Futures Centre: Cool Stuff

Cool stuff

Do you like 'cool stuff'? We do!

On this page you will find links to open source material that we find interesting and thought provoking.

Forget sperm and eggs, researchers have created embryo stem cells from skin cells

Material Manipulation

A new, groundbreaking study by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) found a way to transform skin cells into the three major stem cell types that comprise early-stage embryos. This work has significant implications for modelling embryonic disease and placental dysfunctions, as well as paving the way to create whole embryos from skin cells.

China conducting world-first trial of brain implants to treat drug addiction

Augmentation

Scientists in China are conducting a world-first clinical trial of deep brain stimulation (DBS) on drug addicts, in the hope that the technology will extinguish addiction, quite literally, with the flip of a switch.

State of the Climate 2018: Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO

Environmental impact

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO have released their fifth biennial State of the Climate report.

SpiNNaker

Digitisation

'SpiNNaker is unique because, unlike traditional computers, it doesn't communicate by sending large amounts of information from point A to B via a standard network. Instead it mimics the massively parallel communication architecture of the brain, sending billions of small amounts of information simultaneously to thousands of different destinations'.

Biosphere Farm 25 Feet Under The Sea - Nemo's Garden

Environmental impact

Nemo's Garden is an alternative system of agriculture, especially dedicated to those areas where environmental conditions, economical or morphologic reasons make plants growth extremely difficult.

This plastic-eating enzyme could save our planet

Environmental impact

Scientists have discovered bacteria at a bottle recycling plant in Japan whose main food source is plastic and extracted an enzyme that breaks PET plastic down into its building blocks.

GM Will Launch Robocars Without Steering Wheels Next Year

Automation

After more than a century making vehicles for humans to drive, General Motors has ripped the heart out of its latest ride, and is now holding the grisly spectacle up for all the world to see: A car with no steering wheel.

World Economic Forum

Augmentation

Jack Ma says only by changing education can our children compete with machines.

Nissan tech allows a car to read your mind to boost reaction times

Automation

Nissan's latest research project is 'brain-to-vehicle' (aka 'B2V') tech that could have your next car anticipating your driving reactions before you can even translate them into a turn of the wheel or applying the brake.

A small chemical reactor made via 3-D printing allows for making drugs on-demand

Material Manipulation

A team of researchers at the University of Glasgow has developed a system based on 3-D printing reactor modules for creating pharmaceuticals on demand.

A new blood test can detect eight different cancers in their early stages

Environmental Impact

Researchers have developed a blood test that can detect the presence of eight common cancers.

1 billion drones in world by 2030

Automation

Drones will become the most disruptive technology in human history, American futurist Thomas Frey says, predicting that by the year 2030, there will be 1 billion drones in the world doing things people cannot yet imagine.

Apple health data used in murder trial

Connection

Health data has provided crucial evidence at a trial in Germany.

33 dramatic predictions for 2030

Emerging trends

Humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in all of human history.

Wind power is now cheaper than nuclear

Environmental Impact

The energy revolution is happening.

What 'smart cities' do to stay ahead

Digitisation

Smart cities create a symbiosis between information, the Internet of Things and technologies to make better decisions and provide desired services.

Spycloud

Connection

Wondering whether any of your online accounts or passwords have been hacked? Spycloud is an excellent, free service that allows you to check. Super simple and essential.

Getting ready for the future of work

Automation

Artificial intelligence is poised to disrupt the workplace. What will the company of the future look like—and how will people keep up?

Researchers Enable People to Compose Music With Only Their Brains

Augmentation

Austrian researchers have successfully built a brain reading device that allows professional composers to create their own melodies using only their thoughts.

Europe's refugee crisis is making headlines, but Latin America's is just as alarming

Demographic change and migration

Europe's refugee crisis is making headlines, but Latin America's is just as alarming.

The world is facing a global sand crisis

environmental impact

The world is facing a global sand crisis.

Cops use murdered woman's Fitbit to charge her husband

digitisation

Cops use murdered woman's Fitbit to charge her husband.

