Innovation Watch

By David Forrest | THE FUTURE IS HERE ...strategic foresight... ...breakthrough innovations... trends...

Breakthrough solar panel-battery hybrid captures and stores energy from the sun

What if future solar cells can capture and store solar energy at the same time? Researchers at Kogakuin University in Japan strive to do just. Their …

Renewable Energy

You Can’t Understand China’s Slowdown Without Understanding Supply Chains

The last few weeks have brought news of turmoil in China, including currency devaluations, an economic slowdown, and a stock market plunge. Most economists, including those at the the IMF, think it is premature to talk about an economic crisis. While I agree, I nonetheless believe that the slowdown …


A bridge to the future

Civil engineering: 3D printing technologies are being adapted for use by the construction industry to create buildings and other structures


3D Printing

CSAIL joins with Toyota on $25 million research center for autonomous cars

The World Health Organization estimates that 3,400 people die each day from traffic-related accidents. Could autonomous cars be part of the …


Meet GROOC: McGill's new online course has a group-learning twist

First came the MOOCs, referring to massive open online courses that offer free access to higher-education learning through the Internet. Now comes the GROOC: a group-based version of MOOCs developed and delivered by professors at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, including …


Alcoa makes a big bet on 3D printing

The aluminum giant is spending $60 million on a manufacturing center specializing in advanced 3D printing techniques and materials.

Aluminum giant Alcoa sees a big future in shaping metal with 3D printers.

The company said Thursday that it’s investing $60 million to create a manufacturing center …


How Car Companies Are Easing Consumers Into A Driverless Future

Look at a modern automobile, and then look at one from 80 years ago. Sure, the curves and overall design philosophies may have shifted, but by and large, they look a lot a like. Considering how much has changed under the hood, the fact that they are both recognizable as cars shows a remarkable …

Car Tech

Meet The Woman Who Wants To Grow Clothing In A Lab

Cultured couture

Fashion designers don’t usually give tours of biology laboratories, but on a rainy day this fall, deep in an industrial complex along the Brooklyn waterfront, Suzanne Lee guides me through the warren of labs that make up Modern Meadow. Lee recently joined the biotech start-up as its …


The Struggle To Define What Artificial Intelligence Actually Means

'Artificial' is the easy part

When we talk about artificial intelligence (AI) – which we have done lot recently, including my outline on The Conversation of liability and regulation issues – what do we actually mean?

AI experts and philosophers are beavering away on the issue. But having a usable …


Startup claims a breakthrough in brain-like computing on chips

Your move, IBM.

A small, Santa Fe, New Mexico-based company called Knowm claims it will soon begin commercializing a state-of-the-art technique for building computing chips that learn. Other companies, including HP HPQ and IBM IBM , have already invested in developing these so-called brain-based …


IBM just signed a brilliant deal with ARM to 'watch' billions of devices on the Internet

IBM has scored a sweet new partnership with ARM, the company best known for designing the chips that power our smartphones and tablets. This deal will let IBM's cloud watch and analyze data from billions of devices on the internet.

The Internet of Things is the trend of adding chips and sensors to …


Goodbye Moore's Law! Intel invests $50 million into quantum computing partnership

What would Gordon Moore say?

Intel, the chip giant, has committed $50 million and engineering resources as part of a 10-year partnership with a Dutch university to advance research in quantum computing. The partnership with Delft University of Technology and TNO, the Dutch Organization for Applied …

Quantum Computing

NASA: Rising Seas About to Catch Up With the West Coast

Rising Seas are about to become a bigger issue for the West Coast, according to scientists.Using satellite and other data, NASA scientists have been …

El Niño

Robots Lay Three Times as Many Bricks as Construction Workers

Creators of a new bricklaying robot say its purpose is to leverage human jobs, not entirely replace them. SAM and a human mason work together. SAM …


What Driverless Cars Mean for Today’s Automakers

The rumors have finally been confirmed: Apple is building its own autonomous car. With Apple’s entry, it’s clear. The automotive industry has opened up again. The manufacturers we’ve become so familiar with over the last century — Daimler, Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, and General Motors — aren’t …

Automotive Industry

Edenworks Is Building The Future Of Food On Urban Rooftops

Avocados from Mexico. Apples from Chile. Broccoli from China. If you take a look at the stickers on the produce you’re buying at the grocery store, chances are they’ll read something like this.

Fast-forward twenty years. Instead of driving to Whole Foods to pay top dollar for produce that was picked …


Japan is building a fully-automated indoor farm capable of producing 30,000 heads of lettuce per day

Japan’s Spread Vegetable Factory is working on a novel way of producing high quantities of lettuce using factory automation, reports the Wall Street …


Could diesel made from air help tackle climate change?

Making diesel out of thin air sounds like something from science fiction.

But small companies in Germany and Canada are doing precisely this - capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) and finding ways to sell it.

German company Sunfire produced its first batches of so-called e-diesel in April. Federal Minister …

Climate Change

Is a Cambrian Explosion Coming for Robotics?

Illustration: IEEE SpectrumThe author argues that when the growth of robot capabilities begins in earnest, it will likely be explosive—a Cambrian …


Breakthrough in 3D-printing? MIT unveils device molding 10 materials at once

A group of MIT scientists says they have developed the world’s first 3D-printer capable of making ready-to-use objects from 10 different materials at once. The new device, supplied with powerful software, boasts nearly human-free operation.

A research team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial …


Here's how much the world's forests could vanish by 2050

A new report about deforestation and climate change contains a dire warning: If the world continues along its business-as-usual path, an amount of tropical forest nearly equal to the size of India could be lost between 2016 and 2050.

The study, from the nonprofit research organization Center for …


IoT for food and water: Here’s what the future looks like


In the near future, IoT will drive tremendous innovation in the way our food is grown, processed, distributed, stored, and consumed. Plants and animals will literally have a “voice.” Not a human voice, per se, but a voice based on data that can tell people, computers, and machines when, for …


Oldest Human DNA Reveals Mysterious Branch of Humanity

The oldest known human DNA found yet reveals human evolution was even more confusing than thought, researchers say.

The DNA, which dates back some …


Administration developing sanctions against China over cyberespionage

The Obama administration is developing a package of unprecedented economic sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from their government’s cyber theft of valuable U.S. trade secrets.

The U.S. government has not yet decided whether to issue these sanctions, but a final …


The Future of Work: Who Will Thrive, and Who Will Not

(Photo: RioPatuca/Shutterstock)Predicting workforce trends in the United States is a hazardous business. Today, 40 percent of the GDP relies on …

The Future

5 ways technology is transforming finance

For decades, banks and insurers have employed the same relatively static, highly profitable business models. But today they find themselves …

Financial Technology

The algorithm that can learn to copy ANY artist

• Researchers trained their neural network to be able to work out what makes each artists style unique• 
They were able to feed each virtual 'artist' the

Artificial Intelligence

A manifesto for conscious cities: should streets be sensitive to our mental needs?

Picture yourself on a habitual walk through town, perhaps to work or a local grocery store. Consider how much thought has gone into planning the streets and spaces you pass on this journey to maximise its efficiency. For transit, a successful street is above all one that saves us time – or, in …


Modified bacteria work together in a living circuit

A living circuit made from multiple types of bacteria can prompt the bacteria to cooperate to change protein expression.

The subject of a new paper in …

Life Sciences