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Future Tech Blog

A Contactless Sensor that can Read Your Mind

Top CES 2017 Innovations – Imagine how cool it would be to control machines, gadgets and other interfaces with just your thoughts. No longer in the realm of science fiction, this device is real. Freer Logic has come up with is a set of contactless EEG/ECD sensors that can read and monitor brain activities of people without having a device on them using neuro-bio monitoring technology.

Self-Repairing Cities

In this video interview, Futurist Shara Evans is speaking with Prof Robert Richardson at the University of Leeds about an audacious project to use robots for automated repairs of city infrastructure. The vision is a self-repairing city, with all kinds of small specially designed robots undertaking city maintenance tasks — catching problems at an early stage. The concept of using small robots for exploration isn’t new to Rob and his team — they’ve also designed robots that have explored the Great Pyramids of Giza, discovering writing in the Great Pyramid that was hidden for thousands of years.

The latest trends in Digital Signage

In this blog post we check out the latest display products at the Integrate show, and share our near term predictions for the digital signage space.

There were some really cool interactive digital displays at the show including a holographic system. Check out videos from the show floor.

Looking at the Latest Advances in Virtual Reality

Scott O’Brien (Humense) is a pioneer in the fields of augmented and virtual reality. He’s working on a new project – generating ultra-high definition virtual reality scenes. In this blog post we visit Humense’s lab environment for an early look at an 8K VR projection.

VR has lots of potential commercial uses. Right now though, one of the biggest drawbacks of VR as a business tool is the clunkiness of VR headsets.


Last December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics quietly announced a major change to the way the 2016 Census would be conducted – making it mandatory for people to include their name and address, along with highly sensitive personal information about their household income and habits. A number of people, myself included, raised red flags about this massive breach of privacy.

IBM Watson: Commercialising the Latest Advances in Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has been around for a very long time with initial work beginning back as far as the 1950s and 1960s. In more recent times, with the explosion in the amount of data available, expert systems now have a lot more information to be able to work with, and a lot more opportunities to become useful as well. As a result, we’re starting to see AI being deployed for mainstream business applications.

IBM Watson has been an early leader in this space, and continues to roll out innovative applications.

In this Future Tech interview we talk with Jason Leonard, the Watson Business Leader for IBM across Asia Pacific, GCG & Japan about machine intelligence and the many industries where Watson is being deployed around the world.

Cloud-based Spectroscopy — Analysing What We Eat

It’s impossible to know exactly what’s in the food you’re eating, and for some of us — diabetics, celiacs, allergy sufferers, and others with food sensitivities — that can be a serious problem. By combining the established technology of spectroscopy with mobile communications and cloud computing, startup Tellspec is developing a handheld scanner that might one day reveal all.

In this Future Tech interview we talk with Tellspec founder and CEO, Isabel Hoffmann, about Tellspec’s technology and plans, food allergies, additives, genetically modified organisms, and more.

The Many Facets of Facial Recognition

Facial recognition systems rarely have the luxury of taking full frontal photos from stationary people: for many applications they need to rely on side-on, or top-down views of people in motion.

In this Future Tech interview we talk with Brian Lovell, founder and CTO of Imagus Technology about the challenges of facial recognition and the capabilities of his company’s technology. Brian also discusses some of the implications, good and bad of facial recognition technology.

The RobotEyes Have It

One of the biggest challenges facing robotics engineers is the development of sensors able to gather visual data at the speed and accuracy needed for rapid and correct decision-making, and that are light enough to be incorporated into small and mobile devices, such as drones.

In this Future Tech interview we talk with the founder of Ocular Robotics, Mark Bishop, and commercial director, Dr Ramin Rafiei, about the technology the company has developed to solve these problems, and the application possibilities it opens up.

In the Future Communication will be in 3D

Until now there’s been no easy way to capture a 3D representation of an object, communicate that representation and easily recreate it. Russell Consadine’s DottyView technology changes all that.

