Innovation Watch

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

Just a fraction of the world's oil supply isn't profitable at $35 a barrel

Oil prices are rebounding Friday after hitting a low not seen since 2003. But a new report suggests oil producers may not be hurting as much as the historically bad prices suggest.

The report, from the energy research firm Wood Mackenzie, says just 4% of the world's oil is unprofitable at $35 a …


Government Must Prepare for When Quantum Computers Can Crack Its Encryption

US lawmakers including Senator John McCain and Ted Lieu are attempting to undermine technology companies’ efforts to encrypt everyone’s communications, citing dangers to law enforcement. But that debate may be moot: Computers are getting so powerful that they will eventually be able to break any …


The latest innovation in renewable energy is an army of huge, sunken turbines in Scotland’s wild seas

Take a map of Great Britain and draw a line between its extremities. Far to the southwest is Land’s End. In the northeast corner, your pen will fall into the sea at the windswept tip of Scotland, not far from John o’Groats. That’s the future site of the world’s biggest array of tidal …


GPS tracking down to the centimeter: Technology will be used for high precision positioning in mobile devices, autonomous vehicles and related applications

The optimization will be used in the development of autonomous vehicles, improved aviation and naval navigation systems, and precision technologies. …

Scientific Research

These Terabit Satellites Will Bring Internet To The Remotest Places On Earth

The three new ViaSat-3s will deliver twice the combined network capacity of all the connected satellites in space.

The U.S.-based satellite company ViaSat has announced that it has teamed up with aerospace giant Boeing to create three new satellites that will bring high-speed Internet to the …


Online reading behavior predicts stock movements

Web surfing patterns as people read financial news can be used to make accurate predictions of stock movements from a few minutes to up to a couple …

Financial Technology

Top U.S. Intelligence Official Calls Gene Editing a WMD Threat

Genome editing is a weapon of mass destruction.That’s according to James Clapper, U.S. director of national intelligence, who on Tuesday, in the …


For $2,500 this company will lay out your entire genetic blueprint

The mapping of the human body's complete set of DNA — also known as whole genome sequencing — has been held up as a potential game-changer in healthcare.

The idea, backers say, is that by understanding more about your genetics, doctors can tailor treatments for ailments like cancer to each …


Leaked documents show Amazon is making a big play to bypass UPS and FedEx

Amazon's ambition to build a global shipping and logistics business seems to be much bigger than what most people thought, according to leaked documents discovered by Bloomberg's Spencer Soper.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg described internal documents from 2013 that laid out Amazon's plan to build up a …


US intelligence chief: we might use the internet of things to spy on you

The US intelligence chief has acknowledged for the first time that agencies might use a new generation of smart household devices to increase their surveillance capabilities.

As increasing numbers of devices connect to the internet and to one another, the so-called internet of things promises …


Exclusive: In boost to self-driving cars, U.S. tells Google computers can qualify as drivers

WASHINGTON/DETROIT (Reuters) - U.S. vehicle safety regulators have said the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver under federal law, a major step toward ultimately winning approval for autonomous vehicles on the roads.

The National Highway …


Homebrew biology kit brings synthetic biology to the masses

Ever wanted to create your own organism? It’s now easier than ever. Just take a dash of E. coli, a pinch of jellyfish DNA, stir well and heat gently. …


World's largest concentrated solar plant switches on in the Sahara

(CNN)Morocco has switched on what will be the world's largest concentrated solar power plant.

The new site near the city of Ouarzazate -- famous as a filming location for Hollywood blockbusters like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Gladiator" -- could produce enough energy to power over one million homes …


Leading authors press for Supreme Court review of Google's digitised library

JM Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Gladwell and Peter Carey are some of the major writers throwing their weight behind the US Authors Guild’s attempt to hold Google to account for its digitisation of millions of in-copyright works.

The case dates back to 2005, when Google first began to digitise …


AI's Biggest Danger Is So Subtle, You Might Not Even Notice It

What happens when artificial intelligence that helps us make decisions is so commonplace, we become dependent on it?

