The Future Is Now
The New York City skyline is one of the most famous in the world. But if you look closely, there’s a new shape that’s starting to stand out. That shape? Slender.
“Land is very scarce, especially in the most desirable parts in the city,” says Manhattan real estate developer Michael Stern. “That’s why you’re seeing this trend of taller buildings being built on smaller parcels of land.”
Stern’s real estate firm, JDS Development Group, along with co-partner, PMG , have a project that takes the idea of slender to a new level. It will even top the HighCliff in Hong Kong, currently the most slender in the world.
If all goes according to plan, a lot located at 111 West 57th Street in midtown Manhattan, will be the future home of the skinniest skyscraper in the world. The building will sit on a lot just 60 feet wide, but will soar to an incredible height – taller than the rooftop of the Empire State Building.
At the University of North Dakota, one of the country’s largest collegiate flight schools, they’re flying something different: Drones.
By 2018, just five years from now, the FAA projects that 7500 drones, or unmanned aircraft, could be flying in U.S. airspace. And the University of North Dakota hopes to be supplying many of their pilots.
The University of North Dakota’s aviation program at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences is huge and internationally prestigious. They train helicopter pilots, air traffic controllers, and they fly hundreds of flights a day from Grand Forks airport making it the 23rd-busiest in the United States, despite having only six commercial flights.
The Unmanned Aviation Systems major, which started in 2009, now has 134 undergraduates. And it’s one of the fastest-growing majors.
“Our school has always been entrepreneurial,” says Bruce Smith, dean of the Odegard School. “So there’s always been a connection between the degrees our students get and the jobs and the careers that are available out in the industry.”
Sixty miles from the Canadian border, the village of Newberry, Michigan has about 1500 people. And one general surgeon that serves all of them: Dr. Richard Armstrong.
“Newberry has a very small town community atmosphere. It does feel isolated sometimes, but it’s a good place,” he says.
While living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan can mean small town charm, it can also mean isolation for a profession like medicine, where specialists have become so important.
How does Dr. Armstrong handle it?
Sermo – a “Facebook” for Doctors
Welcome to the online world of Sermo – a kind of Facebook for doctors that lets them get second opinions and help diagnose cases from a community of 200,000 physicians.
“Now you can ask a whole community of doctors all over the country, ‘What do you think of this?’ and they can answer you freely,” says Dr. Armstrong.
That includes the isolated physicians of the Floating Doctors mission in Panama.
The recent New York City road rage attack, viewed by millions and igniting national media attention, shows bikers surrounding an SUV. To escape, the SUV’s driver, Alexian Lien, drives over one of the bikers, seriously injuring him. Numerous arrests have been made – including, shockingly, off-duty police – and the investigation continues.
Texas Armoring, a company based in San Antonio, Texas, believes it could have helped protect Lien, who was yanked from his car, and beaten in front of his wife and two-year-old daughter.
Are Drivers Safe?
Following the road rage incident, Texas Armoring received an influx of phone calls from concerned citizens. Jason Forston, Texas Armoring’s Executive Vice President, said he wasn’t surprised by the way the NYC road rage video lit up his phone lines: “The common thread that we heard when people were calling in was, ‘This country is not safe.’ ‘I don’t feel safe in my vehicle.’ ‘I want to protect my family.’”
What do you call Homaro Cantu? A chef? A scientist? Or maybe an inventor? After all, who uses liquid nitrogen to make ice cream?
Speaking of desserts, Cantu's latest fixation deals with making foods taste sweet.
"How do you replicate the sweetness, the richness of desserts without sugar?" asks Cantu. The answer: It's all about tricking your taste buds to make sour things sweet.
Cantu has opened two of Chicago's most groundbreaking restaurants: Moto and iNG. But now he wants to broaden his reach, taking his scientific approach to flavor changing to revolutionize the sweet foods we love to eat.
[Related: What the Heck is Clean Eating?]
"I'm really focusing on the future of food which is paved with opportunities,” he said.
The Miracle Berry
Cantu first developed his interest in changing food flavors to help a chemotherapy patient whose treatment made every meal taste metallic.
We have all been there before. Enjoying a burger or French fries…and plop. A big blob of ketchup drips on your clothes. But thanks to Army physical scientist, Quoc Truong, you may not have to worry about your dry cleaning bill ever again!
Truong and his team have been working on “self-cleaning clothing” for the past five years at the U.S. Army Soldier Research, Development, & Engineering Center in Natick, Massachusetts. Truong’s dream: clothing that won’t get dirty in the first place!
The U.S. Army has about a million soldiers including active duty, reservists and National Guard. Each soldier is issued five uniforms. With the constant wear and tear that uniforms undergo in the field - that's a lot of laundry!
We’ve all been there. You’re in the perfect little boutique, on the hunt for the perfect little outfit. All the mixing, matching and accessorizing that happens is enough to leave you exhausted. And, perhaps momentarily, never wanting to step foot in a store again.
But consider this: a shopping platform where you can try as many outfits and accessories you want.. without ever kicking off your shoes. Thanks to entrepreneur Linda Smith and her startup FaceCake Marketing Technologies, that possibility is now reality.
Based in Calaba sa s, California, FaceCake has found a powerful way to try on clothes in the digital era. The result, around 8 years in the making, is Swivel – a technology for trying on clothing and much more.
“We’ve been working on it for a long time doing all kinds of visualization software. Through all that work and hardcore development, we’ve come up with a really good system. It’s instant, it’s easy, you can play around without taking any risks, combine products, get advice from friends and buy it,” says Smith.
How Does It Work?
Students listen up! If you are used to passing notes, tapping out texts or even sneaking in quick conversations when you’re supposed to be working on fractions…beware! Those kinds of activities could be a thing of the past - or at the very least, closely monitored - in the biometric classroom of the future.
On a quiet block in Queens, New York, a young team of engineers is working on a brave new technology for teachers. A biometric classroom that will track students’ eye movements, monitor their conversations or even measure their smiles. SensorStar Labs co-founder and engineer, Sean Montgomery, believes gleaning information like this - or bio-sensing as he refers to it - from students and giving it to teachers will improve classroom learning. The technology is called EngageSense and uses off-the-shelf webcams to gather the biometric inputs. Then, algorithms repackage the raw data into usable information for teachers, thus giving them additional tools to tailor lesson plans and improve student engagement.
- Sheila Dharmarajan at The Future Is Now2 yrs ago
“Lose the weight instantly!!!” “Erase pounds in seconds!!”
Sound too good to be true? Not if you have an anti-gravity treadmill. The high-tech machine literally “unweights” users, allowing very overweight people to walk or run without pain. The technology started with astronauts, but now it’s making a huge difference in lives across the country.
Anti-gravity and treadmills … How does that work?
The technology was originally conceived in the '90s by two inventors to design effective exercise regimens for NASA’s astronauts. Then it was adapted by AlterG, a company based in Fremont, Calif., for use in training and rehabilitation.
- Sheila Dharmarajan at The Future Is Now2 yrs ago
Ever wonder what it would be like if you could “talk” to your great-great-great-grandchildren? Or listen to Frank Sinatra sing a song that has yet to be written?
That’s the promise of voice cloning — the next generation of text-to-speech technology that could replace the robotic, emotionless computer voices that dominate today. The digital process aims to capture and computerize a person’s distinctive vocal qualities in order to create entirely new speech.
Israel-based startup VivoText is at the forefront of voice-cloning technology. “We are focusing on that conversion from written text to spoken text to be as humanlike as possible,” says founder and CEO Gershon Silbert.
A former concert pianist, Silbert doesn’t believe the robotic voices we are familiar with today (Hello, Siri?) are the future of synthesized speech. Rather, he thinks that computer-generated speech expressing emotion will raise the bar. “The human voice to me is like the ultimate instrument ... to convey anything you would want to convey,” he says.
So how good does a cloned voice sound? According to Silbert, “good and getting better.”
Neal Conan — anytime, anywhere