Wouldn’t it be really cool to work as a futurist? To get paid big bucks to dream up high-tech stuff? And for a company that can actually make your visions come true?
In this interview, CNET’s Brian Cooley talks to Brian David Johnson, Intel’s futurist, about technological futurism and what we can expect 10-15 years from now. Not surprisingly, Johnson mentions how sci-fi influences and fuels our technology.
You’ll also catch a preview of future stuff that Intel is currently cooking at their R&D Labs.
The four-year project Integrated Cognitive Assistive & Domotic Companion Robotic Systems for Ability & Security (aka CompanionAble) ended recently. Its aim was to integrate robotics and ambient intelligence to help elderly people afflicted with early dementia to live more independently. The project received € 7.8M in funding and began in January 1, 2008.
Hector (official name: Scitos G3), a mobile robot developed by Metralabs Robotics, runs around a fully-functional smart home designed by Stichting Smart Homes. Hector interacts with people via verbal commands as well as a touchscreen interface. It can carry small items, such as keys, but primarily acts as a coach and a companion. Hector gives out reminders, encouragements, and suggestions geared toward physical, social, and cognitive stimulation of the user. It can, for example, remind the user of his appointments or when it is time to take his medicine. It can also suggest activities like playing a game or making a call.
To test the system, several memory impaired elderly people and their partners were invited to live in the smart home with Hector for two days. According to Claire Huijnen: “All participants were very positive about their experience. Even those who hesitated at first, or thought it was a bit scary, saw their attitude change completely. Already after one day, both patients and their partners recognized and felt the benefits and added value of a robot buddy that physically comes to you and talks to you.”
While there are still many things to improve, CompanionAble has opened the way for home-care robots and smart homes to be accepted. “From the huge amount of observations, opinions, and findings, we have learned that there are still many things to improve, but more importantly that people accept it and like it!” added Hujinen.
If you find making your bed in the morning a tedious chore, then good news for you. Spanish firm OHEA has come up with a smart bed that will make itself within 50 seconds after you get up.
How does it work? The bottom sheet is attached via Velcro to the mattress cover, keeping the sheet in place. A mechanical arm on each side of the bed includes a roller which carries the blanket to the head of the bed. The pillows are lifted as the blanket approaches, then lowered once the blanket has been placed underneath.
A switch at the foot of the bed allows the bed’s self-straightening function to be set manually or automatically. If you’re too lazy busy to manually activate the bed, you can just set it to ‘automatic’ and the bed will make itself three seconds after you get out of the bed.
For safety reasons, the self-straightening mode won’t activate if pressure is applied or if someone is still in the bed.
See OHEA’s smart bed in action:
The smart beds and their specialty beddings will be available in five sizes beginning next month. Prices will be announced later.
Personally, I don’t think this bed is for me. Sure, the novelty factor is nice. But I like sticking my feet out of the blanket, putting my feet up on a pillow, and hugging another pillow. Besides, the blanket moving by itself makes me feel as if I have a resident ghost in my bedroom. How about you?