

Maven probe arrives at Mars

NASA’s Maven probe arrives at Mars, to study its atmosphere and climate history.

Most telephone calls are made via the Internet now

By now, most homes and offices have adopted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems such as Skype.* These connections are made over the Internet, rather than traditional phone lines.

Undoubtedly the biggest advantage of VoIP is the cost. PC-to-PC phone calls can be made anywhere in the world, at any time, for free. PC-to-phone connections usually charge a fee, but are generally much cheaper than standard phone services with conventional handsets.

Another advantage is the portability. Phone calls can be made and received from any PC – provided there is a broadband connection – simply by signing into your personal VoIP account.

Phone-to-phone VoIP is also portable. When you sign up with a VoIP servicer provider, the Internet phone or adaptor that is used with that service is assigned a unique number. This ‘phone number’ remains valid even if your VoIP service provider is located in England and you are connected to the Internet in Australia. An Internet phone is small and light enough to take with you anywhere. It can simply be plugged into any broadband connection, anywhere in the world, and used to make and receive calls, just as though you were in your own home or office.

There are several other features that make VoIP attractive. Call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, caller ID and three-way calling are some of the many services included with Internet telephone at no extra charge. Digital data such as pictures, documents and other files can also be transmitted at the same time you are talking on the phone.

Virtual Mirrors

Many of the biggest fashion retailers now feature “virtual mirrors” in their stores. These are basically video screens with built-in webcams and graphical rendering software. This technology allows the customer to save time by viewing themselves in a variety of clothing without actually having to wear it. Tags fitted to the clothes are simply scanned by the mirror, which displays a real-time view of the customer superimposed with their chosen garment. Photo-realistic 3D graphics mean that a perfect representation can be shown on screen.

For some items of clothing, the mirrors offer interactivity in the form of “customised” versions, which can be made to display alternative colours, patterns and other features – these can then be ordered separately from the store.

L1 and L2 Space Stations Completed

The commercial spaceport opened the door to space for more than just the common man. The completion of L1 and L2 Space Stations moved some corporate headquarters outside the influence and regulatory jurisdiction of government. The former known as “Crystal Palace” and L2 as “Heaven” were constructed entirely by private corporations. Arasaka Securities financed the bulk of the projects and is considered landlord of the Crystal Palace. Goverments have threatened to shoot them out of the sky.

2015

2014

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