By Samantha Chang and Yumitra Kannan
We’d hate to be stereotypical gadget-addicted youths, but the purpose of technology is to make our lives easier – and as students, we’re all ‘bout that life. Take the library’s facial recognition system for instance: gone are the days of awkwardly fishing through our bag pockets while someone standing behind us grumbles under their breath. We appreciate that Sunway is attending to our needs. With that, we’ve put together a
Christmas list compilation of tools that would save us time and energy, so that we can devote them to endeavors that truly matter – such as lining up for 5 hours to get free Sunway Lagoon passes.
#1. AI Research Assistant
A quick stroll through Google Scholar can often lead you down a long and windy hike through a mountain of research. What if we had a little navigator bot that not only mapped out the routes that have already been taken, but also sketched out unexplored, but plausible routes? In other words, what if AI could be used to help us out with our literature reviews?
Such programs do exist, such as Iris, Semantic Scholar, and Eurotos (among others). Some of their functions include:
- Summarizing complex papers into simple English
- Comparing the contents of papers
- Ranking papers according to their relevance to you
- Finding pertinent papers from different fields
- Identifying research gaps and generating hypotheses
These programs are still in their infancy and are naturally only available to the upper echelons, but if every student had access to such tools? It’d be a win for science and a win for our sanities.
#2. VR Learning
There’s nothing quite like an immersive, hands-on experience to make learning stick – in fact, retrieving information may be easier when more modes (e.g. verbal, visual etc) are involved in the learning process (see: dual-coding theory). Here’s where VR comes in: imagine you’re studying chemistry – instead of trying to force all the formulas and chemical colours into your head, you could practice experiments and watch chemical reactions form in real time. Learning psychology? Simulate counselling sessions until you get it right. Culinary: make a dish a hundred times without wasting any ingredients. Politics: sit in on important, historical discussions that have changed the game. History: set foot in the battle of Stalingrad – okay, on second thought, maybe not. Speaking of scary situations, how about using VR to practice delivering presentations or attending interviews?
It could also be valuable to teachers who want to help students become more invested in the material. Trying to get them to internalize the importance of environmentalism? Make them swim in the famous Great Pacific Garbage Patch or witness giant fires swallow our rainforests. Want to encourage empathy for underprivileged populations around the world? Let them walk a day in the shoes of a child factory worker or a refugee. Using VR would be a great way to make these issues more palpable and less of a distant thought for students.
#3. Affordable Brainiac Spectacles
In a world where the young wear glasses not because they need them but because they look good with them, Brainiac Spectacle’s would be a definite hit. I mean, who wouldn’t want a pair of glasses that can access the internet for you and show you information and answers to your daily academic problems after a milli-second of inquiry? Not forgetting the most discreet method of searching – just blink thrice and formulate the question in your thoughts and blink thrice again to search and voila, your answers appear in front of your own eyes but not the lecturers’! Now that is something we can all make do of. Who has the time to pull out their phones, charge it and search for things when just blinking and thinking can get you there? But the most important aspect of the Brainiac Spectacles will be whether or not this innovation will be affordable for the students they are meant for! Oh, how we wish…
#4. Nanotechnology Suit
When we talk about Nanotechnology Clothing, the first thing that would come to mind is Black Panther’s suit ⎼ and rightfully so! It is where most of us were introduced to this interesting concept.
A daily struggle in a student’s life is dressing up for college/university and hardly being satisfied with what we manage to put together with one eye open at 7 in the morning. But it’s not just about looking good but more so about dressing for the occasion or in most cases, the weather. What starts off as a gloomy day that demands #SweaterMood tends to become the hottest day on Earth by two in the afternoon. I’m sure many of us have walked under the hot sun to get food in the thickest sweater we own, cursing our choices in life. And many of us have walked into freezing auditoriums in our t-shirts, wondering why adulting is so hard.
But what if we had a Nanotech Suit? We could program it to be able to manifest into hundreds of different clothing pieces; in an instant, we could change from Sushi Roll to Salsa Sauce (if you know what I mean *wink wink*).
While a Nanotech outfit would cost us a bomb, we have to admit that we spend quite a lot on clothing (and waste a lot of manmade and natural resources too). So, the Nanotech Suit would be quite the brilliant one-stop body shop and a damn good investment.
Besides, innovations that students wish they had never come with the “cheap” option, this is unfortunately still a concept under works in the wishful thinking factory.
#5. Wildest Dream Food Station
Okay let’s get one thing straight – we may have a mountain load of assignments that are due in a week, tests that are catching up on us, family dinners that we can’t miss and our extracurriculars to keep afloat and yet the toughest struggle of being a student has to be choosing where to eat with your friends (am I right or am I right?). If your group is made up of more than two members, you know that picking a spot for lunch brings out the worst in everyone. There’s blood, sweat and tears that go into the decision making process and by the end of it, your appetite is out the window.
But what if your school had a Wildest Dream Food Station where every student’s palette is assessed and the food they are craving for the most is formulated? You’d never have to fight, you’d be able to eat anything you want in a single place and even the most indecisive individuals will get their fix without a hassle. I mean this has to be the ultimate invention, right?
Let us know in the comments if you could relate to wanting any of the inventions in our list of 5 Innovations Students Wish They Had and tag your friends who most definitely need some of these fixes.
Till next time, keep that imagination flowing!