Everything old is futuristic again

October 2, 2013

recordsVinyl record sales are up 70% this year and this prompted Belinda King of Radio ABC Tasmania and I to take a nostalgic look at the future to explore what other past trends are making a comeback.

Nostalgia and authenticity are two of my 13 trends for 2013 and they usually are a response to tougher economic times as we harken back to the romantic periods in our life and try and herald their return by surrounding ourselves with modern twists on their physical manifestations.

Current clothing trends fit into this with much of today’s fashion styling being influenced by 1920’s Gatsby era and the 1950’s / 1960’s. Vintage clothes stores are on the rise. Modern twists on the good old hamburgers, milkshakes and fries as well as “honest” cooking and cooking at home are all rising big in the world of food and restaurants.

These trends will be with us for the next year or so and behind it is a softening of technology envy, for most of us we’re over the gadget being the most important thing, as evidenced by the recent more sedate hysteria around the iPhone 5C and 5S launch, and instead we are looking for “hyperpersonalised” experiences these devices can offer us.

Have a listen to this segment and let me know what nostalgic period you would like to bring back and why.

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This week in the Future

September 9, 2013

Samsung-Galaxy-Gear-Watchnissan-nismosamsung watchsony watchqualcom watchWith the imminent arrival of the new iPhone 6s and 6c, with what we are led to believe will be fingerprint recognition scanners, better graphics faster processors and in the case of the 5C rainbow colour choices and a cheaper price tag, David Dowsett of ABC Wide Bay and I took a look at what else is happening in tech land.

The other big story is the purchase by Microsoft of Nokia mobile, as the software giant takes another big step into the mobile space, we also look at the avalanche of new smart watches about to hit our shops and Google’s newest operating system Kit Kat.

Listen now to our round up of all things tech…


Who said TV is bad for you?

July 29, 2013

startreknology.jpg~original

It’s amazing how many of today’s ordinary technology, started their life as an extraordinary prop in a book or television show.

This week ABC Wide Bay’s David Dowsett and I took a look at the top 10 innovations that were first seen in the 1960’s Sci-Fi series Star Trek and now probable, possible and in many cases ordinary.

1. Mobile phones
2. Warp speed
3. Transporter beams
4. Tractor beams
5. Replicators
6. 3D medical holograms
7. Medical tricorders
8. Holodecks
9. Cloaking devices
10. Friendly androids / robots

Take a listen now and let me know which Sci-Fi or movie innovation you’re still waiting for.


This Week in the Future

June 17, 2013

FF_Parable-Oxford_English_DictionaryIt normally takes at least 10 years of consecutive use for a word to appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, but like everything else nowadays things happens fast. Last week the word “Tweet” was accepted as both a verb and noun, this may sound insignificant, but it goes along way to proving the case that when innovation strikes it can in an instant change culture, society, business and language irrevocably. Others words included Big Data, Crowdsourcing, e-reader, mouseover, stream as web, geekery, flash mob and BFF.

This was one of the topics I chatted about with ABC radio’s David Dowsett in our regular look ahead.

nasa pizza printerWe also looked at NASA’s commissioning of a 3D printer capable of printing pizza’s in space.

Wearable technology also got a look in this week with smart socks that monitor your body, its exertion and movements and provides real time information to a myriad of mobile devices and spray on liquid fabric that allows you to spray on directly to your body reusable and washable clothes, first aid sterilized bandages, as well providing a vehicle to carry nanotechnology into the skin including vaccinations, UV protection and even provide a fire proof coating to our skin.

Robots throwing the first pitch at a baseball match also made the list, the kicker in this story is it was thrown remotely by a 13 year old suffering from aplastic anemia who can’t be exposed to crowds. Using Google’s Fiber’s a special room was built in which the boy, his friends and medical staff witnessed him throwing the first pitch as did a host of sensors that sent all of his movements to a remote robot that replicated them 1800 miles away and remotely through the ball for him.

Sushi-DroneIf this wasn’t enough, how about flying sushi trays. Yo!Sushi is using iTrays, hovering restaurant trays, to deliver food from the kitchen direct to the guests table.

It’s an incredible world ahead, so have a listen to this weeks segment and as always let me know what what you see ahead.


Robots aint what they used to be, they’re what they’re going to be…

June 8, 2013

robots antiqueRobot butlers and maids seems to be the most common expectation we have of our new metallic friends. Robots that are lifelike, technically called androids, may still be some time off, but Robots of all other sizes, shapes and complexities are making their debut into the world of work and play.

In this week’s on air discussion James Lush of ABC Perth Local and I had a look at what we can expect to see and have in the world of Robots, Androids, Bots and Nano Bots.

In the world of medicine and health care we will see the growth and surge in telemedicine allowing Doctors and medical professionals to share, consult and even operate anywhere from anywhere, as Doctor’s climb inside a virtual robot and drive themselves around remote hospitals and operating theatres.

In offices and factories we will also have remote vehicle robots jockeying their virtual executives and workers around distant and remote global offices and factories.

There will also be an array of factory robots including Baxter who can learn and replicate any repetitive task in 90 seconds and costs around $22,000 to purchase, giving him an operating cost of $3.52 per hour, the same cost of the average Chinese worker – will this bring back some of the manufacturing to Australia? – stay tuned.

In our homes, we have already seen the march to the automation of lighting, heating, security and appliances as well as robotic washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers, but as they say in the TV ads, wait there’s more…

Our roads over the next years will start to be populated by self driving cars and remote controlled heavy vehicle will continue to grow in popularity, what will this mean for road conditions and safety?

Aged Care, retail, defence, security and all other things Robot were all part of this weeks segment, so have a listen and let me know what you’re most looking forward to about your first Robot.


The third industrial revolution has begun

May 6, 2013

third-industrial-revolutionWhen we sit on the cusp of a new method of production, one that moves us beyond the production line and returns us to a bygone era of artisans, bespoke, custom-made innovation and production, then it becomes necessary to re-frame the way we think about the way we create, own, distribute and have.

In this weeks’ on-air chat with David Dowsett of ABC radio we turned our attention to the recent announcement by St Vincent’s hospital in Melbourne that within 5 years they would begin trialling 3D printing of human body organs and that within 10 years printing of human spare parts may become “normal”.

This technology has been on the rise for a number of decades but technology, culture and medical advancements are all conspiring to make this the time that science fiction starts to turn into science fact.

3D printers will, over the next decade, evolve to print cars, homes and buildings, food, clothes, furniture and so much more as we begin to “manufacture” items in situ in real-time at our shops, factory’s, hospitals, homes and wherever we need to produce or have an “object”.

The world of innovation, manufacturing, global citizen equity and the ability to “have” will all be challenged as we see industry’s emerge, industry’s disappear and billionaires created in this brave new world.

Have a listen to the live recording and then let me know your thoughts on the new world of 3D printing:


Noodle making robots

April 22, 2013

Robots have long been the stuff of science fiction and many of us have grown up waiting for the day when our dreams might turn into technological reality.

In this morning’s regular look ahead David Dowsett of radio ABC and I took a look at robots and discovered that they are already here.

telemedicien robotTelemedicine robots allows Doctors to virtually jump inside a moving mechanical device and transport themselves around hospitals and clinics engaging and treating patients along the way. Robotic surgeons use their robotic arms to accurately guide and oversee complex operations often in tandem with skilled physical physician hands. Nano robots are routinely swallowed into our body and then guided around to take internal x-rays and photographs. Robotic limbs replace lost, degenerated and non-existent limbs, as well as provide heart pumps and other life-giving robotically controlled devices.

telework robotsIn our offices and factory’s we see the increased use of teleworkers using robotic Segway like devices that allow executives to be in two places at once by jumping on-board a telerobot and riding it virtually around far away offices to attend board meeting in one country without ever having to leave the comforts of their own offices. Many of these devices cost no more than $250 and use PC tablets mounted on robotic shoulders and free software to see and connect you.

drievelss carOn our roads we can expect to see a fleet of driverless cars who know where you need to be and when, have real-time updates of the road conditions ahead and will chauffeur you to your destination in comfort and safety.

Robot-Noodle-SlicerRobots are also entering the hospitality industry as noodle makers, hamburger flippers and sous chefs and in retail as clerks and sales assistants.

Robots as anthropomorphic, high functioning, independently thinking, self replicating humanoid machines are still a long way off. In theory they appear to be easy to create, but in reality are still beyond the ready boundaries of our capabilities and technologies.

There is much work being done in robotics and the most recent catalyst of this is the growth and convergence of big data, mobile technologies, changing culture and a growing appetite for robot like devices together with a practical and pragmatic future need to overcome a growing chronic shortage of workers in some industry’s.

For now, and the immediate future, we will have to contend ourselves with robots and mechanical devices that provide assistance with life and works more mundane and repetitive tasks.

Robots when they do arrive will bring with them many challenges. They will start and stop careers, industry’s and jobs. They will require us to grapple with the ethics and rights of robots and humans and make decisions that we have never had to make before as we learn to co-exist with machines.

The time to start these debates is now, for we are truly on the precipice of when not if as science fiction turns daily to robotic science fact.

Have a listen to the segment now…