As promised we headed down to the O2 Arena in London this week for Campus Party. It’s the biggest gathering of tech-heads in Europe. Over 10,000 people visit the expo over the week.
And when you get to hear firsthand from people like Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland you understand what draws the large crowds. You get an appreciation for what the future might hold from the world’s smartest people.
The event brought together people from all over the world. We spoke with robotics guys from Italy, Czech Republic and Germany about their work. And also saw new technology on display from companies like Microsoft and Oculus Rift.
Rise of the Photch
Well folks, it’s arrived. Is it a phone? Is it a watch? No it’s a phone watch…a Photch. Well actually it is a watch, but also a phone, kind of.
Samsung unveiled the new ‘Galaxy Gear’ smartwatch on Wednesday night. On the face of it, Samsung has done a good job of making it look nice. But in reality we’re actually not that excited. From initial reports, it’s a slightly clunky interface that works in tandem with your phone. And the battery life is a day at best.
On the other hand this is now one of many smart watches to hit the market in the last couple of weeks. 2013 has unofficially become the year of the smartwatch.
Another smartwatch debuted on Wednesday night also. And this is the one we’re excited about…and for which we’ll be doing our best to get on the pre-order list. This smartwatch is from a company that’s never made a consumer device before. And it’s been kind of stealthy in the face of Samsung’s massive launch.
Qualcomm [NASDAQ:QCOM] has made microchips and hardware for mobile devices for years. But someone in the development team decided it was time to go it alone on this one.
They’ve launched the Toq Smartwatch to rival Samsung, Sony, Pebble and soon Apple. Considering they’re all customers of Qualcomm, it’s an interesting move. And one that could pay off handsomely for the company in the long term.
The thing about Qualcomm’s move into their own brand of devices is they might actually make a good go of it. If the Toq is anything to go by, Qualcomm has some nifty tricks up their sleeve.
The Toq will use Qualcomm’s proprietary wireless charging technology to keep it powered and a new type of e-ink style colour screen. Qualcomm call the display technology Mirasol. The technical aspect of it is ingenious but what it also means is glare free viewing and a sharp, slim watch face.
It’s all part of the wearable tech future we’ve described here and in Revolutionary Tech Investor. This is the idea that you’ll end up with more sensors (on devices, clothing and accessories) helping you to manage and control your day-to-day life.
For now these smartwatches represent the beginning of the wearable tech future. However it won’t be long before generations two, three and four come along. When that happens you’ll find even greater functionality and integration with everything that you do and use in your digital life.
The Breakthrough In Everlasting Life
Researchers from Massey University in New Zealand might have just cracked the mystery of the ageing process.
We’re talking about the possibility of treatment (a pill or an injection) to slow down the ageing process. We’ve said for some time that humankind is on the brink of medical breakthroughs like never before and this is another example.
Dr. Austen Ganley, part of a team led by world-renowned geneticist Dr. Takehiko Kobayashi, has published a new study of their results. They’ve managed to slow the ageing process through the genetic manipulation of yeast.
That’s right, they slowed down the aging process in yeast. Now you’d initially think (as we did) that of all things to get excited about, yeast wouldn’t be on the list. However the researchers are quick to point out a particular yeast gene is very similar to that in humans.
The Massey University website had this quote from Dr. Ganley about the similarities:
‘This work is exciting because it shows that rDNA instability is a new factor in aging.’
He then went on to say:
‘Because in humans there are seven Sirtuins (the equivalent of the Sir2 gene), and they all behave very differently to the yeast Sir2 gene. In contrast, the rDNA genes are very similar between yeast and humans, therefore rDNA gene instability may be the common factor in aging across life.’
What it all means is that when the researchers stabilised these rDNA genes they were able to delay the ageing process. The next hope is that this same technique of rDNA stabilisation will perform the same function on humans.
As scientists and researchers get a greater understanding of genetics we get a little closer to solving life’s great mysteries.
This breakthrough is another indication of the potential to live longer and healthier than ever before. Whether or not it’s something you’d actually do or take part in is another debate. But regardless of your stance on living considerably longer there’s no doubt the technology to achieve this will soon be available.
And when you’re 150 years old with the body of a 35 year old playing with your great, great grandkids, you’ll know where it all started.
Why The Best Energy Saving Program of the 21st Century is Driverless
Mercedes Benz said they had the tech to make the S-Class fully automated.
Elon Musk of Tesla Motors said he thinks we should have autopilot for cars. Musk just wants to clear up traffic congestion in L.A, so he’s all for driverless cars. Now the head of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, has said by 2020 Nissan will introduce Autonomous Drive.
We’ve also said 2013 might be the last year you drive your own car. And now with Carlos joining the party we won’t be far off the mark.
The simple truth is the technology to go driverless exists right now. It could be done there’s no question about that. But there’s one big hurdle that’s facing carmakers…government.
Government isn’t a technologically progressive beast by nature. So it’s a stretch to think they’d allow automated cars on the roads.
Here’s the problem, most people (and government) will look at the negatives of a situation. It’s a way to justify not wanting change. The questions that are thrown around when it comes to driverless cars are, ‘If we’re not in control who is?’And the most common one, ‘What about when it fails?’
It’s because of technology this conversation even exists. Thanks to car technology road tolls have fallen and will continue to fall. It’s tech like adaptive cruise control and pedestrian safety radars that make this happen.
You only need to look to companies like Volvo and Mercedes. These are pioneering car safety companies. And they’re the ones that will take care of the safety issues.
Once you get past that mental barrier of giving up control, the potential for auto cars is obvious. The benefits are huge in the shift to an all auto, all electric world of cars.
Efficiency is actually the biggest drawcard of going fully auto. Think about it like this, if you get to a destination just 10% more efficiently you make huge savings.
And then you multiply those savings by…81 million (number of new cars sold last year worldwide) then you get world changing benefits.
Let’s say you have an auto car. And over the space of a year your car emits 100kg less CO2.Worldwide that could be a total CO2 reduction of 8.1 million tons. And maybe you’ll use 1,000L less fuel. Well simple math says that’s a global fuel saving of 81 billion litres.
The energy pay-off of going ‘auto’ is immense. If all government is concerned about is the safety aspect of going ‘auto’, well aren’t they the fools. Because the energy benefits far exceed the safety concerns.
Part of the answer to the impending energy crisis is in being more efficient. It’s about reducing carbon emissions and using tech to be smarter. And it’s only through advanced technology like auto cars that we will make inroads to making a more energy efficient world.
Technology Analyst, Revolutionary Tech Investor