For a culture of anticipation and innovation!
More than ever, the period 2011-2015 will be decisive for the successful transformation of today's economic models to those of tomorrow, for reinventing innovative activities, for finding innovative strategies. In this metamorphosis of all activities, speed is essential. It is necessary to change in real time, to know how to anticipate without waiting, to be receptive to the opportunities or threats surrounding us. The Ordre des Experts-Comptables has written a report for entrepreneurs who, in this race for innovation, need mobility, reactivity and pragmatism as a priority. It is this very comprehensive summary report that UP' Magazine proposes to present to you in several episodes.
Second part of the 12 technologies of the future :
7) GESTURE INTERFACES
In tomorrow's world, mice and other joysticks for games or commands will have disappeared, either to become vocal or to be replaced by gesture interfaces. While this method has appeared in the gaming industry in recent years, it is becoming more and more widespread among all game console manufacturers, with the Microsoft Kinect. Already, two members of MIT, Pranav Mistry and Patty Maes, the same people who developed 6th Sense, have developed the invisible mouse, the Mouseless, which removes the requirement for a physical mouse connected to a computer, while still providing that familiar intuitive interaction. Mouseless consists of an infrared (IR) laser beam (topped with a cap) and an infrared camera. Both elements are embedded in the computer. The laser module is modified with a cap so that it scans a plane with its infrared just above the surface of the computer on which it is located. The user forms a hollow with his hand (palm down) as if a physical mouse were present underneath, and the laser beam illuminates the hand that is in contact with the surface. The infrared camera detects these bright IR "spots" using computer vision. The change in the position and arrangement of the spots is interpreted as the movement of a mouse cursor and its clicks. When the user moves his hand, the cursor moves on the screen accordingly. When the user clicks his index finger, the size of the spot (and therefore its color) changes and the camera recognizes the corresponding mouse click.
Why not enjoy unlimited reading of UP'? Subscribe from €1.90 per week.
Mobile phones today are capable of being controlled by gestures. This allows the products developed by the company eyeSight Mobile Technologiess, in particular its gesture interfacing solutions. They enable the control of mobile devices using the camera part, real-time image processing and vision algorithms. Soon, our entire environment will be capable of interpreting our gestures. This will allow a segment of the population to also benefit from computers. Indeed, engineers from the University of Washington in 2010, have developed the first device capable of transmitting American Sign Language via cellular telephone networks with a mobile phone. This tool complements the initial field test of participants in the university's summer program for deaf and hard of hearing students. The MobileASL team worked to optimize compressed video signals for sign language. By increasing the image quality around the face and hands, the researchers were able to reduce the data rate by up to 30 kbps while delivering intelligible sign language. MobileASL also uses motion detection to determine whether a person is signing or not, in order to extend the phone's battery life during video use.
8) CONTEXT-SENSITIVE COMPUTING
Small, portable devices that are always connected and equipped with low-power sensors could be the sign of a new class of contextual gadgets that would be more like personal companions. Such devices could anticipate our moods, be aware of our feelings and make suggestions about them.
"Context-sensitive computing is fundamentally changing the way we interact with our devices," said Justin Rattner, Intel CTO. "The devices of the future will learn more about us, our day, where we are and where we want to go. They'll even know who likes you and who doesn't like you. Context-sensitive computing is different from the simple sensor-based applications we see on today's smartphones. For example, consumers can use an application and search for restaurants based on proximity, cuisine and price. A context-sensitive device would have a similar function that will know which restaurants you've chosen in the past, how you liked the food, and make suggestions for nearby restaurants based on those preferences. In addition, it would be integrated into maps and other programs in the device. Researchers have been working for two decades to make computers more attuned to their users. This means that computers can feel and react to their environment. Once this is done, such devices would be so synchronized with their owners that the former would be a natural extension of the latter.
