Innovation Watch

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

Predicting the Future of Robotics

In 1994, Dante II, a 1,700 pound robot built by Carnegie Mellon and NASA, rappelled into the volcano of Mt. Spurr at the rate of one centimeter per …

The Future

Walmart has a smart new ploy to reduce rampant food waste: Selling ugly produce

After decades of US lawmakers passing up opportunities to fight food waste on a national level, a concerted effort is beginning to emerge from parts of the private sector instead.<p>The front lines: Expiration-date labels and lumpy potatoes.<p>That Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is involved in …

The assimilation of robots into the workforce as peers, not replacements

One might ask why we would ever want to create robots that can do human work when we have so many people who need jobs. The goal of robotics should not be to replace humans with robots, but rather to improve productivity and safety, removing humans from harm’s way and enabling them to focus on …

Artificial Intelligence

It has the potential to change millions of lives - so what is the 'digital grid'?

When I was first asked to write about ‘green energy’ ahead of President Obama’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2016, I was debating whether I …

Environment

Six Ways Drones Are Revolutionizing Agriculture

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—better known as drones—have been used commercially since the early 1980s. Today, however, practical applications for …

Agriculture

Cheap and clean: Australian company creates hydrogen with near-zero emissions

An Australian company is using “cheap as dirt” iron ore to convert methane in natural gas into hydrogen. Importantly, their process generates near-zero emissions, as the carbon content of the gas is captured in the form of high-quality graphite.<p>As a clean-burning fuel, hydrogen could play a key …

Energy

China seeks top-10 automation ranking by 2020: robot industry group

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - China is aiming for a top-10 ranking in automation for its industries by 2020 by putting more robots in its factories, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) said.<p>China's push to modernize its manufacturing with robotics is partly a response to labor shortages and …

Asia

Facebook’s terrifying internet drone has made its maiden voyage

Facebook wants to bring internet to the most remote parts of the world, and the first part of its plan to do so has taken flight. A massive, foreboding wing-shaped drone, nicknamed Project Aquila, recently completed its first test flight in Arizona, Facebook announced today.<p>Nearly a year ago, …

Drones

This floating underwater tunnel in Norway could save half a day in travel time

Norwegians treasure their beloved fjords — and at 1,190 in total, there are plenty to love — but the giant bodies of water pose serious hurdles to traveling across the country, especially when roads are icy in the winter. Journeys that should take hours end up taking upwards of a day, all because …

Travel

The Coal Industry Collapsed—Is Oil Next?

The major oil companies don't seem at all prepared for what's about to hit them. Investors should be worried.<p>Five years ago, if you had asked someone in the coal industry about the future, they would have predicted growth—and ignored a nonprofit report arguing that the industry was likely to …

Energy

Macy’s has launched an in-store AI assistant powered by IBM’s Watson

The new assistant is called "Macy's On Call" and comes in the form of a mobile web app users can access on their smartphone. <b>The assistant, which is powered by IBM's Watson AI, allows shoppers in specific Macy's stores to input natural language questions regarding the store's product assortment,</b> …

IBM

Plan to Bury Greenhouse Gases in North Sea May Be Europe's 'Best Hope'

Energy companies aren’t sure what to do<p>A scheme to collect millions of tons of greenhouse gases and bury them under the North Sea off the coast of Rotterdam is Europe’s best hope of showing it can make carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology work.<p>Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, is the home to …

Global Perspectives

Google's DeepMind trains AI to cut its energy bills by 40%

The AI firm used machine learning to reduce electricity use in its data centres<p>Google has created artificial intelligence that's able to save the amount of electricity it uses to power its data centres.<p>Using machine learning developed by the firm's AI research company, DeepMind, it was possible to …

Google

2016 Is Breaking All Kinds of Climate Records, and It’s Only Half Over | Motherboard

2016 is only half over, and already two big indicators of climate change (global surface temperatures, and the diminishing extent of Arctic sea ice) are smashing record after record, NASA scientists said on Tuesday in a press conference.<p>It’s a troubling trend that’s hitting home in many parts of …

Climate

China’s One Belt, One Road: Will it reshape global trade?