The rise of artificial intelligence has been met with reactionary fears of robots taking over. We’ve all seen the movies. What’s left out of this conversation is a more practical …

Artificial Intelligence

Twice the size of Burj Khalifa: Mile-high tower proposed as centerpiece of future Tokyo (PHOTOS)

© / FreeArchitects want to build a mile-high skyscraper in the Japanese city of Tokyo, two times the size of the world’s current

Burj Khalifa

Switzerland Will Hold The World's First Universal Basic Income Referendum

What if everyone got a guaranteed $2,500 check every month? How would society change?

The idea of giving everyone in society free money—a universal basic income—has been getting a lot of attention recently. The Finnish government is planning a big experiment, where up to 100,000 people could get …


NASA About To Put Finishing Touches On The Most Powerful Telescope Ever

The telescope will help reveal new solar systems capable of supporting life.

The successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is one step closer to completion. NASA has announced that they’ve just placed the 18th and final mirror segment into the array of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The …


Why These Big Companies Want a New 3D File Format

The likes of Microsoft, GE, and HP want a new file format to streamline 3D manufacturing.

Despite an anemic 2015 in the 3D printing world, economic predictions for the industry’s overall growth remain bright. But in the eyes of large businesses with a stake in the expansion of the 3D printing market …


Why Millennials And Governments Must Prepare For The Industries Of The Future Today

The world’s economy may look drastically different in the next 20 years. Industries being built today–from robot caregivers to digital money–are creating new jobs and opportunities. In his book, The Industries of the Future, innovation expert and former advisor to past Sec. of State Hillary …

The Future

The Developing World Can Leapfrog Dirty Coal And Go Straight To Clean Energy

Why should the whole world have to repeat our mistakes?

When solar farms in sub-Saharan Africa start to become more common than coal-fired power plants, it is time for the rest of the world to take notice. The clean energy revolution is happening right now under our feet.

The rapidly unfolding energy …


These bionic legs are so light, paraplegics can wear them under clothing

It takes just 26 pounds of hardware to get Steven Sanchez walking again. He lost the use of his legs more than a decade ago in a BMX biking accident. Now Sanchez serves as test pilot for an innovative, lightweight exoskeleton from SuitX called Phoenix.

Unveiled on Monday, the wearable robot is the …


The new Y Combinator: Inside the world's hottest startup factory as it tries to scale from 200 to 2,000 companies a year

After 10 years of teaching startups to find product-market fit then grow like crazy, Y Combinator is finally following its own playbook.

When the famous Silicon Valley accelerator began in 2005, it was just that: a prestigious three month program known for pumping out 100 companies every batch.

It …


Winning Hyperloop design revealed by MIT engineers

Designs for passenger pods that could travel through airless tubes have been revealed by a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Hyperloop is a conceptual transport system in which passenger pods could be fired through vacuum tubes at more than 600mph (1,000km/h).

The MIT team came …


In New Anti-Aging Strategy, Clearing Out Old Cells Increases Life Span of Mice by 25 Percent

Can removing old, tired-out cells extend an animal’s life span?That’s is the conclusion of first-of-a-kind study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, …


Luxembourg wants to mine asteroids for minerals with the help of Google's Larry Page

Luxembourg is planning to go into space to mine minerals from asteroids — and it will get help from Google founder Larry Page.

Luxemburger Wort, one of the country's newspapers, reported that Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg's deputy prime minister and minister of the economy, said the government would …


Report: Amazon To Open Hundreds Of Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores

After putting booksellers out of business, Amazon is set to open its own retail chain.

Amazon, the online retailer that killed off so many independent bookshops, is getting ready to launch its own brick-and-mortar book chain. According to the Wall Street Journal, the CEO of a major mall operator, …


When Robots Take Over, Y Combinator Says, We'll Just Give Everyone Money

Could a minimum income -- giving everybody enough money for basic needs, without requiring anything in return -- boost entrepreneurship?

Say the robots really do take over -- or at least take over many, many more of our jobs.

In that case, Y Combinator president Sam Altman wants us to be prepared. In …


A Nearly All-Robot Farm To Sprout In 2017

Robots will help grow and pick.

The next frontier for robots could be farms.

A Japanese agriculture technology company called SPREAD said on Monday that it plans to open a big, robot-run lettuce farm by mid-2017. The farm will use robots to handle almost every farming task related to growing and …