Is Pacific Rim close to becoming reality?
Now, let's be clear, I don't mean giant, inter-dimensional monsters coming up from the depths of the ocean to attack our cities (although, who's to say what lurks down there?). I'm talking about those giant, fighting mechs called Jaegers that give those Kaiju the beating of their lives.
As a matter of fact, we're actually starting to venture into tech that could be used in Pacific-Rim-esque applications.
Take, for example, MIT's recent adventure into brain-controlled robots via their Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Using an EEG monitor, people are able to guide a robot's choices using only their brain waves. The robot's algorithm can detect if the person believes the robot has made an error and react based on those results. Take a look:
But what about brain-to-brain communication--a necessary part of piloting a Jaeger? Yes, that's actually on its way, too.
Take a wild experiment conducted back in 2014 for instance. In this study, participants in India and France were able to establish limited communication over the Internet using only their brains. According to Science Daily, researchers successfully transmitted the words "hola" and "ciao" between the participants' brains using EEGs and a special program. One person sent the message, while the other person received it as flashes of light in their peripheral vision.
All right, you say, but what about the actual "robot" part? Hold on to your seats, because yes, scientists are also making huge leaps in humanoid robots as well.
How about the WALK-MAN, a humanoid robot designed to respond to emergency situations? Developers of the WALK-MAN robot are working on ways that robot will be able to operate itself autonomously at disaster sites--such as being able to balance itself--but it will also have the ability to be controlled by a human when wireless connections fail. What if one day WALK-MAN was controlled by our brain waves?
WALK-MAN / walk-man.eu
This robot is on a bit of a smaller scale than Pacific Rim, but we did have a giant robot battle (albeit a somewhat lackluster one) last year between American company MegaBots and Japanese company Suidobashi. It was a demonstration of how far we've come and how far we've yet to go with giant robots, but the prospect of all this technology coming together someday is an exciting yet somewhat frightening one.
With the way tech is moving, it seems that it's only a matter of time before we starting suiting up in robots eighty times our size. Here's to hoping that if a giant sea monster ever jumps out of the ocean, it will be after that time.
I like talking about sci-fi, Star Wars, tech, and occasionally outer space every Monday. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my other "Real Life Sci-fi" blog posts here.
I'm a sci-fi/fantasy lover & writer who especially likes talking about Star Wars and futuristic tech. I like finding new things & finding the beauty in old things, especially in my "Everyday Snippets" series. I hope you'll join me on my blog and unleash your imagination!