Good news in science: youth positivity and roads made with recycled plastic

connection

Good news in science: youth positivity and roads made with recycled plastic.

Laying roads using waste plastic, teleportation takes another beam forward, and just how optimistic are young people about the future? Stick around to the end of this good news report from bioinformatician and cancer researcher Tané Hunter, of Future Crunch, and you'll also hear how far things have progressed in treating HIV/AIDS. The fortnightly injection of positivity from science and technology is here!

Managing the Machines: building a new applied science for the 21st century

augmentation

Informative view of Genevieve Bell, Professor of Engineering and Computer Science at The Australian National University. If the nineteenth century was about the evolution from mechanisation to industrialisation, and the twentieth century was about a move from electrification to computing; then we are surely in the midst of another significant shift from digitization to a fully data-centric world. Some label this the 4th wave of industrialisation, with emergent technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, all taking advantage of rich data layers, and increased processing power.

New Study Confirms That the Future of Data Storage Is in DNA

digitisation

DNA contains information about a living organism. It codes everything in an living being. That's why it makes sense for corporations like Microsoft to invest in research that studies how DNA can be used to store data.

Robot-run hotels show why the next industrial revolution will be heartless

automation

Robot-run hotels show why the next industrial revolution will be heartless

World's first fully electric autonomous ship

environmental impact

Container ships release huge amounts of highly damaging pollutants, linked to 50,000 premature deaths per year in Europe.

AI uses bitcoin trail to find and help sex-trafficking victims

transnational crime

After Kubiiki Pride's 13-year-old daughter disappeared, it took 270 days for her mother to find her. When she did, it was as an escort available to be rented out on an online classified web site. Her daughter had been drugged and beaten into compliance by a sex trafficker.

Bullet stopping foam body armour

material manipulation

This foam stops bullets cold and pulverizes them to dust.

Microchipping at work: US employees get voluntarily implanted at staff 'chip party'

digitisation

Employees of a Wisconsin technology company who received a microchip implant in their hand said they felt only a brief sting during the procedure.

Here's what smart cities do to stay ahead

connection

Smart cities create a symbiosis between information, the Internet of Things and technologies to make better decisions and provide desired services.

7 amazing technologies we'll see by 2030

digitisation

The World Economic forum surveyed over 800 tech experts and executives to find out what the future will actually look like. Here are 7 amazing technologies they think they world will see by 2030.

AR3000 Series of Smart Glasses with Waveguide Optics

augmentation

These future models will feature Vuzix' revolutionary see-through waveguide technology with optics that look like regular glass lenses only 2.0 mm thick.

IBM scientists have captured 330TB of uncompressed data into a tiny cartridge

digitisation

In a new world record, scientists at IBM have captured 330 terabytes of uncompressed data — or the equivalent of 330 million books — into a cartridge that can fit into the palm of your hand.

Why the adventure is just beginning for artificial intelligence

automation

We are about to witness much wider implications of artificial intelligence on the economy, society and business.

Opinion: Forget "digital natives." Here's how the kids are really using the Internet

digitisation

The different ways in which parents handle their kids' use of technology are creating three distinct types of tech users — and setting the stage for a clash of cultures, says writer Alexandra Samuel.

Michelin unveils Vision 3D-printed, recyclable, biodegradable concept tire

material manipulation

It's a convergence of technologies Michelin is researching. Its tread is rechargeable via 3D printing, which allows it to be altered quickly for various seasons or use cases. It's also connected, equipped with sensors that provide real-time information about its condition.

Elevated transit bus – dead in its tracks?

environmental impact

A car straddling bus designed in China which took the internet by storm could be completely dead in its tracks.

Paying with your face

automation

Face-detecting systems in China now authorize payments, provide access to facilities, and track down criminals. Will other countries follow?

A new startup just proved that Blockchain is going to utterly transform our future

connection

Like any beloved '90s sitcom, ConsenSys, an Ethereum development firm, is getting a spin-off. However, unlike "Joey," this one is poised to be a success.

Hitachi built an AI security system that follows you through a crowd

automation

A new AI security system for airports can pick out every little detail about you. And then it follows you.

