- Invasion of Privacy and Identity Theft
- Loss of Electronic Devices
- Hearing Loss
- Safety Uses of Miniaturization
- Portable Shooting and Editing
The basic definition of miniaturization is "to make a version of something in a much smaller size or on a greatly reduced scale" ( MSN Encarta Dictionary). In technology applications, the word miniaturization deals with the basic dimensions of the actual technology itself. In other words, miniaturization is making our electronic devices that we use everyday smaller and smaller. Wikipedia gives a better definition by stating that miniaturization is the progression of mechanical, optical, and electronic devices to decrease in size (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia).
There are multiple examples that can be used for miniaturization, but the three items that reflect this megatrend the best are the Ipod Nano, the Moto Razr V3, and the Dell Inspiron 700m.
The Ipod Nano is a digital compression music player that delivers up to 1,000 songs skip free and they are manufactured by Apple Computer, Incorporated. The Ipod Nano features a very slim and compact design with dimensions of only 3.5 x 1.6 x 0.27 inches and 1.5 ounces. It supports a color LCD screen, the Apple Click Wheel, plays continuously for 14 hours, offers casing in both Black and White, and holds other information besides music files. The Ipod Nano is offered for two prices. One costs 200 dollars and contains 2 gigabytes of memory that holds 500 songs. The other option of an Ipod costs 249 dollars and contains 4 gigabytes of memory to hold the maximum of 1,000 songs. The Ipod Nano is able to be used for many purposes when you are unable to use a CD player or even for replacing a CD player. A few examples are exercising, going on vacations, and many more. Also in recent news, Apple released a new form of miniaturization with the Ipod Video. This device will replace the older Ipods and will cost about 300 to 400 dollars and be able to support not only playing songs, but also displaying video on a two and a half inch screen. Back to the top of the page
Moto Razr V3
The next example of miniaturization is the Moto Razr V3, which is made by the Motorola Corporation. The phone sells for a maximum of 400 dollars. But with online and in-store rebates, you can get the phone for as little as 100 dollars. Features of the Razr V3 include ring tone downloads, calculator and currency converter, date and clock, alarm clock, calendar, instant messaging, text messaging, video games, photo camera, and video clip downloads. The Moto Razr V3 supports all this while still only weighing 3.35 ounces and having dimensions of 3.86 x 2.08 x 0.54 inches. The applications of this phone basically compare to those of a palm pilot. By having a phone with this power, anyone will be able to keep a strict control on their life. Back to the top of the page
Dell Inspiron 700m
The final example is the Dell Inspiron 700m notebook. This laptop is made by Dell Incorporated.The base price for this laptop is a maximum of 7,603 dollars which includes every single option that is available, and a minimum of 800 dollars. This laptop is the slimmest and lightest of all of Dell's laptops being 4.1 pounds and 1.5 inches thick. Other features on this laptop include an Intel Pentium M Processor, Windows XP, a minimum of 256 megabytes of RAM, 12.1 inch screen, a hard drive with 40, 60, or 80 gigabytes, and an ethernet card for internet access. This laptop's applications are very broad and diverse. Anyone can use this laptop for meeting other people through the internet, writing reports for their job or college, recreational purposes like watching DVDs, burning DVDs, listening to music, playing computer games, or by applying this computer to almost any aspect of a person's life.
Invasion of Privacy and Identity Theft
Miniaturization is one of the fastest changing megatrends. Miniaturization can be a great benefit for society, but miniaturization also has its downsides. On the side of problems, one of the biggest growing crimes in America is caused by the affects of miniaturization. Invasion of personal privacy and identity theft are two very dangerous crimes that can not only embarrass you, but can also cause financial problems as well. A report composed by the news organization PRWeb states that 10 million consumers become identity theft victims every year and those people spend a countless amount of time and money to correct these attacks. Not all 10 million are caused by miniaturization related electronics, but with the advancement in technology, miniaturization has greatly helped to increase the number of identity theft victims (PRWeb press release newswire). Miniaturization plays a role in this crime because miniaturization has created the technology of miniature spy cams. Voyeurism, according to Answers.com, is a practice in which an individual derives sexual pleasure from observing other people. Some forms of voyeurism are legal, but if the person being viewed is unaware of the action, then it is illegal and considered an invasion of privacy. Bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress and The United Kingdom. The United Kingdom passed the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which enforced specific sexual offense laws against voyeurism. The United States passed the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2004 into law in 2004. This law specified that "Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, has the intent to capture an image of a private area of an individual without their consent, and knowingly does so under circumstances in which the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both" (Public Law 108-495, 108th Congress). Back to the top of the page
Loss of Electronic Devices
