Money Weekend’s Technology FutureWatch 31 August 2013



A Meeting of the Minds On Steroids

Next week at the 02 Arena in London the world’s biggest electronic entertainment event will take place. As the organisers say, ‘Campus Party unites the brightest young minds in technology and science under the idea that “the Internet is not a network of computers, it’s a network of people.”

It’s a huge event for the whole week, running 24 hours a day. There will be keynotes from some of the brightest minds in global technology. Previous keynote speakers include Steve Wozniak, Michio Kaku and Al Gore. This year Professor Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland will be a keynote along with one of the men who worked on the ARPANET project, Vint Cerf.

There will also be a mix of technologists, futurists, developers and hackers. The technologies on display and being discussed will include security, big data, robotics, e-health and green tech.

Basically this is a nerd’s dream come true. And that means we’ll be there first hand to find the best breakthrough technologies and views on what the future might hold.

What you also need to recognise is events like this are crucial for the development of technology in the world. Because when you get so many minds together in one space, you can’t help but collaborate with each other. It’s a ‘meeting of the minds’…on steroids (not literally).

And when that kind of collaboration happens, breakthroughs occur, new ventures are formed, and problems are solved.

If we come across truly revolutionary tech we’ll reveal everything to Revolutionary Tech Investor subscribers. But we’ll also share a few pics and snippets of information next weekend. Hopefully it will give you some insight as to just how important events like this are.


No Magic Tricks Here, Turning Carbon into Bricks Is Real

Australia is home to a lot of smart people. I’d go so far to say per capita Australia has more smart people than the world’s technology heavyweight, the US.

This country is good at pioneering new technologies. Sometime there are legitimate world first breakthroughs. And occasionally a billion dollar company spawns from these breakthroughs.

Some examples of previous Autralian breakthroughs include the Cochlear implant, the CSIRO pioneering Wi-Fi, and even Google Maps. Having covered this in more detail back in June, you can scrub up on your Australian tech breakthroughs here.

But profitable companies that develop from technology breakthroughs are few and far between ‘down under’. What usually happens is a larger foreign company swoops in to snaffle up the technology for themselves.

Hopefully sooner rather than later business and government will realise the potential Australia has to stand on its own two feet. Domestic investment and development of homegrown technologies might just be the answer we need to future proof the country economically, as rocky roads lay ahead.

One of the more recent technological breakthroughs is indeed a world-first. The University of Newcastle, GreenMag Group and Orica [ASX: ORI] have had this technology under wraps for six years. Having tested their R&D over this time they’re now ready to unleash a pilot plant.

What this pilot plant is designed to do is, ‘to trial a new technology that transforms captured CO2 emissions into forms of carbonate rock for potential use as new green building materials in the construction industry.

The company running the show is called Mineral Carbonation International Pty Ltd (MCI). Thanks to a $3.04 million funding from the Australian and NSW government and Orica there’s enough cash to last a little while.

It’s encouraging to see another Australian start up established from world-class research. Not only that, but it’s tackling a global problem and providing a clean and green solution.

The end game is to scale the technology to be price competitive and ultimately profitable. Considering they are taking carbon and effectively turning it into bricks, it’s one piece of breakthrough tech we’re hoping is around for the long term. Who knows, one day MCI might even be recognised globally with the same kind of affinity as a company like Cochlear.


The Force Is Strong in These Researchers

Every day science and technology gets a little closer to the mystery of mind control. As projects like BRAIN (funded by the US) and the Human Brain Project (funded by the EU) continue their research we learn more about the most complex machine on earth.

The benefits of this include future advances in computing, microprocessors and technology in general. The medical applications and benefits too are huge. It means we’re on the cusp of breaking through to figuring out diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

One of the more weird aspects of these projects is to understand how to manipulate the brain in the right ways. And one team of researchers at the University of Washington believe they’ve undertaken a world first.

Two of the researchers, Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stocco, hooked up to an electroencephalography (EEG) machine that let them read the others brain waves. The difference being Stocco had a magnetic coil attached to his head that stimulated part of his brain.

What happened next is extraordinary. Rao started to play a video game. But instead of actually moving his hands, he thought about it. He thought about moving his right hand and hitting the spacebar. Instantaneously across the other side of the campus in his office, Stocco involuntarily moved his right hand and triggered the spacebar.

This breakthrough is the first example of humans using a networked connection to control the movements of another. It’s these breakthroughs that reinforce the point we’re truly on the edge of mind-blowing technology in the years to come.

But don’t worry about mind control just yet. This technology only allowed for certain types of movement. It didn’t mean Rao could read Stocco’s thoughts, and it certainly didn’t mean either man had ‘The Force’.

Sam Volkering+
Technology Analyst, Revolutionary Tech Investor

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