It would be difficult for a blog discussing the technology to not discuss the tech giant Google. I’m sure that anyone reading this knows of Google (after all, you are reading this on the internet), but many people are probably unaware of the projects Google has undertaken that have absolutely nothing to do with the internet. An entire segment of Google’s R&D department, known as Google X Labs, is devoted to far-out ideas that seem more at home in a 90’s sci-fi novel than an actual research lab. This lab has actually already met some tremendous success; last year, an automated car developed by Google famously drove a blind man to the mall. Although this stunt was blatantly a publicity maneuver, Google claims that its automated car has logged over 200,000 miles on the road already.
Incredibly, Google’s driverless car may be one of the less impressive endeavors currently under development by the company. In my opinion, the coolest, and most insane, project that Google is currently researching is a space elevator. The potential use for such a creation is evident; it would allow cheap transport of goods to and from space, allowing us to expand our horizons beyond our planet far more cheaply and efficiently. The obstacles that must be overcome for such a project are immense; for one, we do not currently have a material that could support such an elevator. The idea of using Carbon nanotubes has been tossed around a bit, but we are currently unable to produce enough of the material to make even a fraction of what we’d need for this tremendous project.
You may have heard of another idea under development at Google X Labs, Project Glass, which essentially brings the internet to a screen right in front of your face.
Unfortunately, I can’t discuss every one of the 100 projects that Google X Labs is working on (for one, not all of them are public yet), but each idea is innovative, inspiring, and a tremendous motivation for a young engineering student.