In this Future Tech interview, Consadine explores the potential applications for his technology, in areas ranging from customer service, consumer product guides and maintenance at remote oil and gas facilities.

Augmented Reality will Inform, Entertain … and Empower

Augmented reality is a broad term encompassing technologies that add information to our, generally visual, experiences of the real world. Examples include: nutrition information about a product on a supermarket shelf, the identity of a person using facial recognition technology, multiple views of a sporting event, or value and location information on a property for sale.

In this Future Tech interview, we speak with augmented reality pioneer, Scott O’Brien. He examines some of the current and emerging applications for augmented reality, looks at the key enabling technologies, and at recent acquisitions as global players move to gain an early lead in the field.

Cloud Services: Automating End-to-End Performance Management and Control

One of the main obstacles to enterprise cloud service adoption is the perception of lack of control. Companies want the surety of knowing where their data is, how it’s being carried around, as well as guaranteed performance. There are also a variety of clouds — Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, carrier clouds, sensor clouds, other IoT clouds and private clouds, all of which need to interconnect, with consistent performance.

Serenus a Sydney-based start-up, has been awarded several patents as well as a NSW Innovation R&D grant for its work on VPNscope, a tool that takes real-time feeds to determine end-to-end network performance across cloud environments all the way to end user devices — automating on-demand capacity management, as well as calculating the performance of the individual infrastructure elements involved in the delivery of end-to-end services over a cloud network.

In this Future Tech interview, we speak to Serenus Founder Ross Goodfellow, about enterprise cloud requirements, and their innovative cloud management tools.

3D Food Printers: A Next Generation Kitchen Appliance?

3D printing is set to be one of the hottest technologies of the coming decade. However, most people don’t think of food and 3D printing at the same time.

Natural Machines is aiming to change that. They’ve designed a 3D food printer (Foodini) that uses real ingredients to create everything from pastas, pizzas, burgers, bread, cookies, and almost anything else that takes time and effort to assemble and shape. And, it’s an IoT device — able to pull recipes and food shapes from the Internet, as well as dialoguing with other smart kitchen devices.

In this Future Tech interview, we speak to co-Founder Lynette Kucsma about what may very well be tomorrow’s must-have kitchen appliance.

Net Neutrality: Does this mean we can’t have Premium Service Offers?

Optus CEO Allen Lew kicked off a firestorm at the CommsDay Summit when he talked about offering a premium Netflix (or other video content) service with guaranteed performance. In Lew’s speech he suggested that OTT video providers could pay for better end-to-end connectivity by working with telcos to ensure a better service for their customers.

Lot’s of people are crying foul: saying that this would violate the principle of net neutrality, wherein network providers are obligated to treat all traffic — regardless of its origin or content type — equally. The idea is that all services offered to customers should have a level playing field in competing with one another for delivery across the Internet.

Extant: Sci-Fi Hits and Misses

Given our recent focus on the nexus of science and sci-fi, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at a recent science fiction show, Extant (starring Halle Berry), to see how well Extant’s predictions for 2030-2040 line up with real world emerging technologies, and our futurist views.

From Sci-Fi to Reality: Star Trek, Time Travel, Human Augmentation and More

For over 100 years science fiction stories have provided a fertile ground for imaging the world of tomorrow, often inspiring real world scientific research and technology innovation.

Star Trek is a great example of a science fiction universe that’s had a huge influence on the world of science and technology — introducing concepts such as the communicator (mobile phone), tricorder (mobile health apps and wearables), replicator (3D printing), faster than light travel, and transporters.

In the second part of our Future Tech interview with Dr Paul Halpern, noted science author and Professor of Physics, we continue our discussion on the nexus of science and sci-fi.

