TARGETING TO SHAKE THE WORLD OF TECHNOLOGY UP A LITTLE, A SEMI-SECRET CENTER OPERATES APPROXIMATELY ONE KM AWAY FROM THE COMPANY HEADQUARTERS IN CALIFORNIA.
Since the invention of the wheel, the humanity that is after the scientific and technologic inventions has pushed this habit away for a variety of reasons. The teams that consist of universities and scientists work on new inventions; however, their advancement is not easy due to their low budgets. There is hope when we consider that the companies funnel billions of dollars into their research and development departments each year. But most of these companies are after the products that can be materialized and this creates difficulty for the humanity to achieve the inventions that can change the world. However, we shouldn’t lose hope. Being founded in 1988 and having changed first our way of online browsing, then many other things without leaving the internet and technology aside, Google is after to change the world with its semi-secret lab.
Established by the company in 2010 and approximately one km away from their headquarters in Mountain View, California, the center called Google X targets to make inventions that are going to change the world. The grandson of the physicist Edward Teller who is the inventor of the hydrogen bomb Dr. Eric ‘Astro’ Teller leads Google X. Teller doesn’t have a title such as CEO, they positioned him as the ‘Chief of Moonshots.’ Google’s definition of a moonshot is a project or proposal that addresses a huge problem, proposes a radical solution, and uses breakthrough technology. Astro Teller is the chief of these projects. They are open-minded people. Which innovations do they focus? Google X is called semi-secret because not all of their projects are disclosed. We have examined closely the nine disclosed projects and the projects that were rejected.
Produced in limited numbers, Project Glass that was made available to developers under the name of Google Glass is the first work that came out of the lab and became a product. The idea that was born in 2013 is to make smart glasses. The product has its own operating system, recognizes voice commands, and displays digital data by reflecting it into the wearer’s eyes.
Driverless car, the first project of the lab, is used for Google Street View technology. It also carries utmost importance for the future of the automobile world. Google’s own test car has already made 300 thousand miles. The project that was taken as an example by important automobile companies such as BMW, Tesla, Volvo, and Audi might become available as a product in the following years.
Although, the internet is reachable by the largest part of the world, the people who live in rural areas still cannot reach the giant web of information. The fees that would be received from the low number of internet subscriptions cannot cover the high cost of installing long distance infrastructure for the cable access. Mobile internet is again costly because of the high expenses of building a base station. Loon targets to provide internet connection through balloons resembling the ones we see in Cappadocia. It is not cheap of course, but at least they are working on an alternative.
Smart contact lens
The contact lens that was developed for the people with diabetes can measure the glucose levels in their tears. The lens that contains miniature units, sensors, and a wireless antenna that is thinner than human hair is aimed to provide regular check-ups for the patients and transfer the information to be analyzed over the smart devices or internet.
The Internet of Things
Google that was talking about a network of physical objects or things in 2011 has achieved this target with Google Glass since then. Now smart household appliances and smart towns are in the agenda. With smart thermostat and smoke detector functions, Nest that was purchased recently is the biggest proof of the importance given the subject.
We can tell that the neural network project of Google X, which was disclosed by the company in 2012, attracts the least attention. The system that can be operated by both human and machine can recognize sounds and objects through videos. With the development of the system, we are going to see innovations in online visual search, voice recognition, and language translations done by machines.
Now, we are living in a world where unmanned aerial vehicles can find their way through navigation, recognize objects via cameras, and process data by connecting to the internet. The company that wants to solve the shipping and delivery issues with drones is working on a device that can deliver its cargo to a specified address.
Google had bought the company named Makani Power that generates energy in 2013. The company is looking for ways to store the wind energy more efficiently. The idea behind Makani Power is to generate more energy by accessing stronger winds at high altitudes through a round aerial device and transfer it to a station situated in land. The company is after producing a device with larger wings. They plan the new device to reach approximately 500 meters altitude and to be able to fulfill the power needs of 600 homes with the energy that it is going to generate.
Last year, Google bought the company that presents a product named Liftware, which can prevent the trembling of the people with Parkinson disease. The product is in fact a spoon. It has a motor that picks up the movements through an accelerometer that is inside of the device and generates counter moves. The product came onto the market with a $295 price tag in November.
Projects that were cancelled
How many more projects that the company plans to work on or what kind of crazy ideas they have in mind is unknown to us. But, an elevator to go up in the space, a jetpack, a flying skateboard, and a beaming device are among what we know. These are a few of the projects that were able to get in the agenda of Google X and then they were rejected.