04 Jan3 Tech Innovation Nuggets: Stuff worth knowing from The Bankers’ Plumber

There is so much I don’t know and so much amazing innovation going on around us. How to find out about it? Holidays and reading; a time honoured and prized combination. Over Christmas I have been reading the latest edition of Wired magazine. The UK year end double issue is a veritable treasure trove of encouraging developments. Three caught my eye:

what3words

This is a global addressing system. It has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigned each one a unique 3 word address, providing a precise and incredibly simple way to talk about location. Everywhere now has an address.

Thinking about it: Amazing potential for accuracy in logistics. Huge opportunities in travel guides, even interactive ones for bikers up here in the mountains of Eastern Switzerland.

Caventou

Have developed a new kind of stained glass that turns sunlight into electrical energy. The tech is so light sensitive that it absorbs indirect and reflected light.

Thinking about it: You could turn all the windows in the often foggy City of London into an energy source. Now if only we could harness all the hot air that gets spouted in those endless meetings.

The Delivery Man

Robert Langer is a pioneering scientist who specialises in innovative drug delivery methods. With 40 years experience at the forefront of biomedical engineering, he is the most cited engineer in history. His developments range from polymers that hold a drug reservoir and release over time after being swallowed, to micro chips which allow a mix of drugs and can be released according to a schedule over time.

The Wired article is not on-line: similar commentary appeared in the Guardian in October.

Thinking about it: Not taking drugs as prescribed is a big problem, both in terms of health outcomes and costs. Huge potential. I know this first hand: a family member deciding not to take prescribed drugs for depression, then having a breakdown and needing a year to get back on his feet. Another family member needing to take ADHD medicine first thing in the morning and a different drug at weekends. No more forgetting when you are away from home.

Lessons Learned: There are many curious people putting their minds to making the world a better place. Many of us will not be driven to do all the inventing, innovating and struggling to turn bright ideas into reality. Nonetheless, a modicum of curiosity is a good thing.

Read new things, succumb to an impulse buy at the airport. Wired UK is a great place to start.

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