From Sci-Fi to Reality: Exploring the Nexus of Science and Sci-Fi

In the first part this Future Tech interview, Dr Paul Halpern, noted science author and Professor of Physics, explores the nexus of science and sci-fi in futurism, to see what that might tell us about how technology could evolve over the next decade or so. A common theme among scientists who read science fiction is that it sparks their imagination, and then they find ways of inventing things.

Some of the technologies predicted in science fiction include submarines (1870), the atomic bomb (1914), robotics (1939), getting news from phones (1943), satellites (1945), exponential growth in computer processing power (1956) and mobile phones (1966).

Of course, not all predictions pan out — and, we’re still waiting for teleportation and time travel!

3D Printing and Mass Customisation: Transforming the Future

3D printing is set to transform many industries, none more so than manufacturing. Today, many items are outsourced to overseas manufacturers because of lower labour costs. With 3D printing the labour costs associated with production will plummet, making local manufacturing much more competitive. In the future, robot factories may even detect a need for a replacement part and automatically print and install it, with no human intervention required.

Retailers such as Nike are already experimenting with mass customisation. In a few years, everything that a consumer may want — from clothing to makeup to vases, dishware, you name it, customisation options will become more and more pervasive on the back of increasingly sophisticated 3D scanning.

In the second part of our Future Tech interview with Ginna Raahauge, Senior Vice-President and CIO of Riverbed (and long-time 3D printing enthusiast), we continue our discussion on 3D printing.

3D Printing: A Truly Disruptive Technology

3D printing is set to disrupt business as usual across a wide range of industries. Rather than shipping and storing spare parts in depots around the world, vendors and manufacturers will soon be printing parts on demand. Shipping complex CAD files around, rather than parts, will require both network capacity and high-speeds, as well as security measures to protect valuable intellectual property. Could 3D printing be the “killer app” for the NBN?

In the first part of this Future Tech interview with Ginna Raahauge, Senior Vice-President and CIO of Riverbed (and long-time 3D printing enthusiast), we talk about how 3D printing will impact many industries, including networking hardware vendors and manufacturers, the arts, and even the construction sector.

ACFR: Robots Set to Transform the Automotive and Agricultural Industries

In this Future Tech interview, we’re continuing our discussion with Dr Robert Fitch from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, about autonomous robots.

If you’ve wondered how driverless cars will navigate roads, and the type of sensors and instrumentation required to do so, you’ll be fascinated by the work being done at ACFR.

ACFR has also designed award-winning robots that will have a profound impact on the agricultural industry — saving crops from invasive weed species (and other pests) on the ground and in the air.

The Australian Centre for Field Robotics: Leading the Way in Robotics Research

One of the leading robotics labs is located at University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR), which hosts one of the world’s largest outdoor robotics research labs. The researchers at ACFR work with robots in many different environments, ranging from ground-based robots to flying robots to underwater robots, all the way to robots that are working in social spaces.

Most of the robots that they work with are completely autonomous: using a wide range of sensors to detect location and local conditions, coupled with advanced algorithms that allow them to make decisions as to where they should go and what they should do. Applications range from driverless vehicles, flying robots, self-reconfiguring robots (transformers) and custom designed agricultural robots that can detect and mitigate weeds and other pests.

In the first part of this Future Tech interview with Dr Robert Fitch, a senior research fellow specialising in robot motion planning, we talk about the challenges in designing autonomous robots, self-reconfiguring robots, social robots and the genesis of the Google Car.

Ericsson: A Future with Connected Cars, 5G, Virtualisation and Deep Analytics

The automotive industry is investing heavily in the integration of mobile network operating systems into cars, along with an increasing variety of apps, to do things like finding parking spots, along with mobile phone integration. Ultimately, this is leading to a future where connected cars may do away with the need for a human driver, and dedicated parking spots will become a relic of the past, replaced with automated valet parking. And where the family car morphs into a mobile office so owners can make the most of their time on the road.

In this Future Tech interview, we’re continuing our discussion with Håkan Eriksson, the CEO of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand — exploring a future with connected cars, network virtualisation, and deep analytics that transform information into actionable knowledge.