There is already a TV remote control capable of learning the user's favourite programmes by "sensing" the user's choices. Subsequently, simply touching this remote control will command the opening of such TV programmes. Intel is interested in contextual computing. After Gartner, which has been predicting for several months that contextual computing will soon be on the horizon, Intel is now taking over, with a few concrete demonstrations to back it up. For the record, contextual computing is a vision of future technologies that will automatically adapt to the user's context, whether "physical" (location provided by GPS, movement detected by accelerometers, image of the environment captured by a camera ...) or "logical" (web browsing habits, network of friends and acquaintances, calendar ...). For the manufacturer, this is a huge opportunity to develop the uses of its sensor and processor ranges, the former enabling the context ("physical") to be captured and the latter to be analysed and exploited.
But Intel researchers are also interested in how to integrate the "logical" context into the available body of information, as well as relevant models for customizing the user experience (how and to what extent the context can affect how an application works). Not forgetting to take into account consumer behaviours and preferences, in order to ensure the acceptability of the solutions that may be proposed. Convinced that context is a key to the computing of the future, Intel presented some prototypes resulting from its reflections, among which a personal travel assistant, developed with Fodorwhich takes into account the holidaymaker's preferences, his position, what he has already done, his schedule, etc., to recommend his next activity. For banks (and other companies), these ideas may seem a bit futuristic, but the example of applications exploiting geolocation shows that adoption can be extremely rapid, opening up opportunities for the most innovative players. The recommendation that can be made is therefore to be prepared, as a few years ago, when Gartner advised companies to include geolocation information in their data models, even if it was not immediately exploited. This preparation will also have to take into account consumer expectations and identify the boundaries that should not be crossed to avoid rejection reactions.
9) THE SMART GRID
The new World Economic Forum report identifies smart power grids as the key to a greener economy. The Smart Grid has become an essential vehicle for a low-carbon economy and a response to growing energy demand. Today, 40% of energy is consumed to generate electricity, yet electrical systems are based on technologies that are more than 50 years old. Today's obsolete power grids require smart grids, a dramatic upgrade to be able to support the energy needs of the 21st century.
To fight against disinformation and to favour analyses that decipher the news, join the circle of UP' subscribers.
Governments have begun to recognize the importance of smart grids as a catalyst for a range of low-carbon technologies and increasingly see smart grids as an investment in strategic infrastructure. In the past year, China alone has spent $7.3 billion on smart grid development, while the United States has invested $4.5 billion in a fiscal stimulus package dedicated to smart grid activities. As a result, a growing number of pilot projects for the implementation of smart power grids are underway around the world.
In Japan, the deployment of smart grids capable of automatically regulating the distribution of electricity is considered by the Japanese government as one of the essential actions to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions. By introducing information technology tools at all levels of the network, it is possible to control the electricity consumption of each device. At the industrial level, this is reflected in the development of "smart meters" and other devices to measure consumption in real time. Recently, Fujitsu has unveiled a power strip capable of measuring the consumption of each of the appliances connected to it. The smart grids should also allow for better integration of small power generation units, whose number is growing with the accelerated deployment of photovoltaic systems and fuel cells in homes and businesses. These smart grids cannot be built without the coordination of the various players at the national and even international level. The Japanese government has therefore recently announced a number of actions in this direction. On 8 April 2010, the METI announced the upcoming launch of four full-scale smart grid testing projects. It has selected four sites among twenty candidates: the city of Yokohama (Kanagawa), the city of Toyota (Aichi), the city of Kita-Kyushu (Fukuoka) and Kansai Science City, a research hub that spans Kyoto, Osaka and Nara counties. France, which is the world's 8th largest investor in this sector, with €250 million in planned investments, is making step-by-step progress in smartgrid: while ERDF is installing the first Linky communicating electricity meters in Lyon and Indreet-Loire, and EDF is working on an energy management test in Brittany via its subsidiary Edelia, another experiment, called Premio and initiated by the competitiveness cluster, is also underway. Capénergieswill enter the experimentation phase at the end of June in Lambesc (Bouches-du-Rhône) for a period of one year. The aim is to study the management of energy resources and needs on a local authority's network.
