It has taken far longer than it should, but we are now finally seeing flexible polymer displays being forged into wrist watch straps, bendy and curvy phones.
Ian Pearson of international company Futurizon in Ipswich on the technologies of the future and the economic and social backdrop.
Visit: Futures Blog
Like most people, I look at the world around me and see huge disconnects between cultures. There is no final straw, but seeing the recent protest in Saudi Arabia by women against the ban on them driving cars pretty much sums up how much global difference there is in value sets. We generally assume our own is the right one.
I have blogged quite often about the potential for graphene. It is a wonderful new material, and best of all is a British discovery.
Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal mesh like chicken wire. It is hard to make in large quantity so is still expensive, but already its mechanical, electrical and chemical properties have been thoroughly measured. It impresses across the board.
Henry Markram, director of both the Blue Brain and the Human Brain Project at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, is working on a nice project that aims are to make a working replica of the brain by reverse engineering it.
Drones (autonomous flying vehicles), are becoming very routine equipment in warfare. They are also making market impacts in policing and sports. I first encountered them in 1981 when I started work in missile design.
A long time ago it occurred to me that if ink contained small particles that could hold digital information, a signature by pen on paper could act as a digital signature, too.There are lots of ways that particles small enough to be suspended in ink can hold data. But data storage is only one of several different potential uses.
Although I am definitely an engineer underneath, I’d be the first to accept that futurology is often more of an art, distinguishing the likely from the possible.
We are not very good at keeping things simple. Computers get ever more complex and power hungry, but it doesn't need to be that way.
It's getting interesting now, again. Not long ago, there was the bog standard PC in most homes and offices, running Windows, some Macs for those with a more arty streak, and a few IT enthusiasts running Linux.
There has been a lot of enthusiasm from train enthusiasts over the announcement of £9Bn investment over the next several years 'providing a modern railway for the 21st century'. I think what they really mean is 'forcing a continuation of a 20th century railway into the mid 21st century. It is an opportunity missed. I think the money could be much better spent.
There seems to be lots to worry about at the moment, but we'll get past it.
Tim Berners Lee recently raised concern that thanks to the spread of apps for newspaper delivery, more of the web is becoming inaccessible to search engines.
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- Augmented Reality: a virtual world of opportunity
- After Steve – the next four years
- Star Trek – 45 years of inspiring engineering
- Social networking and changing politics
- Active skin - Convergence of nano-bio-info-cogno technologies
- Top pay for top people
- Retail and Marketing Futures
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