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Future Proof Ideas since 2005, by Erwin van Lun

Trend observations, analysis and future predictions since 2005

City of Ely Community College recognises students’ faces

Sixth-formers now have their faces scanned as they arrive in the morning at the City of Ely Community College. Face Register register students in and out of school in just 1.5 seconds. The technology works by scanning faces with an infra-red light and matching their image with key facial features stored on a secure system. Not only a hit with the students, who enjoy signing themselves in, the system is saving a member of staff about an hour and a half each day in recording data.

Future vision by Erwin van Lun

Brands will automate their conversations and recognising people is a key element. It will not only attribute emotions to brands, it will also decrease cost. This is a beautiful example.

Related trends

Real time immerse reality in military vehicles

The Immersive Vision System of MITRE gives drivers of military vehicles an unobstructed, responsive and natural view of their environment without being exposed to the dangers of that environment. A hemispherical camera -- actually a number of 5 stationary side cameras and one on top -- is stitched together in realtime to one single video image that covers all 360 degrees horizontally and 270 degrees vertically, and is projected onto a sphere. A head mounted display matches the exact position and direction and calculates the view and projects that into the glasses. This allows the pilot to move his head naturally, no need for periscopes, joysticks, or any other non-intuitive control interfaces.

Related trends

LegacyLocker notifies your friends after you died

Legacy Locker notifies friends (in online worlds) of your death. When you're still alive, you create a secure environment where you can store all your passwords. When something has happened, Legacy Locker will require a copy of your death certificate before releasing information. Surviving relatives then get access to your mail accounts, online services you used and your online friends. The service costs $30 per year.

Future vision by Erwin van Lun

Whether we’re talking about our identity in the virtual world or in the physical world: in the mind of people it’s all the same. Whenever someone disappears, they’ll be missed. And to miss someone is a negative emotion. To address this emotion, new companies will step into this market. And this is just the first step.

Social networks will soon integrate this functionality. In the next step, they will first make sure that each individual profile is checked with a birth certificate (or authorisation by the country of the individual’s nationality) to make sure each profile really represents one single individual. As soon as someone claims that someone is dead, it has already been in the national administration, so it can be acknowledged immediately and death can be communicated by their relatives. The social network will offer services to help those who are left behind to handle their emotions. That will be much more important than just informing them.

That’s how social networks evolve into social coaching brands.

Related trends

IRLConnect plots Facebook and Twitter on Google Map

IRLconnect connects to your friend profiles on Facebook and Twitter and plots them on a (Google) map. This visualizes not only what your friends are doing but also where they are doing that. Op top, you can change your status for all platforms instanteneously. IRL Connect is private beta. However, you could use the invitekey which is at the bottom of this posting on one of my favorite Dutch websites DutchCowboys.

Related trends

Gesture recognition without displays

Pattie Maes from MIT has developed a portable device with a camera and beamer that is able to capture information from the environment and project extra information on it while you're wearing four colored markers on your fingers. This video is full of interesting examples where this could be useful, but especially the example where you're just walking on a bridge and put your fingers in the air making a 'photographic' gesture, which then snapshots the environment in a picture... That's awesome.

Future vision by Erwin van Lun

Soon, brands will not only recognize our identity, not only our faces, walks, voices, they will also recognize on special expressions and other gestures. It won’t take too long now…

Related trends

Touch panel that responds to approaching speed

Mitsubishi latest technology promises to detect the distance between a finger and the touch panel to allow for a whole host of new interface options. That's done with the aid of an array of sensors that can also be used to calculate the speed at which the finger is approaching, and allow for a so-called "mouse-over function," which would essentially let your finger control a cursor without actually touching the screen -- something Mitsubishi says would be ideal for devices with small screens. Currently, it is just in prototype form (currently a 5.7-inch capacitive VGA display).

Ford patents digital emotions

Ford has filed a patent called "Emotive Text-to-Speech System and Method" describing a system that can not only simulate emotion when reading out directions and describing traffic problems, but could also detect the emotion of the operator of the car and interact with them in ways designed to, oh, soothe a little road rage. The avatar is said to "appear to become frustrated" if the driver is a lead-foot, and may say "Your driving is hurting my fuel efficiency." Or, if a driver is going too fast, the dash-bound assistant could turn blue, ask what's wrong, and suggest a more direct route to their destination.

Virtual reality baseball cards

Just hold the special 3D Live card in front of a webcam and watch a three-dimensional avatar spring to life -- rotate the card and the figure rotates in full perspective. The real interesting things is that the technology allows collectors to drop the player into simple pitching, batting and catching games using the computer keyboard. It includes sound, video expected. Series 1 cards will cost $2 for a 12-pack. Video is mandatory!

Related trends

Earbud measures facial expressions

The Mimi Switch is uses an earbud containing infrared sensors that measure the inner ear movements resulting from various facial expressions. "An iPod can start or stop music when the wearer sticks his tongue out," says the inventor, Kazuhiro Taniguchi of Osaka University. The device can also be used to monitor your facial expressions for the appropriate levels of cheerfulness. "If it judges that you aren't smiling enough," the inventor goes on to say, "it may play a cheerful song."

Transparant displays

Scientists at Philips Research are currently progressing towards the development of transparent OLEDs. Now Philips show us some picture from the new windows as light application.

This means OLED panels could function as ordinary windows during the day and then morph into panels of light after dark, either by imitating natural light or by emitting attractive interior lighting.

During the day, people would be able to create their own private area by turning transparent glass walls, windows or doors into walls of light whenever they liked. Transparent OLED panels are expected to emerge onto the market within the next 3
to 5 years.

Virtual receptionist

Laura, a virtual receptionist, shown off as part of Microsoft's vision for the future, recognises individual people, faces, voices and aks questions.

Quadcopters set up ad-hoc wireless network

Researchers at Germany's Ilmenau University of Technology are developing flying quadcopter robots that can be used to form a self-assembling ad-hoc wireless network in the event of disaster. Built with off-the-shelf parts (including VIA's Pico-ITX hardware and a GPS unit) the robots are designed to provide both mobile phone and WiFi access -- and they can do it far more quickly than a technician on the ground might be able to.

The device comes in a kit for €300 (about $380), which includes all but the battery -- the batteries currently run around €1,000 (over $1200) and only offer up 20 minutes of flight time. Once the device has found a perch, however, it can operate for "several hours."

Intelligent floor for VR use

Future vision by Erwin van Lun

One of the big problems facing VR is the issue of mobility—how do you allow users unrestricted movement in virtual reality, while keeping them relatively static in real reality? Researchers at the University of Tsukuba in Japan have developed something called CirculaFloor. The system uses four robotic tiles that constantly shift position, ensuring that there’s always a tile in the direction you’re headed. Additionally, the entire assembly moves slowly backwards, giving one the impression of movement while they’re actually standing relatively still. The tiles also incorporate lifts, for simulating staircases and the like.

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