Innovation Watch

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

Why You Should Pay Attention to DARPA’s New Robotics Award

This year, DARPA held the finals for its Robotics Competition, in which teams built humanoid robots designed to complete basic tasks like walking, driving, and opening doors. And with that, the competition concluded, and we were sad.

But this year, DARPA has announced a new initiative, called …


Chicago’s ‘Array of Things’ Takes Another Step Towards Reality

Last year the city announced it would be getting an urban fitness tracker: the Array of Things, a network of sensors that could monitor everything …

What can a technologist do about climate change? A personal view.

Obviously I think this approach is important, and I urge you to pursue it if it speaks to you.

At the same time, I’m also happy to endorse Julia …

Climate Change

The Latest Breakthrough In Understanding Diabetes Was Made By An Algorithm

Researchers now believe there are three different kinds of type 2 diabetes—a result discovered with help from machines combing through reams of medical data.

With the cost to sequence a human genome dropping by the day and medical records finally going digital, public health experts are excited for …


Jeff Bezos sends rocket to space and back: See photos of the mission

Jeff Bezos

China wants to build a high-speed rail link to a newly open Iran

China Railway, the state-owned rail-building behemoth, has proposed a high-speed rail link that will carry both passengers and cargo between China and Iran, according to the state-controlled China Daily.

The proposed route, put forward last week at a meeting of the China Civil Engineering Society, …


Moroccan solar plant to bring energy to a million people

A giant plant using energy from the Sun to power a Moroccan city at night will open next month.

The solar thermal plant at Ouarzazate will harness the Sun's warmth to melt salt, which will hold its heat to generate energy in the evening.

The first phase will generate for three hours after dark; the …


Home values are pointing to a sharp wealth divide in major US cities

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's still possible in Boston for a mail carrier, an accountant and a Harvard-trained psychiatrist — basically, the crowd from "Cheers" — to live as neighbors.

That finding by the real estate brokerage Redfin makes the capital of Massachusetts a rarity at a time when neighborhoods …


More than half of the Amazon’s tree species may be threatened with extinction

The Amazon is losing its vast expanse of green, bit by bit. By 2013, the Amazonia — originally spread over nearly six million square kilometers — …


India's Energy Crisis

Can India modernize its manufacturing economy and supply electricity to its growing population without relying heavily on coal—and quite possibly …


Welcome To Brain Science's Next Frontier: Virtual Reality

Amy Robinson, executive director at the startup EyeWire, is making neuroscience into a playground for the hot tech du jour.

Virtual reality is here, and brands of all stripes are embracing the tech. The New York Times and Google newly partnered to send more than 1 million cardboard VR viewers to …

Life Sciences

The Doomsday Invention

Will artificial intelligence bring us utopia or destruction?

I. Omens

Last year, a curious nonfiction book became a Times best-seller: a dense meditation on artificial intelligence by the philosopher Nick Bostrom, who holds an appointment at Oxford. Titled “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, …


Cheap DNA Sequencing Is Here. Writing DNA Is Next

A new startup wants to make DNA writing cheaper and faster.The post Cheap DNA Sequencing Is Here. Writing DNA Is Next appeared first on WIRED.


There’s now a debit card that lets you spend bitcoin in stores without a fee

Bitcoin has a problem: It’s hard to use in the real world. Not many merchants know about the digital currency, let alone accept it as a form of payment.

Coinbase, a bitcoin startup backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and ex-CitiGroup CEO Vikram Pandit, among others, is trying to solve …


Welcome to Somerville, the Smart City Where Traffic Vanishes and Cars Park Themselves

The notion of smart cities has been high on the agendas of strategic planners and architects for some time, with a continual cascade of speculation as to how emerging technologies can be harnessed to create the optimum urban environment. From city sensors and apps to drones and driverless cars, we …


Two tech billionaires just interviewed each other in my Stanford class — here's what they said

Here is an essay version of my class notes from Class 18 of Stanford University’s CS183C — Technology-enabled Blitzscaling — taught by Reid Hoffman, John Lilly, Chris Yeh, and Allen Blue.

Errors and omissions are my own. Credit for good stuff is Reid, John, Chris Yeh, and Allen’s entirely.

This class …


In a First, the FDA Clears Genetically Modified Salmon for Eating—It Just Took 20 Years

For the first time in history, a genetically modified organism is declared safe to eat. It's a salmon.The post In a First, the FDA Clears Genetically …


139 Countries Could Get All of their Power from Renewable Sources

Energy from wind, water and sun would eliminate nuclear and fossil fuels


Inside Faraday Future, the secretive car company chasing Tesla

Inside a suburban Los Angeles industrial building that once served as an R&D facility for Japanese automotive giant Nissan, natural midday light spills through the windows. Today, a very different company occupies this space. I arrive at lunchtime. It's catered, in true startup fashion — there’s no …


Is the world on the brink of a ‘post-antibiotic’ age?

The world may be teetering on the edge of a “post-antibiotic” era, according to scientists who have found bacteria in China that are resistant to …


The Auto Industry Won’t Create The Future

In the collision between consumer technology, cloud computing and cars, the legacy auto companies are lacking key ingredients for the future of the …


Retailers may soon use your cell phone to follow you around in their stores

Last winter, I contemplated purchasing a particular pair of leather boots for months before pulling the trigger. After I checked them out on at least two different websites to compare prices, they started to appear in ads all over my screen, stalking me with me promotional ads, and eventually a …

Big Data

Australia Just Stopped China Buying a Farm the Size of Kentucky

Landmark decision in the ongoing tussle between the need for investment and concerns over foreign ownership.

You can have too much foreign investment, it seems.

The Australian government Thursday blocked the sale of a portfolio of farmland the size of Kentucky to Chinese investors on national …


Move Over, Jony Ive—Biologists Are the Next Rock Star Designers

Biologists have begun thinking and acting like designers, and they're working with one of the most powerful substrates imaginable: life.The post Move …


The Vicious Cycle Emerging Between War and Severe Weather Will Be Hard To Stop

The world has changed a lot in the past 12 months, with political conflict focusing the world on immediate crises, not the distant future. But a …

International Relations

The innovative delivery system transforming Gothenburg's roads

“I call it the rolling deckchair,” says Johan Erlandsson as his six-wheeled cargo bike, the Velove Armadillo, glides down the cobbled pedestrian streets of central Gothenburg. Stretching 14ft long but only 34 inches wide, the sleek machine is crafted from red-coated aluminium with a pedal-assisted …


Taxi owners sue New York City as Uber 'eviscerates' their industry

New York taxi owners and the lenders behind some of them are suing New York City and its Taxi and Limousine Commission, saying the proliferation of Uber is destroying their businesses and threatening their livelihoods.

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court accuses the defendants of violating …

New York City

Climate change and cities: a prime source of problems, yet key to a solution

Cities are home to half the world’s population and produce around 75% of the world’s GDP and greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, between 65% and 75% of the world population is projected to be living in cities, with more than 40 million people moving to cities each year. That’s around 3.5 billion …


Space Mining Bill Passes In Congress

Now it's up to President Obama to decide whether Earth businesses can own pieces of asteroids

According to international treaties, no country is allowed to own things like moons or asteroids. But what about a company?

A new bill would allow space mining companies to own pieces of space. Although they …

Space Travel