A recent 2010 study by the CleanTech Group and Deloitte reports an impressive turnaround in venture capital investment in the cleantech sector. In the first quarter of 2010, there were a record number of deals made by companies with venture capitalists in this field around the world, with 81% of this result for North America alone, and more specifically California and Oregon alone totalling more than $1 billion of investment between them. This is in stark contrast to the apparent mood of the industry: all eyes were on solar at the beginning of the year, with investments in 2009 down from the previous year's 64%. In fact, it was the transport sector that made the biggest surge in California with $520 million invested, thanks in particular to the performance of Better Place ($350 million of investments). Better Place is an American-Israeli startup, led by Shai Agassi, a former SAP employee, which is positioning itself in the electric passenger car sector and whose particularity is to develop the infrastructure of charging stations where cars can directly change their batteries rather than waiting for the time to recharge. The company is working with Renault-Nissan, which supplies it with electric vehicles.
The second largest investment in the sector is made at Fisker Automotivea manufacturer of electric cars in the very high-end segment, with $140 million. Fisker is positioning itself on a market similar to that of Tesla Motors, by adopting a much more discreet communication strategy than the latter. In this respect, it is important to recall that Tesla recently secured a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy for the construction of an additional plant. This loan from the US government had been made according to Steven Chu, former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) and current US Secretary of Energy, with the aim of supporting the development of electric transport and at the same time reducing the United States' dependence on oil. It should be noted that Coda Automotivewhich is recovering $30 million in investments for its batteries and electric vehicles, and Coulomb Technologies (14 million), which is developing charging stations for electric vehicles.
The conclusion on transportation is that investment companies are gaining confidence and following the government's lead. Consequently, we can expect an acceleration of developments and, finally, the creation of many jobs in this sector. The solar sector is not to be outdone, with $322 million invested in the first quarter worldwide, more than a quarter of which was in California and Oregon: SpectraWattbased in Oregon, has secured more than $40 million in investment for its polycrystalline silicon photovoltaic cell developments. This is also the amount recovered by Enphase Energy to develop its micro-inverters for solar panels. The third sector, that of Energy Efficiency, totals 220 million invested, notably in companies developing light-emitting diodes in other regions of the world. On the other hand, it is interesting to note the absence of Californian players in energy storage, biobased fuels and smart grids. We need to put smart grids into perspective because Silver Springs Network had ended the year on a $100-million round of financing. And Amyrisin bio-fuels, has just secured $47 million in venture capital.
On the other hand, the storage sector may still appear difficult and risky to investors, which is probably why a large number of projects on this subject are financed by the Advanced Reseach Project Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), an agency set up by the DoE in 2007 to finance the development of risky technologies with a high return on investment ("high risk - high reward"). With 70% of US clean-tech investment and 55% of global investment, the US West Coast is consolidating its position as the leader in this field for venture capital-type financing. By comparison, this region received more than 4 times the investments made in Europe and Israel combined this quarter, and more than 15 times those made in China.
When it comes to health, it must be acknowledged that we are the best protected in the world and our medicine is one of the most effective. But, on the other hand, it is expensive and France has some "therapeutic desert areas", particularly in our countryside. Yes, but the wired and cellular telephone network covers the whole of France, including the Internet, and electronics are making spectacular leaps in miniaturization. As a result, e-health or telemedicine is developing. And the fields are vast, for example, teleprescription, which allows the dematerialization of medical prescriptions and thus avoids unnecessary travel, or telemonitoring. It consists in remotely monitoring people thanks to sensors that detect positions, behaviour, the functioning of vital organs and even geolocation.
As an example, a pilot project is underway at the Moulins-Yzeure Hospital Center, following an agreement between Orange and Intel. The aim is to set up a telehealth system to support and improve the care of patients suffering from chronic respiratory insufficiency from hospitalisation to follow-up at home. Its ambition is to be reproducible and to demonstrate the principle, in particular through the implementation of a home medical monitoring device of the type Intel® Health Guide. The latter, or its equivalent, which we could very well have at home by 2015, connects patients and the health care team via a link such as cable, ADSL, wireless or simple PSTN line. Health providers can consult and collect data remotely. And patients can take their blood pressure, hold videoconferences with their doctors, and be reassured without having to go anywhere.
