The Pondering Primate writes:
Microsoft, using a mobile phone, is actually starting to link objects in the physical world, to the Internet.
In the last few months Microsoft has introduced a:
speech recogntion browser
1d barcode scanner
2d barcode scanner
mobile image recognition engine and an
Is Microsoft developing the operating system for the “Internet of Things”?
Technology Review picks 10 for 2007: “Some, such as optical antennas and metamaterials, are fundamental technologies that promise to transform multiple areas, from computing to biology. Our reports on peer-to-peer video, personalized medical monitors, and compressive sensing reveal how well-designed algorithms could save the Internet, simplify and improve medical diagnoses, and revamp digital imaging systems in cameras and medical scanners. Nanohealing and quantum-dot solar power demonstrate the potential of nanotechnology to make a concrete difference in our daily lives by changing the way we treat injuries and helping solar energy deliver on its promises. Precise neuron control could help physicians fine-tune treatments for brain disorders such as depression and Parkinson’s disease. And single-cell analysis could not only revolutionize our understanding of basic biological processes but lead directly to predictive tests that could help doctors treat cancers more effectively. Finally, by combining location sensors and advanced visual algorithms with cell phones, mobile augmented reality technology could make it easier to just figure out where we are.”
Paul Kedrosky has a list, via TheDeal.
1) Cellulosic – Mascoma, Celunol, Range Fuels, 1 stealth startup
2) Future Fuels – LS9, Gevo, Amyris Biotechnologies, Coskata Energy
3) Efficiency – Transonic Combustion, GroupIV Semiconductor, 1 stealth startup
4) Homes – Living Homes, Global Homes
5) Natural Gas – Great Point Energy
6) Solar – Stion, Ausra
7) Tools – Nanostellar, Codon Devices, Praj
8) Water – 2 stealth startup
9) Plastic – Segetis, 1 stealth startup
10) Corn/Sugar Fuels – Altra, Cilion, Hawaii Bio
The New York Times writes:
In their new incarnation, cellphones become a sort of digital remote control, as one CBS executive put it. With a wave, the phone can read encoded information on everyday objects and translate that into videos, pictures or text files on its screen.
The most promising way to link cellphones with physical objects is a new generation of bar codes: square-shaped mosaics of black and white boxes that can hold much more information than traditional bar codes. The cameras on cellphones scan the codes, and then the codes are translated into videos, music or text on the phone screens.
Stephen Johnston writes about a talk Mark Anderson of SNS delivered at Nokia:
Mark’s 2007 Predictions
1. ePhones: Phones will be used to pay for things
Japan already does this. Nokia has been testing this for years.
“Carriers have been the bottleneck” – but why wouldn’t carriers do this. Qualcomm are investing in startup payments. Carriers are changing their mind about this.
Many technologies, but security clearly the main issue. Authentication is required.
2. Authentication everywhere.
ID theft is so important, that authentication will be required everywhere. Biometric will be big. Voice is one idea, would be great if it does work. Phones could have a bio swipe, and reduce theft – it costs about $9 to install. Could do this in conjunction with insurance companies – never worry about phones being stolen. This then would allow the phone to be used in conjunction with keys for phones. “Phone” is not the right term for what this is – it communicates more with systems than people. 50% increase in data.
Tali Aben writes about a discussion at Com.Venture 2007:
# “Ubiquitous computing is about access everywhere/anytime and multiple access devices – its not just computing.
# Wi-Fi enabled cellphones will be huge
# Business models are changing rapidly, with advertising-funded models expected to make it easier for users to access content cheaper
# Ubiquitous also means that users will access content from different places, and business models will have to become contextual. Accessing the same information within a different context will be billed differently.
# Service providers will have to shift the business model from selling access to selling content.
The Economist writes: “How would you like to rearrange the famous sarsens of Stonehenge just by thinking about it? Or improve your virtual golf by focusing your attention on the ball for a few moments before taking your next putt on the green-on-the-screen? Those are the promises of, respectively, Emotiv Systems and NeuroSky, two young companies based in California, that plan to transport the measurement of brain waves from the medical sphere into the realm of computer games. If all goes well, their first products should be on the market next year. People will then be able to tell a computer what they want it to do just by thinking about it. Tedious fiddling about with mice and joysticks will become irritants of the past…Controlling things by mere thought is a staple of science fiction. That fiction, though, is often based on a real technique known as electroencephalography (EEG). This works by deploying an array of electrodes over a person’s scalp and recording surface manifestations of the electrical activity going on under his skull.”