Fighting crime with slack

connection

How the Hartford Police Department gathers intelligence in real time.

Cybersecurity pros will soon patrol computer networks like agents in the matrix

augmentation

Security analysts could soon become the first employees asked to show up to work inside virtual reality.

Eerie tech promises to copy anyone's voice from just 1 minute of audio

Digitisation

The company says its API will let you synthesize speech in anyone's voice from just a minute-long recording.

Augmented War: New Combat Helmets Are Equipped With Microsoft's HoloLens

Augmentation

LimpidArmor's CRS is integrated with cameras outside a tank to give the wearer a 360-degree view of both optical and thermal systems without exposing them to additional risk.

Britain goes a day without coal-fired power for first time since the 1880s

Environmental impact

Britain goes a day without coal-fired power for first time since the 1880s. The country has gone without coal-produced power numerous times before, but never for an entire day.

Young guns take charge of Europe's mafia clans – with deadly results

Transnational crime

Efficient law enforcement strategies have left a vast vacuum in the Camorra, which a younger, more reckless generation of aspiring clan leaders are now vying to fill.

Dubai Wants Robots to Make up 25% of Its Police Force by 2030

Automation

Robotic police officers or soldiers are old sci-fi idea, but they are becoming more and more of a reality.

World's first elevated transit bus debuts in China

Environmental impact

Straddling vehicles and soaring over traffic, the bus is designed to help combat gridlock by letting passengers soar over the tops of cars on the increasingly-congested roads of China's major cities.

Japan's elderly turning to a life of crime

Demographic change and migration

Japan's elderly turn to life of crime to ease cost of living. Crime figures show that about 35 per cent of shoplifting offences are committed by people over 60.

See the cyborg system that lets humans control turtles with their minds

Augmentation

By accessing an animal's instincts, researchers may be able to guide their behaviours without physically invasive operations.

Army Unveils 3-D Printed Grenade Launcher

Material manipulation

Most components, including ammunition, were made from scratch.…

Goodbye boarding pass, hello fingerprints

Automation

How biometrics is changing travel. The rise of biometrics could one day allow travellers to use their fingerprints or face scan to navigate airports. Imagine this: You arrive at the airport with your expertly packed carry-on, stroll past security without showing your ID, and head straight to your gate. Once there, you get on the plane.

The new travel boom: Why your next holiday won't be where you expect

Demographic change and migration

Why your next holiday won't be where you expect.

How the blockchain is helping stop the spread of conflict diamonds

Digitisation

Leanne Kemp's Everledger uses blockchain to track features such as diamond cut and quality, as well as monitoring diamonds from war zones

Artificial intelligence can now predict heart failure, and that may save lives

Automation

An artificial intelligence system has accurately predicted when patients with heart conditions will die, according to new results published.

Smart TV hack embeds attack code into broadcast signal—no access required

Digitisation

Demo exploit is inexpensive, remote, scalable—and opens door to more advanced hacks.

What Biosecurity and Cybersecurity Research Have in Common

Material manipulation

Biosecurity and cybersecurity research share an unusual predicament: Efforts to predict and defend against emerging threats often expose and create vul…

Inside the Hunt for Russia's Most Notorious Hacker

Connection

Slavik was like a phantom, stealing money from US banks—and information for Russian spies.

Watch a swarm of 100 drones being dropped from fighter jets

Automation

Once launched, the swarm can decide for itself how best to execute a mission.

Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse but the rest of the world isn't listening

Demographic change and migration

In Iceland, teenage smoking, drinking and drug use have been radically cut in the past 20 years. Why won't other countries follow suit?

Who Killed the Smart Gun?

Material manipulation

Watch Motherboard's new documentary.

As artificial intelligence evolves, so does its criminal potential

Automation

The next generation of online attack tools used by criminals will add machine learning capabilities pioneered by AI researchers.

Note: Links provided to other internet sites do not constitute endorsement of the information at those sites, or any associated person, organisation, product or service.

 

National Security Hotline

Visit the AFP Futures Centre

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

Platypus Online: Read. Discover. Enjoy.