One of the biggest stories in Asian business is China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, an economic and diplomatic program that could transform</b> …

Asia

3 Things That Pokémon Go Says About the Future of Technology

It's a worldwide phenomenon<p>It is hard to think of another app that has reached such high levels of awareness only a little over a week after its release. <i>Pokémon Go</i> is all the rage. All you need to do is spend any time in a public location to see herds of people walking around hunting for Pokémon. …

Augmented Reality

Norway Just Banned Deforestation

Norway is the first country to adopt a ban on deforestation, a policy that will likely have global effects. The Norwegian parliament recently committed to a deforestation-free supply chain of goods coming into the country. Norway is not, however, new to putting large sums of money to stop …

Deforestation

As Pokémon Go Evolves, Businesses Are Squeezing Themselves In

Pokémon Go has taken over everything, everywhere. At least it feels like it has. People are scrambling to make the most of the mobile game's extraordinary popularity.<p>It's only been out a week, but Pokémon Go is making more money than a Meowth using Pay Day.<p>According to Fortune, as of Thursday the …

Mobile

Robot factories could threaten jobs of millions of garment workers

The jobs of nearly 90% of garment and footwear workers in Cambodia and Vietnam are at risk from automated assembly lines – or “sewbots” – according to a new report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO).<p>There are 9 million people, mostly young women, dependent upon jobs in textiles, …

Clothing

How Will Pokémon Go Affect the Future of App Development?

Pokémon Go is a bona fide phenomenon. If someone would have told me six months ago that Pokémon Go would become a breakout sensation that fundamentally changes how we use technology to interact with our environments, I would have laughed. Today, I'm starting to believe it.<p>Despite a handful of …

Augmented Reality

Immersion is going to be immense

Pokémon; Macbeth; the Illuminati. Those may not sound like they have a lot in common, but they exemplify the three whole new forms of technology-driven entertainment that have erupted in recent years. We’ll soon combine all three–and, eventually, use them to create whole new multi-faceted immersive …

Augmented Reality

The Death of the Middle Class Is Staggeringly Worse

According to new research from McKinsey<p>From Brexit to Donald Trump, if there’s anything that current events tell us, it’s that the man on the street is angry and wants change.<p>A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, with the chilling title “Poorer than their Parents: Flat or Falling Incomes …

Middle class

Platoons of self-driving trucks are one rule change away from being legal in the UK

Efforts to make self-driving vehicles commonplace don’t just come down to automotive technology. They also will require changing the rules that govern the roads.<p>The latter is a focus now in the UK, where the government has proposed regulatory changes that would smooth the way for a form of …

Driving

The SwagBot is an all-terrain robot that will soon be running the farm

Sorry, Lassie. Your days as a farmer's best friend may be numbered.<p>Salah Sukkarieh, a professor of robotics at Sydney University, is the project lead for agricultural robotics at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR). The ACFR, which hosts around 130 researchers and engineers, builds …

Australia

Helsinki Wants To Eliminate The Need For Car Ownership By 2025

Here's how they're going to do it.<p>Helsinki has an audacious goal: By 2025, it plans to eliminate the need for any city resident to own a private car. The idea is to combine public and private transport providers so citizens can assemble the fastest or cheapest mode of travel. "The city’s role is to …

Helsinki

This 250-tonne monster digger scours the ocean depths for gold

The mammoth digger will be put to work 1,600 metres beneath the Pacific Ocean<p>Forget scouring the sea floor for shipwrecks. Nautilus Minerals is after more abundant oceanic treasure - and it has three mammoth machines to help.<p>"Mineral deposits found on the sea floor - copper, nickel, cobalt, gold …

Oceans

New graphene device could revolutionise IoT

Is there anything graphene can’t improve? New research into the wonder material has led to the development of a device that aims to drastically …

Graphene

China’s Global Reputation Hinges on Upcoming South China Sea Court Decision

The case is viewed as a litmus test of how an increasingly assertive power will engage with other nations and contend with the arm of international law<p>Few people noticed on a wintry day in the Netherlands when the Philippines submitted a 20-page document for an arbitration case against China. After …

Chinese law

What Wall Street’s Obsession With Blockchain Means for the Future of Banking

And your wallet<p><i>Howard Yu</i> <i>is professor of strategic management and innovation at IMD. He specializes in technological innovation, strategic transformation and change management. In 2015 Professor Yu was featured in Poets & Quants as one of the Best 40 Under 40 Professors. He received his doctoral</i> …

Banking