Digital and Natural Converge

The third big idea of the sixth wave is that the digital and natural worlds will coverge. There are now more transistors produced in a single year than there are ants on the planet – roughly the same as the number of rice grains produced globally each year. In the past, these transistors would have been embedded into microchips that were destined for a life of isolation in a calculator, a car, an alarm clock or a computer. They would have done their job in that particular device, end of story.

But with the sixth wave, something new is happening. These processors are starting to communicate beyond the confines of their device, and are sharing information that has never been shared, or even collected, before. This brings us to the third big idea that will govern how we innovate in a resource-limited world – the convergence of the digital and natural worlds.

Archive for Digital and Natural Converge

Remote monitoring

| May 4, 2010 | 0 Comments

BBC: A network of remote weather stations in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta is allowing scientists to monitor the unpredictable mountain environment for the early warning signs of life-threatening floods or landslides without having to leave their desks. New technology has enabled the solar-powered weather stations to be connected through the mobile phone network, so scientists can [...]

Blog mining

| April 11, 2010 | 0 Comments

The Economist: The vast majority of the millions of blog entries written each day sink into obscurity, read only by their authors, but thanks to research from the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, they may soon have at least one avid reader – a computer. Researchers are hoping to one day ‘data [...]

Printable RFID tag

| March 31, 2010 | 1 Comments

Sick of standing in line at the grocery store waiting for your goods to be painstakingly scanned? Relief may be at hand in the form of printable radio frequency ID (RFID) tags, according to Wired magazine. Researchers from South Korea’s Sunchon National University, and Rice University in Houston have developed a printable RFID tag that uses [...]

Augmented-reality mapping

| March 10, 2010 | 0 Comments

In a stunning demonstration of what happens when the digital and natural worlds converge, Blaise Agüera y Arcas, architect of Bing Maps at Microsoft, test-drives Microsoft’s augmented-reality mapping at TED2010. This integrates satellite images with street-level images taken from cars, eye-level images taken using backpack cameras, still images drawn from Flickr, historical images and even [...]

Remote heart monitoring

| March 8, 2010 | 0 Comments

Our mobile phones are steadily become our digital alter egos, programmed with a huge amount of information about us ranging from our musical tastes to favourite restaurants to bank details. Soon, your mobile phone will start to collect information about you that you might not even be aware of, such as your heart rate. If [...]