CW @ WIRED2015

Wired 2015 magazine resized

Last Friday CW was lucky enough to get access to Day 2 of WIRED2015 conference. Unsurprisingly it was bizarre, wacky and downright bonkers at times but utterly compelling. It’s Wired…what would you expect?! Here are some of the highlights;

Space exploration was a hot topic on the day and two speakers of note left many of us looking to the heavens in awe. The first was Ryan Weed from Positron Dynamics who wowed the audience with his talk on harnessing annihilation (the pure energy that results from positrons and electrons colliding) to power the fastest spacecraft in human history. These ‘anti-matter rockets’ could allow us to become an interstellar species reaching planets like Pluto in months and other star systems within our lifetime.

The second was Eyal Gever who is an artist by profession but speaks fluent code. He addressed delegates at the conference to discuss his latest project to digitise a human laugh, beam it to the international space station where it will then be 3D printed and orbit the earth. A space cadet maybe, but his ambition and determination to get this project off the ground was undoubtedly infectious and this is by no means a pipe dream – NASA are in collaboration!

Back down to earth however and perhaps the most significant phase of the conference was ‘Building Social Impact’ which took place before the lunch break. We heard from Martha Lane Fox – a trailblazer for women in technology offering up a battle cry for more women to come out of the woodwork and become ‘digital warriors’. Carlo Ratti was equally inspiring with his talk on sharing mobility. Imagine a world where everyone can travel on demand with just 30% of the number of vehicles currently on roads today. According to Ratti this is the future connected city if we embrace the sharing economy that is espoused by the likes of Uber and AIRBNB. So much of a visionary is Ratti that Wired apparently have a quota on how many of his stories they can feature.

In the refreshment breaks delegates were treated to the delights of the Telefonica Open Future Test Labs. This smorgasbord of tech gadgetry included virtual reality headsets, smart glasses, drones and even a bond villain’s car. Of particular interest was the stand of Discovering Start Ups winner; GiveVision. Stan Karpenko (CEO) and his team had a mock-up of a supermarket aisle along with a pair of Vuzix M100 smart glasses set up to blur delegate’s vision and give them the sense of what it’s like to be visually impaired. With the innovative start-ups software the user is able to pick up an object from the shelf and with audio feedback from the glasses successfully recognize that object. The prototype has been already been rigorously tested on hundreds of blind participants and it’s going to be incredibly exciting to watch the journey towards commercialisation.

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