Glimpses of the Future

Glimpses of the Future – April 2016

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Blood Pressure Readings From Wrist Prove Difficult

We’ve been waiting for two years for a “watch” from Apple or Samsung that can provide accurate blood pressure readings. Samsung even demonstrated its prototype Simband mid-2014 displaying a BP measurement.

The future of digital health depends on this vital measurement.

But now it emerges that it is proving almost impossible to get accurate and consistent measurements of BP from a wrist device. Read More

Glimpses of the Future – March 2016

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IBM’S Adoption Of Blockchain Secures Its Future

International Business Machines Inc. is becoming the biggest backer of the Blockchain technology that underpins the bitcoin digital currency.

In the coming year, IBM will begin testing its own variation on the transactional software known as Blockchain, aiming to simplify life for customers who lease IBM’s computer hardware, the company said.

IBM, in a bid to establish a new standard for Blockchain software expects to contribute computer code it developed to a free, open-source project called Hyperledger. Read More

Glimpses of the Future – February 2016

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Ford Believes Wearables Will Be Part Of In-Car Technology

Ford has announced the opening of a wearables research laboratory because it considers a relationship between wearables and driving have some kind of potential.

Following the mantra that “the connection between what you wear and what you drive is getting stronger”, Ford’s new Automotive Wearables Experience laboratory brings together a bunch of scientists and engineers to integrate wearable devices and vehicles. Read More

Glimpses of the Future – January 2016

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Tech Leaders Move To Keep AI Safe For Humanity

Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and other Silicon Valley heavyweights are set to pour $1bn into a new attempt to protect humanity from artificial intelligence, underscoring the unease with which many leading technologists view recent developments in AI.

The new company, OpenAI, will be a non-profit that conducts research, with the aim that “AI should be an extension of individual human wills”.

Concerns about the future powers of computers have been increasing, particularly as recent breakthroughs in “deep learning” have enabled computers better to recognise patterns and understand speech. Read More

Glimpses of the Future – December 2015

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Battery Breakthrough We’ve All Been Waiting For

A breakthrough in electro-chemistry at Cambridge university could lead the way to rechargeable super-batteries that pack five times more energy into a given space than today’s best batteries, greatly extending the range of electric vehicles (500 miles on a single charge) and potentially transforming the economics of electricity storage. Read More

Glimpses of the Future – November 2015

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Report Says Apple Car Due In 2019

Traditional car makers (and their suppliers) are seriously rattled by the idea that the likes of Apple and Google will soon be making cars. Now, a new report puts a date on when you can buy an Apple car: 2019.

The company already has a few thousand employees working on the Apple Car, including engineers from Tesla and GM, team managers. Test tracks have been created at former military bases.

It seems as though the Apple Car is ready to go from concept or project to prototype, seeing as test sites are being prepared and government discussion meetings are already on the way.

That Apple is discussing specifics about the Apple Car and its compliance with legislation certainly suggests the Cupertino-based company is further along with the development process than has been previously thought.

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Glimpses of the Future – October 2015

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The Robot You’re Not Allowed To Have Sex With

It may not have occurred to you to buy a robot for sex purposes, but the manufacturers of “Pepper” are so worried that you might, they have banned all such activity.

With 1,000 units set to go on sale in the U.S. later this month, Japanese telecom giant SoftBank has high hopes for its domestic robot, Pepper.

If the company wants to achieve its dream of a Pepper in every home, however, numerous ethical issues must be considered and overcome, one of which being the thorny matter of owners who attempt to treat their little robot like an altogether different kind of helping hand.

It seems that SoftBank is already trying to keep ahead of the curve, however, by clearly stating in its documentation for Pepper that sexual acts with the cheery robot are strictly prohibited.

Pepper is designed with artificial intelligence to make it the perfect household companion by reading you emotions and providing the appropriate small talk and/or encouragement when needed.

Will it report you if you try to ignore the rules? (Or will it go online to gossip about you?)

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Glimpses of the Future – September 2015

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Boeing Patents Amphibious Drone

Boeing has been given a patent for a new kind of amphibious drone that’s like something straight out of a classic spy movie.

The aeronautics giant has a novel design for an unmanned flying drone that can spontaneously convert into an unmanned submarine and go for a dive.

Boeing’s take on this real world “transformer” begins with a drone that is launched aboard a large carrier aircraft and then separated near its target spot for entering the water. When the craft hits the water, a combination of its rear wings, stabilizer and one of its sets of propelling blades folds away to make it more manoeuvrable underwater.

A buoyancy tank controls the depth of the craft underwater, while a second set of propellers are used for it to manoeuvre, allowing it to function essentially as other robotic submersibles at use today making payload deliveries or for reconnaissance missions.

When the amphibious drone surfaces, it can then transmit data back to its mission control.

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