A second problem with the trend of miniaturization is the increased ability to lose your electronic devices or have them stolen. Two articles by the web site News Target describe the loss of not only cellular phones, but also of laptops and palm pilots. The first article states that taxi cab drivers in Chicago reported 85,000 lost cell phones last year which equates to about 4 cell phones forgotten in every taxi cab in the city (News Target: Article 1). In the second article, News Target reports that not only are 200,000 cell phones being left behind world wide, but 11,000 laptops and 31,000 handheld computers were left in taxi cabs world wide (News Target: Article 2). Even though all these electronic devices are being left behind in taxi cabs, News Target does state that almost 80 percent of these items are returned. Unlike losing an electronic device, getting it stolen does not have the best outcome for getting it back. Because of miniaturization, theft is a lot easier. According to the Mac News Network, Apple states that miniaturization trends have caused computerized electronics to become extremely more portable. As stated in the Apple patient, "Current portable electronic devices such as laptop computers, hand-held devices such as cellular telephones and personal media devices, such as the Ipod from Apple Computer, and even devices such as compact disc players, are sufficiently compact and lightweight as to make them easily movable. Unfortunately, such ease of transport also implies ease of theft. While the rightful owner of a portable electronic device may conveniently transport it almost anywhere, so can a thief." Even though it is easier for people to steal these electronic devices, this Apple patient is designed to keep thieves from stealing the devices by setting off alarms (MacNN.com: Apple Patent). Back to the top of the page
A third problem with miniaturization is the growth in use of portable MP3 players. These players, according to CNN.com, have caused physiological damage because of the extended use of the ear buds and playing the player's music extremely loud. Robert Novak, director of clinical education in audiology at Purdue University in Indiana, and colleagues have been randomly examining students and found a disturbing and growing incidence of what is known as noise-induced hearing loss. Usually, it means they've lost the ability to hear higher frequencies, evidenced at times by mild ear-ringing or trouble following conversations in noisy situations. This hearing loss is directly related to the use of the MP3 players (CNN.com Health: What's that? Headphones linked to hearing loss?). Back to the top of the page
A big area that miniaturization is going into is the use of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is being developed for all kinds of types of areas like medical, economical, technological, and educational. According to BBC News, the technological area of nanotechnology applies to telecommunications by making every electronic device "ultra miniaturized". According to this BBC Current Affairs Transcript, says that nanotechnology is incrementally becoming known throughout most of the electronic world. Paul Atherton, Professor, Cranfield University &
Chairman, Nanoventures Ltd. & Infinitesima, continues by saying, "But there's a great deal of incrementalism here in the way everyday things are getting better, things that you don't really notice or think about: your mobile phone and the materials used to make it: that they're lighter and stronger; cars are more reliable and they don't rust; your glasses last for longer and they're lighter" (Grey Goo's Sticky Mess, BBC documentary). Nanotechnology still has its own flaws. According to a news release by the EE Times, they say that the nanotechnology of the future involves chemical structures that defect around three percent of the time and the other big problem is actually being able to correctly build electrical circuits on the "nano-metric scale" (nanotechnology implications). Back to the top of the page
Safety Uses of Miniaturization
On the other hand, there are some excellent examples of how miniaturization is helping our society. One example is in the form of safety. Cellular phones in today's society are not just used for recreational purposes anymore. Young children are the newest recipients of cellular phones as described in the WCF Courier. Many parents have started purchasing cell phones for children for safety purposes. According to WCF Courier, these cell phones are made for safety that offer quick touch features for emergencies, parental controls to limit calling, and both incoming and outgoing calling capabilities (On the hook: Child advocates condemn cell phones for kids). Other great safety features are the use of "Nanny Cams". Miniaturization has created the ability to miniaturize cameras in order to mask them in other objects like the teddy bear's nose in the picture to the right. These cameras are great for making sure that your child is being treated properly in the care of others or even just to watch your baby while you are in another room. Other objects that are used for the placement of the cameras are statues, floral arrangements, and maybe even books. The New Mexico Channel News gives us a report that shows that these forms of miniaturization actually have helped to arrest abusive baby sitters who were caught in the act by the miniature cameras. Back to the top of the page
Portable Shooting and Editing
The last area that miniaturization has benefited society are digital cameras and desktop editing systems. Digital cameras have gone through the miniaturization trend from the big cameras that required a person to carry the recorder on their hip all the way to the current cameras that anyone can run with. On the CNN special, Hollywood Today, the modern movie making gallery showcases two forms of miniaturization technology at work in the industry today. One example is handheld cameras. These cameras are in use to create programs like "The Blair Witch Project" and "My Date with Drew". The other technology they are using in Hollywood is the desktop editing system Final Cut Studio which was premiered in 1999 by Mac. This Program brought into a desktop computer what originally took an entire room. This product brings in the ability for any person who is interested in video editing to get involved for a low cost of buying the software for their home computer.
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(All links are to definitions defined by Tech Web Encyclopedia)
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- Information technology
Miniaturization is connected to information technology by the ability of most electronic devices being able to connect to the internet. MP3 players, cell phones, and palm pilots are examples of the connection of these two megatrends because they all use computer components to upload songs, play games, or surf the internet.
Miniaturization can not occur without the technology of compression. Digital compression has created audio files for the Ipod Nano to operate, computer programs for cellular phones to operate, and also the increase of bandwidth for the internet to be able to carry more information at the same time.
