What technology students should understand about the future of systems



The field of cellular technology is rapidly changing and growing, presenting career opportunities for students today. You need only look at the evolution of the smartphone for proof of this. In terms of technology, the advancement of smartphones in just the last ten years is remarkable. There is no slowing down of this innovation either. Today’s students studying for a master’s degree in electrical engineering or computer engineering hold the future of cellular technology. Advancements in design and capabilities are catapulted with the new minds entering today’s classrooms in addition to the current engineers responsible for design. Current prototypes point to ever-changing concepts of phone design. What follows are several concepts currently under development and important for technology students to understand.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality in computer technology refers to enhancement of our existing senses. In cellular technology it is commonly used in giving information to the user. For example, say you point your phone’s camera down a road with a lot of shops on it. The phone’s display will then show an overlay with important and useful information. This information can include store names, their hours, customer reviews, distance from your location, and menus or stock. Through the use of AR technology this information can be visual, video, or even verbal.

The current development is working past one main hurdle. While GPS technology is advanced enough for accurate location information, visual recognition is not yet accurate enough. These types of live views need a high degree of visual recognition to work properly. To correctly present information AR technology needs to be able to properly scan places, buildings, people, and environmental objects. While releases are being made, the technology is not yet mature enough to be seen on all smartphones.   

Flexible Screens

Flexible screens are a design concept currently being researched by several companies. Samsung has been clear about their intent to embrace this new technology. They believe you’ll see a future with phones you can fold lake handkerchiefs and entire systems on a single chip. Samsung feels the design and look of cellphones in the future will be an entirely new one. This future will require a new way of thinking and innovative design to become a reality.    

A Nokia concept device called the Morph is one example. With help from the Cambridge Nanoscience Centre Nokia created a malleable device. This means the phone itself is bendable and foldable. The design is made from a woven fibril protein mesh. These flexible and transparent phones could be folded into your pocket or shaped around your wrist for example. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, the device was also self-cleaning. It naturally repels water, dirt and fingerprints using specialized nanotechnology. Plus Nokia noted there was a probability that solar power could be integrated into these specialized phones.  By use of solar power, smaller batteries could be used. This would help cut down on phone size and environmental impact.   

Improved Voice Control

Voice control has already found its way into the cellular phone market. However, as you may know from personal use it’s not yet as good as advertised. This looks to be changing as development continues. What made the current advancements in voice recognition possible was interpretation of syntax and diction. As the technology improves, seamless voice control is a realistic goal. With this the day may come where you can control your phone without ever hitting a button.   

Larger and More Efficient Memory Technology

Improvements in memory are allowing greater and more energy efficient storage. A type of storage called Resistive RAM, under development by Crossbar, allows for a terabyte of storage on a single chip. This chip is the size of a stamp and twenty times faster than current flash memory. Current testing also shows a high data write speed. Writing speed of 140 megabytes per second versus the seven megabytes per second found in flash memory. In real world terms this means a single chip could hold 250 hours of high definition movies. Data use is scaling up and has been for years. Reports say that ninety percent of data currently stored was created in the last two years.

Aside from improved storage and speed these chips are also reported to use twenty percent less power. This decrease in battery use could have large ramifications for daily phone use. This could allow you to only need to charge your phone weekly as opposed to daily. With the increase of mobile technology in your daily life longer use periods and more storage space are required advancements.

As today’s students studying all forms of technology grow and advance in their education it’s important to realize the career opportunities ahead. Designers in the field of augmented reality, computer engineers studying voice control operations, memory technology engineers and more are career paths students should look into due to their high demand and growth potential.