Posts Tagged ‘future technology’

The printed future of Christmas dinner

24 Dec

Much as I love Christmas and all of the festive traditions I have to admit that the thought of cooking Christmas dinner always fills me with dread. There has to be a better way of spending Christmas morning that peeling sprouts and washing out the innards of a turkey whilst the rest of the family sit watching comedy reruns on TV.

Well for those of you who also wish you had a bit more R&R time on Christmas morning then if US scientists have their way all you might need to do in the future is sit by your new 3D food printer and wait for it to create a full roast turkey dish with all of the trimmings.

The scientists tell us that most ingredients might be available as raw food inks and the most cooking skill that will be required is to load the recipie or ‘FabApp’ and let the printer do all of the preperation for you.

I wonder what the chances are of it being ready in time for next year’s celebrations!

An interesting story to bring up in class when talking about output devices or technology developments in the future.

Read the full story here

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Posted in New technology, Output devices


Google ponders on the social Internet

19 Oct

The search giant Google is recognising a new trend on the Internet, namely that people tend to ask their online friends for advice rather than look to a search engine. For the first time according to comScore, people spent more time on Facebook than on Google sites.

The problem for Google is that fundamentally what really matters to advertisers is how many people see their ads, wherever people gather, that is where the money is going to be.

Read here for the New York Times article

For example, they turn to their Facebook friends and ask questions such as ‘Can you recommend a good baby sitter” or “I fancy going to a new restaurant – any recommendations?”.

You can see how difficult this kind of question can be for a search engine because it involves a value judgement and local knowledge.

This is an interesting case study of how people change the way they use technology and suddenly the market leader has to change the way they do things – can they do that or is the culture too ingrained to be able to change? Time will tell.

So is this the new trend? Will Facebook become the new search engine for complex questions?

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Posted in Internet, Marketing, Social networking


Will physical and virtual life blur?

12 Oct

I was recently pondering the further blurring of the line between our life in the physical domain and our life online. Is there a distinction any more? Is an online friend whom you have never met any less valid than your best buddy?

Back in the day (around the 1980′s) I was exploring this thing called the Internet with a Hayes smartmodem running at 300 baud. At the time there was CompuServe providing a walled garden online experience and in the wilds you could visit text based bulletin boards. I could even indulge in a bit of text based MUDs for entertainment and some creative of ASCII art to fulfil the artist in me.

So at that time there was a clear on-line / off line life. Then two decades or so later there was ‘cyber’ this and ‘e-’ that cropping up in the media, which is now starting to sound quaint, like your old uncle calling the DAB radio in the kitchen a ‘wireless’.

Wind forward to today and it is a completely different ball game. Milllions are happily playing on-line, perhaps connected to a World of Warcraft server and a real-time audio server such as Ventrillo so a group of you can chat away for a bit of escapism and goblin bashing.

Even politicians are recognising that the internet is becoming as vital as water as a basic resource. And they have a point. I was recently unable to go online at home due to a wonky telephone connection and it was not a pleasant experience. No banking, no gaming, no social networking, no blogging, no research. I even had to dig out my old CDs from the attic as the music service streaming into my living room no longer worked.

Hollywood are also recognising the concept with its recent Bruce Willis film Surrogates where they reverse the concept of avatar and physical presence.

Let’s move on a few years when I think the lines will blur even more. Consider augmented reality. Devices will be available that overlay on-line data with what you see.

In a recent BBC interview with the SF author William Gibson opined that our grandchildren will see no distinction between on-line and off-line. He has a point.


Sony reveals plans for a 16m pixel camera phone

08 Oct

Sony have proclaimed the world’s first 16 Megapixel camera sensor to be launched in a product in 2011. This will allow a mobile phone to shoot 1080p HD video for the first time.

Technology just keeps on marching on it seems. However is there a point at which adding more features gives you less and less advantage. Do we need HD video on a mobile phone? Will the memory now have to increase to cope with the larger file size?  Will file transfers be that much slower? Internet uploads are still slow, so will this make it even slower to upload video to online sites such as YouTube?

An useful article to discuss the relevance of new technology in gadgets that may be already ‘good enough’.

Mind you, I will probably be in the queue to get one!

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Posted in Digital images, Mobile phones, New technology


A new tablet computer hits the shops.

06 Oct

Tablets are still hot items and there are quite a few new entries into this sector. A surprising one perhaps comes from Next the fashion store. BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones had a go and was surprised by what he found.

Useful item for discussion about the new tablet computers when discussing hardware devices, this is also an interesting example of how competitors enter a new technology sector – the one who does it first has only a short advantage before others come along.

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Posted in Communication, Hardware


Bionic eye gives blind man sight

08 Mar


It is hard to imagine losing your sight and then being totally blind for 30 years.  Doing even the simplest of tasks, such as matching your socks, becomes a daily problem to tackle.

However, there is now hope for the 25,000 people in the UK who have lost their sight through a degenerative disease called retinitis pigmentosa.  A company called Second Sight have been developing bionic eyes which help to restore partial vision.  Although the new technology is still undergoing trials, three people in the UK have been fitted with a ‘bionic eye’ at London’s Moorfield’s eye hospital.

Read the full news story here

Suggestions for use in class and questions for students (subscription only)

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Posted in Disability