Post #34: Three interesting things you may have missed…

Summer holidays are (almost) over and many, including your author, are now back at their desks, feeling as if they have never been away. The future marches on relentless. From the overflowing inbox that greeted our return to the office, we have curated below three stories of interest that play to several of the themes we actively follow and believe will only grow in importance over time – 

1: Robots at home and in the family: Forget trade wars for a moment and take the time (as we did) to read Huawei’s ‘Global Industry Vision’ document, published annually, and calling out its 10 key mega trends. Number-one on the list is the growth of home robots, with global penetration of such devices set to reach 14% by 2025, versus less than 2% today. Better technology and increased demand will be responsible for driving the growth, with companionship (especially for older generations) and services (a glorified butler, which could, say, make coffee or dispense drugs) set to be the key market segments.  

2: Improved healthcare monitoring: We all care about our health and two prototype innovations just launched out of California set out to improve how we understand our bodies. ‘Bodynet’ from Stanford University is a sensor made out of metallic ink laid on top of a flexible material like an adhesive bandage. The system is apparently sensitive enough to detect body changes on a heartbeat-by-heartbeat basis. Over at Berkeley University, scientists are working on a different approach aimed at achieving a similar outcome, using a sensor to monitor physiological changes based on how much people sweat. The healthcare industry (and insurance companies) are watching closely.

3: Travel to Mars: While we can imagine a growing ubiquity of robots and healthcare monitoring, conceiving of trips to Mars is somewhat harder. However, this reality took a step closer this week. SpaceX (owned by Elon Musk) flew is prototype rocket ‘Starhopper’ further and longer than ever before. Starhopper used just one engine, while engineers involved in the project believe that the ultimate vehicle will have as many as three engines. SpaceX is confident that its vehicles will be capable of flights carrying up to 100 people to Mars before the end of this decade. Watch this space, but don’t go booking your ticket just yet!


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