Preview of Future Inventions—Futurists: BetaLaunch 2012
By Kenneth J. Moore
The World Future Society’s second annual innovation competition will allow WorldFuture 2012 attendees to preview a few of the life-changing and society-altering artifacts of the future.
The future is open to infinite possibilities for innovative thinkers. Those who have been selected to showcase their work at the World Future Society’s annual conference, WorldFuture 2012: Dream. Design. Develop. Deliver, have put their creative efforts into solving a wide range of problems, from accelerating the gene-sequencing process to comforting sick children during life-saving treatments.
The technologies and social innovations featured below are winners of the second Futurists: BetaLaunch (F:BL) invention expo, a “petting zoo” where WorldFuture attendees can interact with artifacts from the future and engage with the exhibitors.
- Senstore. Senstore is taking advantage of exponential developments in sensors, wireless connectivity, and artificial intelligence to provide access to health care from anywhere. Senstore is developing a home diagnostic device—a medical tricorder—with intuitive AI interactions and continuous monitoring of biometric data.
- The Cyberhero League by Evolutionary Guidance Media R&D. Most children want to help other people, animals, and the environment—but they don’t know where or how to begin. The Cyberhero League is a social platform that will enable children to act digitally to help others around the world.
A child earns points through games and other activities, and uses those points for charitable gifts that supply emergency relief supplies (food, water, and medicine), support wildlife conservation, and protect the environment. As Cyberheroes, kids will have the power to change the world while learning about environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
- The BiliSuit by i3 BioDesigns. The birth of a new child is a joyous occasion—but millions of babies each year are born with a common but serious jaundice condition, requiring extended hospital stays in an isolette tank for the child or mobility-constraining home treatments.
The BiliSuit is a form-fitting garment that delivers life-saving treatment through an LED and fiber-optic delivery system. The suit is reusable and its battery can be recharged with solar energy, so it can be used in remote locations with limited access to electricity—such as rural areas in Asia.
- ZED.TO by The Mission Business. The Mission Business has developed an immersive, cross-platform entertainment strategy that combines foresight and education with transmedia events, fiction, and theatrical panache to thrill audiences. The first event, ZED.TO, will play out in real life and online over the course of months to explore critical uncertainties in technology and social values.
- Filabot by Rocknail Specialties. A tool designed to make home 3-D printing cheaper and more environmentally friendly, Filabot (pictured left) is a desktop extruding system that grinds various plastics to make spools of filament for 3-D printers. Filabot can process milk jugs, soda bottles, and other types of plastics—as well as bad prints, turning what would be waste into usable filament for future prints.
- ComposeTheFuture. This free, integrated social network focuses on futurist members’ interests in future predictions, goal setting, scenario planning, and impact analysis. The network will enable futurists around the world to collaborate on issues and work toward achieving goals. Check out the interview with Compose The Future founder Brian Merritt here.
- Strategic Foresight & Innovation program at OCAD University. This program trains students to address complex, socially important issues through designing for creative social futures. The program instills the spirit of technological foresight and long-horizon innovation into new foresight thinkers through a combination of innovation practice, systems thinking, design leadership, and social research.
- Ion Proton Sequencer by Life Technologies. The Ion Proton Sequencer, featured in the May-June 2012 issue of THE FUTURIST as a Consumer Electronics Show pick and pictured here, offers affordable whole-human-genome sequencing in just hours instead of days or weeks. The Ion Proton Sequencer sequences DNA on a small semiconductor chip rather than using standard large, expensive optical-based instrumentation.
- B-TEMIA. To get people on their feet, B-TEMIA has developed a wearable dermoskeleton that restores, maintains, or enhances mobility. With military and medical applications, the dermoskeleton increases a person’s biomechanical capabilities and assists movement without impeding natural walking patterns.
For more information about WorldFuture 2012 and links to all of the Futurists: BetaLaunch exhibitors, visit www.wfs.org/worldfuture-2012.
About the Author
Kenneth J. Moore is a contributing writer for THE FUTURIST and communications assistant for the World Future Society.
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