Innovation Watch

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

Toyota Announces Major Push Into AI and Robotics, Wants Cars That Never Crash

Photo-montage: IEEE Spectrum; Photos: ToyotaFrom left: iRoad, the three-wheeled electric concept that Toyota is testing in some cities; the Human …

Robots

The Dawning of the Age of Flex Labor

The prevailing paradigm of people working as full-time employees for a single organization has outlived its usefulness. It produces excess volatility over the business cycle, resulting in measurable economic costs — both to people and to the companies they work for.

Our vision is straightforward: …

Employment

Dutch architect envisions self-sufficient desert cities constructed from salt

A brilliant new building material designed by a recent architecture graduate of TU Delft could solve several pressing environmental challenges at …

Architecture

Fewer than 50% of CEOs say Paris deal would make them act on climate change

Fewer than half (46%) of the chief executives of the world’s largest companies say a binding agreement on climate change at the UN’s climate summit in Paris will push them to prioritise the issue, according to new research by PwC.

The firm polled 142 international business leaders on the business …

Climate Change

$100 in supplies can now make tens of thousands CRISPR gene editing units

crispr, economic impact, future, genes, genetic engineering, medicine, RNA, science

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University of California, …

DNA

Top 10 Implantable Wearables Soon To Be In Your Body

Wearables. A growing trend with very soon to have their “moment in the sun” but I am a firm believer that wearable technology is simply a transition …

Cyborgs

Breakthrough transparent battery 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 …

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 …

Asia

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

INDUSTRY …

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 …

MIT

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 …

Learning

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 …

Nanotech

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 …

Clothing

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 …

Intelligence

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 …

Startups

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 …

IBM

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 …

Robots

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 …

Food

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 …

Lettuce

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 …

Robots

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 …

MIT

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 …

Environment

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

GUEST:

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 …

Agriculture

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 …

DNA