Random futures

By Robert Hickson 30/06/2013

Here’s a short collection of what, to me, are interesting developments.

Will good design turn more people on to eating insects? A finalist for an international design competition has developed a bench top grasshopper rearing unit. This is to encourage more (Westerners) to take seriously a UN plea to eat more insects [Pdf].


Unlikely, I think, for sensitive Western palates. While crunching on chitin has more appeal than vat grown meat, there are other alternatives also under development.  Vertical farms, and aquaponics (combining fish farming and hydroponics into one system), for example. There are less high-techy options as well.


Smart phones are becoming smarter. SRI is working on what it calls “cognitive indexing” to develop better artificial intelligence to predict what you want to ask by taking account of a range of information.


You can also start making your house “smarter”, with commercial kits becoming available to connect bits of your house up with each other. Welcome to the brave new world of the Internet of Things. Cisco is going large on this. But there are a range of challenges to work through, particularly getting different devices to communicate with each other.


If you are interested in hearing more about what Rodney Brooks has to say about robots (as I mentioned in an earlier post) then this TED video is good.


Finally, I got a mention in the Herald on Sunday (and a new name at the end) in a piece about Wills & Kate & Baby.