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Tech Trendspotting For The Future 59

Dylan Knight Rogers writes to mention a CNN article about an annual 10-year forecast of tech trends. Lots of analysts produce forecasts, but the Institute of the Future goes one step further by crafting artifacts from the future: "mocked-up products claiming to be from, say, 2009. You might go to an IFTF presentation and see baskets of finessed fruit that promise cognitive enhancement. Or you might wake up in the hotel where the IFTF seminar was being held to find your newspaper dated 10 years hence."
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Tech Trendspotting For The Future

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  • I'm Sorry (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday June 10, 2006 @04:39AM (#15508141) Homepage Journal
    I try not to usually respond with such vitrol, but what is the point?

    Forecasting is important and people spend tons of money on forecasting reports only to not read them? So we repackage the forecast in a shiny method claiming to be a product from the future?

    The article doesn't have any real pertinent information. Was this really worth our time?
  • RFID (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @05:14AM (#15508198) Homepage
    Does anybody know of any products that sell a bunch of RFID chips on stickers so you can affix them to objects in your house, set up a 3 (minimum) wireless scanners and transmit the triangulated data to a computer program displaying the room so you can tell where in the room those objects are? That would be a godsend to us disorganized folks.

  • What I would have been more interested in is a breakdown of the 5 prototypes in the image gallery. Why do people believe these will take off?

    I know drug companies have more lobbyists than there are people in Congress, but do you really think they'll get precription drugs in an apple? What about kids eating them? Or what about the prescription itself? Where would it be sold?

    Last time I checked, the growing trend was for more organic food. Every grocery store in town has added a large organic/health section, and full organic stores like Wild Oats and World Market are popping up all over the place.

    Then we have social movie tickets. Do you really think that people will be fine with a movie theatre knowing exactly where you are at all times with GPS coordinates? Frankly, if I want to see a movie with my friends I call them on my cell phone. I don't divulge my personal data to a movie company to track me.
  • Re:RFID (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @06:00AM (#15508260)
    Can't be done the way you describe, the same basic result can be accomplished by having a reader at every doorway inside the house. Provided that the item is registered in a database, it'll tell you what room an item is in. Okay, it won't pinpoint the exact location, but is it that much of a bother to search in your bedroom if you knew it was there. It'll also tell you whether or not it's in the house period.

    Plus, the doorway option is better for many places to get a definite read as well. My 802.11G broadband router can't penetrate the stone walls of my house and I actually get more signal vertically (up to 3 stories up) than I get horizontally (the next room seperated by a hallway doesn't get any signal). I can't see RFID readers trying to triangulate positions being any better in this case.

    The tech for that is currently here, but having that many scanners is too expensive yet it is much cheaper than it was just a few years ago. It'll get much cheaper still.
  • Worthless (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Umbral Blot ( 737704 ) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @06:08AM (#15508271) Homepage
    Experience tells me that such predictions are more wrong than they are right. It's part of the nature of advancement to take us places that we didn't even know existed before (ex: computers). As a company it would seem to be more prudent to pay for real research on real products than to worry about what may or may not come about. You really only need to be looking about a year into the future to roll with the punches, and you can to that by reading academic journals (so that you know what areas are expecting breakthroughs).
  • Re:RFID (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:43PM (#15509450)
    RFID doesn't provide position

    Hence the need for three scanners to derive position.

    A walkie-talkie doesn't provide position either, but if you're using one my hit team will find you. If I've only got one guy he'll find you anyway, it'll just take him a bit longer since he's working in one dimension and has to walk down the line.

    the readers would crash DDoS'd from more than a few signals at once anyway.

    Like your walkie-talkie crashes from all the signals at once? You should see what radio telescopes have to deal with. They're called "filters" and "unidirectional" antennas.

    All the workings would be in the scanners, not the tags. All the intelligence would be in a computer. The RFID tags need only be passive and respond to a ping.

    You can't find your car keys? Go to the computer, ask it where they are. The scanners sweep the room pinging the car keys. Only the car keys will respond. What's more, since we're working in a well bounded system ( a room) I'd think that two scanners would suffice. Simple parallax with the scanners placed in two corners, although precision would be reduced the closer the keys are to that wall.

    Sounds like a one week hack to me.

  • Re:RFID (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @02:07PM (#15509833) Journal
    > A walkie-talkie doesn't provide position either, but if you're using one my hit team will find you.

    If you have only another walkie-talkie and no directional antenna, you won't find me. Readers can't detect the direction the signal is coming from. No indication of direction, strength, time etc. Cell phones can "ping" the station and triangulate their position because they have means to measure the delay of answer, and the stations are in reasonable distance. Here, ping sent at light speed will return with too many delays from sources other than distance and and with the distance delay too short to be of any use.

    > Like your walkie-talkie crashes from all the signals at once?

    Like you can tell where one walkie-talkie is while 15 of them broadcast on the same frequency simultaneously. RFID signal reply is very weak and requires pretty sensitive reader. If you have 100 items in your house tagged, all 100 will reply to the ping at the same time. Even though each of them has an unique ID, they will simply jam each other, the reader won't be able to pick a single reply from the noise created.

    > You can't find your car keys? Go to the computer, ask it where they are. The scanners sweep the room pinging the car keys. Only the car keys will respond.

    Everything will respond. The signal from the scanners is not directional and all tags within range reply. The only thing you may attempt to measure is the signal "roundtrip" for one given tag, but this is encumbered with too many errors.

    > Sounds like a one week hack to me.

    As soon as you start to measure time it takes the radio waves to get to the tag and back, it will grow into a yearly project for a corporation. Unless you try to build a directional, beam-area RFID reader. That sounds like a yearly project for a single individual or a weekly project for a corporation.

"The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserved their neutrality." -- Dante