Computer scientist Alan Kay once said: “Technology is anything invented after you were born, everything else is just stuff.” In other words, technology experienced by today's children is vastly different from anything that came before. Only what will be developed next will be new technology. 


What brought this to mind was an article about technology of the past that was  thought of as ground breaking at the time. For example, remember the overhead projector? “Nothing can match the elaborate production these required: the fine-tip wet erase markers, the transparencies, and the giant on-off button.” 


Of course, who can forget that marvel of scientific innovation – the electric pencil sharpener. “You could hit class clown status immediately by playing the national anthem on the electric sharpener.” (


Compare those pieces of past tech with what's on our doorstep now – flying cars. “Investors, startups, and aviation bigwigs have all put billions of dollars toward making that vision a reality with electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) ventures. Five of these companies have gone public in the last 18 months, with valuations ranging from $2 billion to more than $6 billion. United Airlines is one of the many major carriers betting big on electric air taxis.” Pie in the sky? Well, you don't spend billions of dollars unless you expect some huge returns.  (


New technology is not only in the air, it's also under the sea. “A massive yacht that’s more like a luxury floating hotel is being developed by submarine builder U-Boat Worx. The company wants to give the obscenely wealthy the best of both worlds with a luxury superyacht that can also dive to depths of 650-feet. The 123-foot long Nautilus has amenities that include four state rooms for guests plus a main suite,  a dining and lounge area set below the water line with large viewing windows, and  a full galley.” Order yours today for just $25 million. (


It would be appropriate if guests on the Nautilus would be served drinks by a robot bartender. “Researchers at University of Naples Federico II in Italy have recently developed a new interactive robotic system called BRILLO, which is specifically designed for bartending.”


This guy does more than just serve libations. "In the end, we think a barman should not only be the one who remembers your tastes, but also your interests and your daily life. Just like human bartenders, they should sometimes act as close friends." 



Every bartender could use an assistant, so there's help on the way. University of Tokyo scientists have constructed a robot that peels bananas. “Two robotic arms with prongs that resemble hands hover above an unpeeled banana on a table. One prong picks up the banana and the other grabs a section of the peel and pulls it back slowly. It turns the banana and delicately takes off each successive piece of the peel. In about fifty seconds, the robot has successfully stripped the banana.” Banana daiquiris made with technological precision.  (


Meanwhile, back on the ground, a robot developed at Oregon State University broke a Guinness World Record for the fastest 100 meters by a bipedal robot. “The robot, dubbed Cassie, took to the track  and ran the 100 meters in 24.73 seconds. Cassie previously managed to run a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course in 2021 in just over 53 minutes.” (


Even smaller than Cassie, a robot cockroach has been developed. This is not as  yukky as you might think. “A rechargeable, remote-controllable robo-bug cockroach is the latest cyborg to come shuffling out of flexible electronics. The cybernetic creation is thought to be a novel approach to urban search and rescue in creating a recon-ready cockroach that can be powered by the Sun (others are sniffing out explosives).” (


If all this seems a bit much, how about something from the here and now? I recently attended a ballgame at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Wrigley is a cashless venue. This means: “ From retail to concessions all purchases are cashless. Payment includes a credit card, debit card or mobile wallet.” 


So then I wondered how would those vendors I the stands operate. How would I pay for my hot dogs? This is where it got cool. “Mobile ordering is the primary way to order food and beverages from fixed concession stands or from vendors to your seat.  Download the MLB Ballpark app and preload a credit or debit card.” The bottom line? Using my phone, I ordered my hot dogs. They were automatically paid for and minutes later they were delivered to my seat. See how this works at:


Finally, we've all seen drone (robot) videos. To see something really amazing go to:


This is an “Incredible Drone Fly Through of Wrigley.” The drone flies over and around the field, though a tavern, down office halls, into the concourse, and even through an open cab of a fire truck. You have to see it to believe it. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and