But e-health goes even further. The implementation of a very high-speed network has revolutionised the way medicine works in the Pays de Loire region. For example, thanks to the interconnection between 7 CHUs (University Hospital Centres) with 6 CHs (Hospital Centres), more than 850 hours of videoconferencing per month enable doctors from different specialities, spread across the Grand Ouest, to meet twice a month, via a "virtual table". The goal? To agree on therapeutic cancer strategies for patients. As a result, this practice is now recognized by thes National Cancer Institute (CNIB) who believes it should be duplicated throughout the hex. On the other hand, thanks to the SITE (Syndicat Interhospitalier de Télécommunications de Santé des Pays de la Loire), the treatment of emergencies in traumatology and neurology has been metamorphosed. By sending digitised scans of an accident victim from an emergency department to experts at a remote university hospital, via the same very high-speed network, the decision will be made whether to stabilise the patient on site, transport him or her by ambulance, or take him or her by helicopter. This is a vital issue today, which avoids unnecessary transfers. Finally, this network also allows surgeons from the CH de Laval, in the context of coronary angioplasty operations, to be able to operate while having access to real-time assistance from fellow specialists from the CHU d'Angers, via a videoconferencing solution installed in the block.
e-Health with e-training :
The medical world is therefore a world where the pace of innovation is the fastest. What patients want to benefit from as quickly as possible, and which requires the doctor to work in a team, even at a distance. For Professor Alexandre Mignon, from the Cochin Hospital, "we must train tomorrow's professionals using new digital techniques". He has therefore created "iLUMENS"The University Medical Teaching Laboratory based on Digital and Simulation Technologies, a multidisciplinary laboratory targeting initial, specialized and continuing medical training, developed at the initiative of Paris Descartes University and its Faculty of Medicine. With the help of dummies covered with sensors, representing an adult, a pregnant woman or an infant, scenarios of real or extremely rare situations are reproduced so that emergency physicians, anaesthetists, etc. can learn to react effectively. Surgeons can also train for laparoscopy, cardiology operations, ...thanks to 3D simulation consoles with immersion, practitioners who find the resistance, the constraints, the sensations of strength of the "bodies"... Finally, if you want to master a dissection without a scalpel, you can use the 3D simulation consoles, you will be able to travel in 3D at iLUMENS, through a virtual body and learn anatomy by "removing" skin, nerves, organs...
In 2028, the medical practice will be no more. The doctor will be able to have medical examinations carried out remotely and by videoconference in homes or specific locations such as in rooms set up in shopping centres. Not forgetting that robotics will play a major role in this universe. There are already today, in 2010, operational surgical robots. In 20 years' time, they will act as personal assistants and home nurses.
12) ELECTRONIC PAPER OR E-PAPER
Flexible and colourful electronic paper is the subject of numerous studies and prototypes. The aim is to replace traditional paper from forestry with a more durable and multi-purpose element, which is more economical, less energy consuming and therefore allows the design of lighter electronic devices. All Asian manufacturers are in this market. And the latest information comes from South Korea and Japan. LG has announced 9.7-inch e-paper colour displays for its tablets and handheld devices. Pending the arrival of a 19-inch for a mass market. And Sony presented a prototype which instead of using a glass substrate, uses a plastic substrate, which is lighter and more bendable. The major advantage here is that theThe screen in this case is very difficult to fit in the event of a fall. and that it's possible to roll it up like a newspaper.
On an industrial level, Fujitsu has launched a guidance system for out-of-hospital patients using electronic paper. The device is designed to be used during check-in processes in medical facilities. Through a wireless communication system, wearers are displayed on their device containing their electronic medical record, a navigation map that guides them to the examination rooms. Patients can thus see their place in the queues and be alerted for their consultation by a visual and vibration display. For the medical profession, this reduces the number of fixed terminals on the premises, allows them to concentrate more on care because patients outside are self-guided, and reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions.