Welcomed by Abhi Naha, Chief Commercial Officer of Cambridge Wireless, ‘Smart devices of 2025’ brought together over 90 technology futurists, sharing visions and roadmaps for the next decade and beyond. Reflecting on transformative technologies launched over the last two decades, from capacitive touch sensitive screens for mobile phones to even Angry Birds, the certainty for the future is an accelerating rate of change. Sponsored and hosted by Amazon Cambridge Development Centre, this inaugural event of the revamped ‘Future Devices and Technologies’ Group explored radical ideas for the devices of the future and their impact on our lives.
Zahid Ghadialy, Senior Director at Parallel Wireless UK and SIG Champion, shared the top 15 technologies that will dominate in 2025: artificial intelligence, internet of things, robotics, cybersecurity, big data, energy storage & batteries, block chains, 5G, the cloud, fintech, energy harvesting, augmented reality and mixed reality, voice assistants, 3D printing and virtual reality.
Laurent Brisedoux, Senior Manager at Amazon, expressed his excitement at being part of Amazon in Cambridge. While Laurent could not share what the R&D teams are engaged in, it spans all devices…
David Wood, Principal at Delta Wisdom, opened the speaking sessions by looking at key trends for the future. In contrast to the images painted in Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty Four, David stressed that imagination, collaboration, strategy, agility and enhancement are the key drivers. David graphically divided device evolution (even revolution?) according to technology: nano-tech (atoms), bio-tech (genes), info-tech (bits) and cogno-tech (neurons), with the former enabled through hardware and the latter through software. The concerns with social-tech including privacy and regulation, as exemplified by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, will also be of fundamental consideration.
Tom Bennett is Director Technology Services and Devices Development at EE & BT. In a very pragmatic approach to technology rollout, Tom cautioned that with 4G completing only now, operators will not be investing in 5G deployment unless merited. So, we can expect to see a mix of 4G & 5G over the next 5 to 10 years. Even then, the infrastructure requirements for 80 kg 5G aerials are likely to preclude wide scale installation. What Tom did emphasis was that the operators are focussed on security, identity and safety.
Julian Harris is Senior Business Development Manager at Audio Analytic. Giving AI the power of sound recognition – not just voice, music or noise – will be commonplace in the home, the work place and even outside. By recognising sound anomalies, such as breaking glass or even suspicious silence, the smart devices of 2025 will respond with unprecedented context awareness.
Zahid Ghadialy introduced three concepts of telepresence robots, including surrogates and companions. While not all embraced the ideas, development in this field is expected to expand.
Robert Curtis is Principle Designer at Dovetailed and introduced nufood: flavour bursts of 3D printed food. With tasters to sample and live demos, nufood was presented as the future of gastronomy.
Jenny Tillotson, Founder of eScent, is developing technology that uniquely and individually scents us, through delivery of picolitre volumes of customised fragrance.
Andrea Cantone, Head of New Products at Cambridge Mechatronics, presented novel user experiences enabled by localised haptic feedback from shape memory alloy technology. By integrating this low profile and low power technology into buttons on devices, millisecond response heightens user perception.
Steve Riches, Directors at Tribus-D, gave an overview of the demands on electronic assembly materials selection required to achieve the integration and miniaturisation of future device technologies. A recurring topic of many talks, flexible displays will emerge mainstream when the limitations of junctions between silicon and flexible substrates are overcome.
Thought-provoking and a snapshot of a future – one which will invite debate and stimulate action. The Future Devices & Technologies Group return on 12 July 2018 with drones and on 22 November 2018 with robotics.
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