Innovation Watch

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

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 …

Switzerland

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 …

NASA

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 …

Fabrication

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 …

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 …

Robots

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 …

YCombinator

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 …

Hyperloop

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, …

Biology

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 …

NASA

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, …

Amazon

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 …

YCombinator

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 …

Robots

Are we heading towards a cashless economy?

This article is published in collaboration with The Conversation.

Ever since computers were first introduced into the retail banking system in the …

Economics

Saudi Arabia's 3,000-foot-tall skyscraper will have the world's highest observation deck

Rising to a staggering 3,281 feet tall, Saudi Arabia's Jeddah Tower could one day set a world record as the tallest skyscraper on Earth. It will also have the world's tallest observation deck.

Located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, it's the brainchild of SWA Architects, the same firm behind the current …

Architecture

Google AI in landmark victory over Go grandmaster

When Gary Kasparov lost to chess computer Deep Blue in 1997, IBM marked a milestone in the history of artificial intelligence. On Wednesday, in a research paper released in Nature, Google earned its own position in the history books, with the announcement that its subsidiary DeepMind has built a …

Artificial Intelligence

The Antipode: Flying from New York to London in 11 minutes

(CNN)Remember the Skreemr, a concept for a supersonic plane that could travel at Mach 10?

Scratch that, there's now a design for a plane that could cruise from London to New York in 11 minutes, traveling at Mach 24 -- that's 12 times faster than the Concorde!

Charles Bombardier, the industrial …

Aviation

‘I’m almost giddy’: Scientists open the ‘black box’ of schizophrenia with dramatic genetic finding

For the first time, scientists have pinned down a molecular process in the brain that helps to trigger schizophrenia. The researchers involved in the …

Genetics

The one technology that I think could kill the iPhone

Apple is truly the iPhone company right now. But that could change soon.

The iPhone business accounts for a whopping 68% of Apple's total revenue, which should frighten Apple just a little bit. If something happens to the iPhone — rival phones get better, or a better mobile technology comes around — …

iPhone

Nanowire discovery may lead to better, cheaper solar cells

Scientists found an easier way to grow thousands of tiny, identical wires.

Scientists have figured out a standardized way to make nanowires out of perovskite, a material that could one day make solar energy cheap and ubiquitous. Just a few years ago, cells made from the relatively inexpensive …

Energy

Artificial Intelligence Is Going to Make the World 'Thrive'

It’s time to stop worrying about our robot overlords, says a top AI researcher.

Hollywood loves to give us stories of super-intelligent robots running wild with their orders. And we love to watch these stories. If artificial intelligence (AI) worked like it does in the popular imagination, a robot …

Intelligence

Harvard is trying to build an AI as fast as the human brain

Harvard University has been awarded $28 million (£19m) to investigate why brains are so much better at learning and retaining information than artificial intelligence. The award, from the Intelligence Advanced Projects Activity (IARPA), could help make AI systems faster, smarter and more like human …

Artificial Intelligence

Fintechs — a 'shoal of piranhas' — have forced banks to switch from 'compete to collaborate'

Financial technology — commonly known as fintech — is not only transforming the way consumers operate, is also a huge threat to the traditional banking industry.

Think about TransferWise, one of the few British tech unicorns (private companies worth over $1 billion), and PayPal when it comes to …

Banking

Microgrids Might Be Ready for the Big City

A new study shows they’re capable of meeting real-world power needs.

The energy grid is changing. Cables laid down years ago have served us well, but they’re struggling to keep up with millions of new customers and their expanding use of electronics. They’re also vulnerable to disruptions, like a …

Energy

William McDonough Unveils ICEhouse™, The Next Step in the Circular Economy

© Bertram Radelow, courtesy of William McDonough + PartnersDesigner William McDonough has unveiled the next step in cradle-to-cradle manufacturing: …

Circular Economy

First materials to be woven at the atomic and molecular levels created

COFs and their cousin materials, metal organic frameworks (MOFs), are porous three-dimensional crystals with extraordinarily large internal surface …

Chemistry

The Algorithm Economy Will Start a Huge Wave of Innovation

Several analytical vendors have recently opened algorithm marketplaces that enable algorithms or code snippets to be bought and sold. These …

As Oil Prices Gyrate, Underlying Trends Are Shifting To Oil's Disadvantage

Why should equity markets tank when oil prices do? Beats me. Among many sources of jitters, this shouldn’t be a big one. When oil prices fall 70+ percent, oil companies and their lenders and investors suffer, so do oil-dependent communities, but oil users (far more numerous) rejoice and respend. …

Energy

The Current State of Machine Intelligence

(The 2016 Machine Intelligence landscape and post can be found here)

I spent the last three months learning about every artificial intelligence, …

Intelligence