The New York Times writes:
The best and the brightest from leading business schools are pelting energy start-ups with rsums. And, of course, there are entrepreneurs from all backgrounds — but especially former dot-commers — who express a sense of wonder and purpose at the thought of transforming the $1 trillion domestic energy market while saving the planet.
The energy boomlet is part of a broader rebound that is benefiting all kinds of start-ups, including plenty that are focused on the Web. But for many in Silicon Valley, high tech has given way to clean tech, the shorthand term for innovations that are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Less fashionable is green, a word that suggests a greater interest in the environment than in profit.
The Economist writes about what Tim Berners-Lee thinks:
Although he is somewhat sceptical of the hype around Web 2.0, Sir Tim is excited by three other areas of the web’s development: its spread to millions of new users via mobile devices, the growing interest in the technology’s social and political impact and the semantic web, in which information is labelled so that it makes sense to machines as well as people. If you look at the number of internet-capable mobile phones, PDAs and so on, they are rapidly outnumbering the things we think of as computers, he says. As the price of these devices falls, large parts of the developing world will get web access. When you have a large mass of new users, you will get many new applications, written by people with other needs.
The Economist writes about three technological fixes to reduce data centre power consumption:
The first is new multi-core processor chips, in which performance is improved not by increasing clock speed, but by building several processing engines, or cores, into each chipa far more energy-efficient approach.
The second fix comes from using more efficient power supplies. At the moment, data centres perform many conversions between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). This wastes energy, which is emitted as heat and increases the need for cooling. It would be far more efficient to power servers directly from a central DC supply.
The third fix is the more careful use of cooling systems. HP, for example, has devised a scheme called Dynamic Smart Cooling, which links temperature sensors installed on servers to air-conditioners so that blasts of cool air can be directed towards particular servers only when needed.
Technology Review writes:
[Recently], Intel announced a research project that made geeks jump with glee: the first programmable “terascale” supercomputer on a chip. The company demonstrated a single chip with 80 cores, or processors, and showed that these cores could be programmed to crunch numbers at the rate of a trillion operations per second, a measure known as a teraflop. The chip is about the size of a large postage stamp, but it has the same calculation speed as a supercomputer that, in 1996, took up about 2,000 square feet and drew about 1,000 times more power.
This research chip is one of Intel’s first steps toward massively multicore technology, says Nitin Borkar, engineering manager and lab project head at Intel. The goal, he says, is to use this chip to test techniques that could make massively multicore technology faster, more energy efficient, and, most daunting, easy to program. These techniques will be “funneled into future products” that could appear, if all goes well, within five to ten years.
Researchers and visionaries are already thinking about how these supercomputer chips can best be used. Intel thinks that recognition, mining, and synthesis (RMS) applications will be key. Put together, these technologies could allow real-time language translation via cell phones, real-time video search by spoken phrase or image, and better recommendation systems for shopping, meal planning, and even health care.
ZDNet.com writes about a roundtable at the Wharton Technology Conference:
Lesson 4: Broadband over powerline technology needs evangelists. Current has two large customers, Duke Energy and TXU, and it will need those partners to convince other utilities to follow suit.
Lesson 5: Success is a slog. Translation: Don’t expect broadband over powerlines any time soon. Current had to face regulatory hurdles and is targeting broadband services market by market, says Herron. There is no number of customers that will create a snowball effect right now although Current will need more than TXU and Duke on board.
Brenda Cooper asks if we should be optimistic:
As a people, were not very sure about tomorrow. We worry about what we will leave our kids. Deficits. Dangers inherent in genetic engineering (of people and food). Global warming. Pollution. I could make a bigger list, but we all know the bogeymen of today, and we all know some are real. We even know yesterdays fears (such as nuclear proliferation and eventual war) are still partly untamed. Our famous scientists (like Stephen Hawking) talk about the need to flee before we destroy our home. So were at least a little afraid of the future.
Being afraid of the future will help make it better. It keeps us cautious. The things we have today that make the world small (the internet, the light of accountability) may help keep it safe. Knowledge in growing, and so is access to knowledge. In the past, as knowledge shone on various civilizations, they generally got better. Recently, knowledge and education have helped third world countries develop stronger economies and more social equalities. Indias rise is at least partly related to a commitment to education. Education is one of the biggest tools in the fight against AIDS. Im willing to bet connectivity and knowledge will continue to create better places and lives. So my hope no better than that, my expectation is that the future will be better than today. There is reason for optimism to temper our fear and lift our hearts.