Interface is our magazine about current and emerging technologies and markets
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Issue 56: Spring 2014
Waste of our time?
Waste is an inevitable part of the industrialised world in which we live – but the current scale of waste production should not be such a foregone conclusion. Waste will reshape the future of manufacturing and design – and, in doing so, will forge new and profitable ways of thinking and working.
Making a world of difference
The Nokia 1100 is arguably the world’s most successful phone. Although humble by today’s standards, this phone was the reference for a revolutionary new digital service that truly changed the world. M-PESA now handles a third of Kenya’s GDP and triggered a global revolution in mobile financial services.
A handful of different models exist to explain the process of assembling unfamiliar movements into a finely honed skilful execution of some activity through practice. New technologies promise to be a game changer (literally) by delivering new forms of feedback, measuring factors that were not previously measurable, and making those measurements more accessible to non-elite athletes.
Today’s sleek and powerful smartphones have radically changed our personal behaviour by transforming the way we communicate with the world around us. If the successful track record of the mobile phone industry is any indication of the future development of smart implants, then the next 5-10 years will be stimulating.
What do you know?
A strong consumer insight is often the starting point for innovation. But knowing you have got as much intelligence as possible from the rich data source that is each and every consumer is a challenge. In the future, vast amounts of data could be collected ‘invisibly’ from the consumer.
Horses for courses
Understanding what is going on around us – particularly things we can’t actually see but need to control – can be an interesting challenge. That’s where the technique of analysis and modelling comes in. Computational fluid dynamics is a powerful tool – but is it the right one for your challenge?
Right first time
If at first you don’t succeed… it could cost you a lot of money. That’s why design for manufacture is a vital component of product development. Once a design is ‘complete’, throwing it over the fence to production and just expecting everything to run smoothly is rather optimistic.
Is less invasion more?
Treatment of cardiovascular disease is changing. Complex procedures are being replaced by more advanced – yet simple – therapies. But while there’s a need for simplifying surgical and therapeutic procedures, treatments also need to evolve to further reduce the risks of serious side effects.
Mix and match
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – and it’s not surprising that, when something is done well, others decide there is no point starting from scratch. It’s what seems to be happening in the world of consumer electronics and connectivity.
Beware the curve ball
The classic bell curve of market adoption is well known – running from early to late adopters via the peak of mass market adoption. But less familiar are the ‘S’ curves which can be used to depict the progressive innovations which are required to maintain market share in the face of burgeoning competition.
Where now for white space?
The original idea of ‘white space’ was to create a new way of accessing under-used UHF spectrum for new services. So far, the concept of white space has spawned the idea of the Weightless open wireless standard – but it could be adapted for services ranging from machine-to-machine through to wideband mobile.
Our most precious raw material
The home computing revolution can be traced back to a handful of devices that captured the imagination of a generation. If the high-tech industries of the future are to have the human raw material that drives progress and innovation, we all need to enthuse the next generation to get more involved in the practical detail of technology.
Making the connection
The world is steadily moving towards realising the prediction made a few years ago of 50 billion connected devices – the so-called ‘Internet of Things’. Tomorrow’s world will be far more connected than yesterday’s – in ways we haven’t yet imagined. It makes you wonder how many businesses are truly ready for the connected world.
Rallying the troops
Companion diagnostics involves analysing how genetic make-up affects an individual’s response to drugs. This creates a strong opportunity for emerging DNA sequencing technologies. The future of companion diagnostics could be choosing not one but the right set of weapons at the right time for each person.
Issue 55: Autumn 2013
A healthy appetite for change
The last few years have seen rapid changes in healthcare as the influence of consumer technologies spreads into hospital wards and doctors’ surgeries. But it is important to undertake such projects after understanding the pitfalls and being aware of the impact that seemingly simple choices can have in the long term.
A day in the life of a diabetic
A new mood of optimism is spreading among diabetic sufferers as a result of progress towards what has long been considered the ‘holy grail’ in diabetes – the artificial pancreas. To understand why that should be so important, it’s necessary to understand what the life of a type 1 diabetic is like.
A profitable headache?
Water is a sizeable by-product of the extraction of oil and gas. Treating and disposing of it is a major expense for many operators. However, this water is a valuable resource. So how can operators ensure water quality in the field?
The Asia challenge
Consumer technology companies with very short lifespans is a trend that is evident across East Asia. Rather than developing everything in-house or expensively acquiring companies with all the challenges of cultural adaptation, Asian companies should look to work with global leaders in innovative technology development.
Managing astronomical complexity
Combining different technologies and applying these to problems as diverse as sending a probe to Mars, controlling a person’s heart rate or making the perfect cup of coffee all involve complex multi-disciplinary development projects. Choosing the systems engineering model is the most critical decision.
In tune with you
Wireless technology adds a new dimension to medical implants – allowing remote monitoring and treatment optimisation, whether it’s a pacemaker for your heart or a device to help with pain management. But successful design of wireless implants is no mean feat.
A smart move
Ericsson sparked a flurry of crystal-ball gazing about how connected our lives will be in the coming decade when it published its headline-grabbing prediction that by 2020 there would be 50 billion connected devices. Whatever the right number, it’s clear that products that are not connected will soon look very last century.
Shake-up in foam technology
The aerosol industry is rapidly running out of viable propellants – a challenge that’s been the trigger for our latest technology breakthrough. We’ve come up with a new low-cost environmentally-friendly way of creating foam.
Wild about technology
Imagine sitting in your home and being the first – and only – person to identify an endangered golden-rumped elephant-shrew picking its way through undergrowth in the depths of Africa. The Instant Wild network of remote satellite cameras also aims to cut poaching.
An evolution of product development?
What is your product? The answer used to be simple – whether it was washing-up liquid or a coffee machine. But increasingly there are more and more ‘product types’ – from basic formulations through to complex service business models. So is it fair to see the different product types as an evolution?
An appy ending?
Apps are extending their reach into every corner of our lives – and the world around us. Evolving sensors, more processing power and better short-range communications mean everything from light bulbs to activity monitors is now a smartphone accessory. This new world brings new challenges for developers.
Ideas are easy. Innovation is hard. The context of surgical innovation is a complex one – and only the most experienced practitioners can deliver success.
The future starts here
Technology has advanced at an incredible rate in the last century. Even ‘simple’ things that we take for granted today – like mobile phones and high-definition television – were true science fiction for the masses a mere 30 years ago. And these are the tip of the iceberg.
What’s going to rock your world?
Big changes – be they environmental, technological, commercial, political or regulatory – can rock the world of your business. Standing still is not an option. For those who take the time and have the energy to understand the changes and their potential impact, opportunities abound.
The great experience mash-up
The stars are aligning for the great mash-up of consumer and medical mobile technologies. Healthcare privacy issues are converging with those of social media. Health coverage providers are exploring efficiencies through outcome-based strategies, and myriad technology companies are lining up with concepts to charge through the first available breach.