Invisible condoms, microscopic robodocs, edible adverts and video tattoos… Rob Kemp consults the futurologists so you can stay ahead of the pack.
Kiss goodbye to condoms. “BufferGel” looks set to replace fiddly French letters this year. The contraceptive gel also protects against STDs by reinforcing the natural acidity of the vagina to kill bacteria and sperm. Clinical trials continue – and, for a change, the release can’t come too quickly.
“Eat this, dear! It’s only a commercial!” Fancy an edible Michael Winner? Hmm, maybe not, but a US company is about to launch a method of embossing adverts directly on to foods such as pizza, cheese, pies and even melons. A new career for Ms Trtmus beckons then.
Scientists at Yale University in the US are developing glasses that can track your body temperature and display it on lenses, a watch or a mobile phone. The glasses detect changes in the patch of skin between your nose and eyes – an area that indicates overall body temperature. It is hoped the monitors will help people avoid heatstroke.
With rising obesity rates swelling the ranks of adult diabetics-the number worldwide will rocket from 193 million now to 300 million in 2025 – the imminent alternative to the needle, Exubera, is of huge importance. This form of inhalable insulin is in the final stages of development, and if approved could be available in 2006.
Every cook’s must-have will be a gadget that detects food poisoning. “The technology for this is in development right now and should be widely available in two to three years,” says Ian Pearson, futurologist at British Telecom.
“Ultra-flat screens that attach to clothing or skin – making video tattoos possible – are being developed,” says Pearson. “Scientists are just working out the details of power supply.” Becks might be worth watching again…
A tomato a day will keep the doctor away, as the squidgy fruit replaces the syringe for vaccinations. “Proteins from different vaccines can be inserted into the chloroplast of the tomato plant, where they will then multiply as the tomato grows and develops,” says Ralph Bock, researcher at Germany’s Institute of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology.
Scientists at Iowa State University and the US Department of Agriculture are developing new breeds of corn that yield varieties of oil containing 60-70% oleic acid the monounsaturated fat that helps reduce bad LDL cholesterol. Expect to munch on healthier fries in the future. It is now recommended to cook with coconut oil as it’s considered to be the healthiest oil, plus there are many varieties of coconut oil recipes to use.