The Future


This week  saw the world population toppling 7 billion. In reaction we thought we’d look towards the future and future technologies. What’s going to shock us, how are we viewing this, what are we measuring?

7 Billion

During the week the world’s population hit 7 billion. A truly massive number which the National Geographic illustrated beautifully, and somewhat scarily, with a series of video they released to mark the event.  They even produced a handy iPad app too!

It’s full of some pretty mind blowing stats and facts that really highlight what this milestone means for the future.

Did you know?

  • It would take you 200 years to count to 7 billion.
  • The world’s most typical person is a 28 year old han Chinese man.
  • Today, there are 21 mega cities.

So we thought we would whip out our crystal balls and see what the world of the future might look like. We also looked to Microsoft, MIT and others to see what they have to say on the matter.

 Microsoft’s vision of the future

Conveniently enough, Microsoft recently released a video of their vision of the future; a future where everything is lushly luxurious, gleamingly clean, digitally magical and scarily devoid of any kind of imperfection. When taken with a pinch of salt, what this video predicts for the future of technology is really quite exciting. What is even more exciting is how much of this technology is already developed.

Some of our personal favourites innovations here at Elvis include;

  • Smart fridges which not only tell you what’s inside but also suggests recipes.
  • Interactive paper which comes alive when connected to a smart phone.
  • Minority Report style motion activated desktops.

Microsoft have done a really great job of highlighting how technology will continue to directly affect human life, be it in business or in the home.

  The OmniTouch and Sixth Sense

The smart people at Carnegie Mellon University teamed up with Kinect researchers from Microsoft to make a device called OmniTouch. Although still at the prototype stages, this shoulder mounted device can turn any nearby surface into an ad hoc interactive touch screen.

Now for the technical stuff, so bear with me. OmniTouch works by bringing together a miniature projector and an infrared depth camera, similar to the kind used in Microsoft’s Kinect game console, to create a shoulder-worn system designed to interface with mobile devices such as smart phones. Instead of relying on screens, buttons, or keys, the system monitors the user’s environment for any available surfaces and projects an interactive display onto one or more of them.

Of course the guys at MIT Media Lab are pretty smart too and in 2009 they caused a storm at TED when they demoed a similar device called the ‘Sixth Sense’. Pranav Mistry and Pattie Maes developed a wearable device that paves the way for profound interaction with our environment.

Bjarke Ingels Architecture

All of this tech talk is great but if we have 7billion people and 21 mega cities crowding this earth we are going to need more than the ability to dial our phones on the palms of our hands. This is where Danish architect Bjarke Ingels comes in. His theory of ‘hedonistic sustainability’ tries to answer the question of overpopulation in urban areas through the creation of socially, economically and environmentally perfect places.

His work includes 8 House in Ørestad, a highrise designed in the shape of the Chinese character for ‘people’ for Shanghai, and a masterplan for the redevelopment of a former naval base and oil industry wasteland into a zero-emission resort and entertainment city off the coast of Baku, Azerbaijan, shaped as the seven mountains of the country.



All of this may seem a bit farfetched and futuristic for a Friday evening. We may not be living in high intensity, completely interactive and connected communities any times very soon. But it could very well be an indication of the direction in which we are heading.

I’ll leave you with this last short video. The toddler in the video is more accustomed to using an iPad than she is to using magazines and books. In her eyes a magazine is simple a broken iPad.

Thanks and Happy Friday,



~ by skysfridayblog on November 4, 2011.

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