An electronic newspaper is an electronic device that connects to the Internet and displays news items on a display screen.
A channel is a path for the transmission of data.
A gigabit per second is a communications speed of approximately one thousand million binary digits every second.
A fibre refers to a strand of glass fibre used in fibre optics cable which carries data using the reflection of laser light.
Visual computer personalities refers to digital images with human characteristics that are used as an interface between the user and a computer system.
A hydraulic chair is a chair that has moving parts that are operated using fluid pressure.
VR games are virtual reality games i.e. computer games that use a simulated three-dimensional environment that surrounds the user and is generated by a computer.
An intranet is an internal network webpage system that operates using the same protocols (agreed communication standards) as the Internet.
The Internet is the connection of computer networks across the world.
A wearable health monitor is a computerised medical device built into clothing so that it can be worn by the user to take measurements of certain aspects of the user's health.
A robot is a mechanical device controlled by a computer.
A terabit is a unit of storage capacity equal to approximately one million million binary digits.
Optical fibre is the glass fibre used in fibre cable that carries data using the reflection of laser light.
A robotic pet is a mechanical device in the form of a pet animal, such as a dog, that is controlled by a computer.
Robotic devices within blood vessels refers to computer-controlled mechanical devices that are small enough to be inserted into human veins and arteries that carry the blood around the body.
Artificial brain implants refers to computerised devices that are designed to be inserted into the human brain.
Avatars are animated graphical icons used to represent real people in cyberspace (the combination of all the data on all the computer networks throughout the world, accessed using the Internet).
Robotics is the study of robot systems.
Barcodes are sequences of vertical parallel lines used to give items unique identification numbers.
Radio-frequency tags are badges attached to products that emit radio-frequency signals to provide information about the product.
Computerised (operated or controlled using a computer) versions of common household items, such as fridges and washing machines, are becoming available. These devices have touch-sensitive display screens and can be connected to the Internet to enable email (electronic mail) and browsing (moving from webpage to webpage using a Web browser program) using Web protocols (agreed standards for communicating using the Web) such as WRAP (web-ready appliance protocol). These devices can be operated by remote control (at a distance) and can communicate with each other through the house ring main (the common, main electrical supply circuit). Computerised fridges can use radio-frequency tags to keep track of the items in the fridge, suggest menus or provide a shopping list.
Wireless network systems (network connections using radio signals without network cables) are becoming more common. They are used to connect devices such as PCs (personal computers), mobile phones (wireless telephones), printers, cameras, credit card devices, headphones and MP3 devices (music players that use MPEG Audio Layer 3 - a Motion Picture Experts Group standard for audio compression). They communicate using standard protocols such as Bluetooth or WirelessLAN.
EVAs (electronic virtual assistants) are also likely to become more common. These are 3D (three-dimensional) animated images that provide a humanlike interface (connection that provides a means of communication) between a computer user and a computer system. They are used by call centres (organisations that promote and sell products using the telephone), advertisers, ISPs (organisations that provide Internet connections for a fee) and e-commerce (buying and selling goods and services on the Internet). They can be programmed to operate a search engine (a program designed to find information in a database according to data entered by the user). They search the databases (electronic filing systems that store data in records) using artificial intelligence (an area of computing concerned with developing computer programs that perform tasks that can normally only be done using human intelligence). EVAs are controlled by Java applets (small, self-contained programs written using the Java computer language).
Ananova is the world's first digital newsreader. It is a 3D computer-generated animated image that has been programmed to have human characteristics. It operates over the Internet to deliver the news and latest information to personal computers, mobile phones and televisions. Ananova converts the information to speech and uses real-time (the immediate processing of computer data) animated graphics.
An avatars creation system automatically creates a 3D model of a person that can be used to represent them on mobile videophones (phones with video screens) and on Internet services, such as email (electronic mail), Internet chat (real-time, online discussions) and Internet games. Anyone can have a personal avatar created by emailing their photograph and personal details to the system. Electronic games played on a games console (an electronic device used for playing computer games) in which an image of the user appears in the form of an avatar, could become a killer application (an application program that is particularly useful and popular, making a computer system very successful). The increased availability of broadband systems (communications systems with a high signal capacity) such as ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) are likely to allow avatars to be used to create a virtual world populated by virtual humans.
Robotic pets, such as robot dogs, and robotic creatures, such as robot lobsters and crickets, demonstrate that simple processes can result in complex behaviours. They use neural nets (an artificial intelligence system that is capable of developing rules from given input so that it learns how to deal with more complex input). Experiments in cybernetics (the study of control and communication in animals and machines) may lead to more humans being turned into cyborgs (a man-machine system or a person made superhuman by a machine or external system that changes the way the body functions) in the future by having chips (common name for microchips – electronic integrated circuits in small packages) implanted in their bodies to act as transponders (devices that respond to received coded radio signals by automatically transmitting a different coded signal).
Human brains depend on parallel processing (the processing of different data at the same time) whereas computers process an input serially (one item at a time). Experiments with neural nets that have the capacity to form new links in the same way as the brain, are being used to simulate parallel processing. Robots controlled by computers with neural nets would be able to learn for themselves rather than depend on fixed programs.