Connectivity has become more common because of miniaturization. Because of handheld devices like cellular phones and light weight laptops, people are able to talk to each other and retrieve information at a touch of a button.
The connections of interactivity and miniaturization are based around computers and controls. Miniaturization has increased interactivity with touch screen capabilities in computers used for monitoring, cash registers, and even for email capabilities. These two trends also have affected remote controls of televisions and radios. The miniaturization side has made having a remote for these two devices a default option that allows a person to change the channel or radio station. One possible future connection will be interactive television and also virtual reality where you decide on the programming.
The best example for the connection of miniaturization and multimedia would be cellular phones and palm pilots. PDAs, like the Blackberry pictured to the right, are a prime example in multimedia because of the video, audio, text, and phone call abilities they offers.
Personalization is tied into miniaturization because it is one of the main side effects of miniaturization. Being able to take your Ipod or your cell phone and pick your songs, pick your ring tones, or pick your designs for the cases of these devices are all forms of personalization. Without miniaturization, items such at radios and televisions would cost too much to personalize them into the characteristics a person would want. Miniaturization in televisions has caused them to be able to focus on a new technology called Ambilight technology which was created by Philips to help make a better picture quality.
While the dimensions are decreased in miniaturization, weight is equally affected. While the weight of these devices decrease, the ability for people to carry these items around increases. Portability is only possible because of miniaturization. MP3 players, laptops, portable DVD players, phones, and many other electrical devices are able to be used almost everywhere because they are being made more compact and smaller than ever before.
Miniaturization is a megatrend that is growing very rapidly in our society. Unfortunately, it will increase the digital divide between technologically developed countries and third world countries as time passes by; but the advantages extremely outweigh the negatives. Currently, miniaturization is expanding into nanotechnology which is currently in the elite stage of development. Eventually, this technology will be used not only for the use of electrical devices like televisions that are very thin or laptops that you are able to work on and walk at the same time, but also for medical discoveries and scientific research on the molecular level. In medical terms, miniaturization will one day be used in the form of biological nanotechnology. Biological nanotechnology will be used one day to find cancer in your body in very early stages of development and destroy the cancer. In the future, miniaturization will be the cause of almost anyone being able to access unlimited media sources, get a hold of a friend, or capture still photos or live video in just a flick of a button on their favorite minimized home entertainment center or their favorite easily portable device. Back to the top of the page
"Portability and technology will no longer be a problem and it is a fact that we are spending so much time currently negotiating around, connecting to our information, and finding a way to go wireless," says Dr. John Dailey, Assistant Professor Of Multimedia, Ball State University. " There are not a lot of public computers that are able to connect to networks, but I think that will happen now. Finally, we are going to have enough broad band capability where we happen to be that you will be able to connect to your stuff.
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V Cast has contracts already out that you are going to be able to watch most major network programing on their phone system and I do not know who is watching it. Well, the same person right now that is at the bus stop or some place else that is playing a game or text messaging their friends; yes, they will pay for thirty minutes of a soap opera or something they are subscribing to whenever they want to see it. That is where its all going. It is all what I want, when I want, and connecting it the way I want it to connect.
Bluetooth is a form of very short transfers of information. Theoretically, if we could get Bluetooth to the point it could be or maybe where it is in some places. Bluetooth is used in your cell phone. It could actually serve as an electronic key that would have financial data on it that would unlock purchases at a vending machine, which sounds like a joke, but what is really fun is when I buy my tickets for the commuter train everyday. If I travel on the train on a regular basis maybe I buy an E-ticket once then it immediately goes into my phone and from that point on I approach the train and those turnstiles that you normally have to buy a daily ticket with a magnetic stripe to open it with instead uses the Bluetooth in my phone talks to the turnstiles causing them open up for me as I approach.
RFID. They are little tiny stickers that are actually transponders that need no batteries. In five to ten years from now, most supercenter chains like "Wal-Mart" will not have any cashiers anymore because when you buy what you buy at the store everything will have an RFID sticker and your wallet will have one in it as well. You walk through an arch at the door, it reads your wallet and knows you have enough money in your account to pay, and you then walk out of the store as the money is taken out of your account. The stores that distinguish themselves will be the stores that actually have services again."
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Dr. Jerome McKean, Associate Professor, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Ball State University. "I think people have just become use to being able to photograph or do a video capture of anything going on around them so inevitably I am sure we will get some captures of criminal events taking place.
"We know that miniaturization makes theft easier and it does it in two ways. First of all, there are new objects to steal. Ten years ago, nobody was stealing Ipods because they did not exist and twenty years ago no one was stealing Walkmans and nobody was stealing laptops. If you think about the value per ounce of a cell phone or an Ipod it is extremely valuable commodity and of course it is valuable for the information it contains. On the other hand, as everything gets smaller and everything becomes more portable and the more portable things are the easier they are to steal. As these new technologies come into play and become more and more popular, they become targets for theft and that is just an inevitable byproduct.
"I would expect that miniaturized electronic devices are right up there with text books as the number one stolen items on the Ball State University campus."
Created By: William Craig Butler
October 10, 2005