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Four exciting tech innovations that aren't April Fools' gags

April 07, 2014

Aside from playing classic pranks on friends and family members, it's often the incredible hoaxes presented by tech gurus that create an amusing April Fools' Day. This year was no exception: From Google's Pokemon map mission to Twitter's bird-like helmet, information technology companies did not disappoint.

However, the same creativity and innovation that went into planning these chuckle-worthy gags have also been driving some equally inspired but far more serious developments in the tech world. Here are a few exciting things tech leaders have been working on—for real:

3D organ printing. The 3D printing industry has made leaps and bounds in the past few years, from scientists exploring ways to print food in space to doctors relying on the technology to perform skull transplants. According to CNN, researchers are experimenting with biological materials that could eventually be used to print live organs for transplants. Though it faces some ethical considerations, bioprinting could usher in a "new era of medicine," the source commented.

Thermal imaging apps. This innovation is out on the market already. Optimum Energy Products described the FLIR ONE thermal imager, which fits on iPhones and offers thermal solutions for everyone. The source noted that applications for the product include identifying drafty spots or having some fun with thermal hide-and-seek. PC Magazine reported some other ideas, including real-time emotion gauging as well as some commercial purposes for the highly portable and affordable devices.

Delivery drones. From Amazon's same-day delivery drones to restaurant takeaway machines, companies and tech experts are exploring a wide variety of ways to take advantage of advanced drone technology. The Guardian reported that startups are aiming for a more noble cause: Matternet hopes to use drones to support its humanitarian relief efforts, delivering medical supplies to areas in the developing world that are hard to access by traditional means. Similar thinking could take drones into other situations as well, such as using them to assist with disaster relief efforts following a catastrophic incident.

Sound-based passwords. IT support teams often face an uphill battle convincing their colleagues to implement best practices for authentication steps. From "123456" to "password," user habits haven't been encouraging thus far. As Mirror reported, Google might be planning to completely change the system, replacing typed passwords with unique sound bytes. Though not quite ready for prime time yet, the idea shows that tech leaders are rethinking basic security measures. Played through an app, the sound cannot be perceived by human ears, making it difficult to replicate.

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