Ericsson: Within the next Decade Everything will be Connected

Imagine a future where your mailbox has morphed into a combination of mailbox and fridge, ready for automatic delivery of your favourite foods as soon as your smart refrigerator detects that you’re running low on a household staple by scanning the RFID tags on your food packages — and a little drone flies it to your front door, and has the right signal to unlock your “chillbox.” Where everything that’s manufactured has an IPv6 address, and you never again lose socks, or anything else for that matter. And, where shopping centres have smart tiles that help you figure out where you left your phone.

In this Future Tech interview, we’re speaking with Håkan Eriksson, the CEO of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand — exploring a future with ubiquitous connectivity.

Future Tech 2024: Your Roadmap To New Telecom Industry Opportunities

Wearable, implantable and ingestible devices, massive changes in the automotive sector, sensor networks, new form factors for phones and tablets, home automation, drones, the Internet of Things, cloud services, security and privacy, and the latest telecom technologies may seem loosely connected.

But if you look more closely, you’ll see a common pattern of communications technologies underpinning new markets, along with new service and product segments targeted at both consumer and business customers. Future service opportunities are already unfolding, you just need to know where to look.

One way to do so comes from spotting technologies and trends early, and translating them in to viable business strategies.

Ninja Blocks: Looking at the Future of Home Automation

The next stage of home automation is predictive intelligence — Ninja Blocks is working to build a sophisticated machine, that will be able to decide or know when something is out of order, or when something should happen. For instance, turning lights on or off in the middle of the night at a luminosity that’s in accordance with an individual family member’s preference.

Ninja Blocks wants to build the home of the Jetsons, an actual smart home — an environment that can make intelligent decisions, ask if it’s unsure, use predictive algorithms and learn from experience.

In Part 2 of our Future Tech interview with Daniel Friedman, the CEO of Ninja Blocks, we continue our discussion about the home of the future.

Ninja Blocks: Crowd Sourcing Home Automation

Designing an intelligent home is something that’s been talked about in technology circles, and science fiction, for decades. With the ubiquity of mobile technology, WiFi connectivity and the emerging Internet of Things this dream is finally becoming a reality.

Ninja Blocks is an innovative start-up company that’s working to design products that control a home environment with software.

In this Future Tech interview, we’re speaking with Daniel Friedman, the CEO of Ninja Blocks about their product design process, and the role that Kickstarter played in fundraising and product definition.

Bell Labs: Harnessing the Internet of Things into a Digital Sixth Sense

It’s not every day that one gets to interview the head of what is arguably the world’s top scientific research lab, much less gain an exclusive worldwide first look at a development that has the potential to impact every human on the planet.

In this Future Tech interview, we’re speaking with Dr Marcus Weldon, the President of Bell Labs (and Corporate CTO at Alcatel-Lucent) about a new FutureX Project that is designed to couple knowledge, objects and people in new and unique ways — creating a personal digital assistant / digital avatar / digital sixth sense — that knows what you need, when you need it, by connecting you to those things and monitoring how you use them. You get your network essentially optimising your life for you, not just optimising your connectivity. And, it has massive business implications too.

This is straight out of a sci-fi book, and Marcus expects that it will be available as a service within 5 years!

Telecom Networks in 2024: Inside Carrier Core Networks, Encryption, and Networking in Outer Space

In this Part 2 of this Future Tech interview, we’re continuing our discussion with Dr Paul Brooks from Layer 10 Advisory.

We look at the increasing dominance of VoIP in telecom core networks where at least 60 percent of all voice traffic is already carried in VoIP format, and examine how mobile voice networks are also moving to packet format as VoLTE rolls out. Researchers, including Paul, are already working on interplanetary networks, which we also discuss — as well as terrestrial uses for delay tolerant networking.

Data security issues are another important aspect of networking, and we talk about the increasing need for encryption.