The future of ...

Erwin van Lun predict the long term future and blogs about developments today gradually shaping that future. Also in Dutch

Prosthetic hand that can move each finger separately

The 'Fluidhand', tested at the Orthopedic University Hospital in Heidelberg, is a prototype of a prosthetic hand that can close around objects, even those with an irregular surface. The hand feels softer, is more elastic and more natural than current prosthetic hands.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

From all kinds of starting points we’re busy making artificial humans. Sooner or later these artificial humans will be given an individual life, they’ll act like people and we’ll treat them like people. Purely and simply because our brains can’t do anything else.

Helmond mentions blogs in yearly report

The Dutch county Helmond followed a fierce discussion on the closing times for pubs, cafés, etc on a private blog: Hellemond (Dutch). The county included this discussion in a note, as can be read in the (Dutch) Burgerjaarverslag 2007(pdf) (Civilian year report 2007) which makes it an official approach. The report reads 'Spontaneously a discussion about the note started on a private blog in Helmond which we took into account here.'


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Counties are also experiencing a brand coming out. Now they’re following personal (but public) blogs, but soon they’ll create their own forums where they’ll ask civilians for their opinions. People will also be able to come up with alternative plans. The county will organize online polls. Solely for the registered inhabitant of course. And eventually the opinion of the civilians will start to carry far more weight than the opinion of the political party they voted for for a while. This is a cautious step in that direction.

Flame robot has unstable balance

Flame, the robot of the Delft Biorobotics Lab of the (technical) university Delft, is not by nature stable, but like humans it constantly searches for balance. When it walks, for example, it needs both legs for stability. (tip: Heini Withagen of Mirabeau (Dutch))


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Tools became engines. Engines became like robots. Robots are becoming like people. Sooner or later we won’t be able to tell the difference and we’ll have buddies who do exactly as we say, whom we can laugh with, and who can provide us with good advice. What a pamper planet it’s going to be!

ABN AMRO facilitates borrowing between people

Private loans (Dutch) are a new service of the Dutch ABN Amro branch. It's a service for people who want to lend money privately. It often involves a loan between friends, acquaintances or family members.

It's pretty simple. You agree with someone from your area how much you'll borrow and make arrangements about the height of the interest rate and the repayment plan. Lenders and borrowers can orient themselves on the website of ABN AMRO. When they've reached an agreement on the payment conditions, ABN AMRO offers them sample contracts for making the agreement. The site also offers fiscal and judicial tips and a calculator.

The bank doesn't charge a commission for this service, but aims at binding customers to itself and offers additional paid services. The Judicial Service Plan offers direct connection with professionals, specialized in judicial aid.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This way the bank transforms itself into a financial coaching brand: a brand that facilitates financial transactions between private people. In a closed model this was only possible by accepting and then lending large amounts of money. In an open model, small transactions can take place. Soon we’ll find these transactions between our savings accounts (or our loans). Even if we lend money to people elsewhere in the world (call it microcredit). This is how the network economy is formed and existing brands transform into open network brands.

Ejai coaches you with experiences

For 2-6 weeks, Jai of the Dutch eJai is your digital guide in a journey with experiences in Personal Growth, Health, Leadership, Beauty, Relations, Money or Pleasure. For 65 euros you'll be pulled out of your comfort-zone and you'll experience things that you'd never do otherwise. This is how you can get the most out of every moment of the day. Offered to you by your friends.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The virtual world is forming a layer around the physical world more and more. Digital guides like Jai will became common property. Sometimes for only a short interacting, sometimes for a few weeks, and sometimes they’ll be with us our entire life. Then we’re talking about coaching brands, brands that immerse themselves in who you are. These offered services from the experience economy fit completely in this development.

SearchTogether

With SearchTogether people can search the internet together from different locations. A separate application ensures that you can see the search results of your partner, which you can then visit, hold etc.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The virtual world is growing up. Just like in the physical world we can go off together. For now we’re still busy with texts, but soon the world will be projected around us, we can point at what we like with our finger and yell ‘look over there!’. The virtual world will be an enormous replica of the physical world. But then without limits. Limitless. For brands too.

Nu.nl puts the news on the map

Dutch news site Nu.nl puts the news on the map (Dutch). You can also look at police notices (crime map) and traffic jams. With an extra timeline you can move through time too.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how we map the physical world in real time more and more often. If we later add our own behavior (how we move across this earth, where we’ve been) we can see what news happened where. A question such as “where are all those fire engines headed?” will in future never be left unanswered. That’s the next step. That’s how the news coaching brand will keep you up to date.

Kansei reacts to words

The robot Kansei of the Science and Technology School, Computer
Science Department, Laboratory of Robot and Science, of the Japanese Meiji University can show 36 different facial expressions as a reaction to various words. For example, it'll look scared if it hears words like 'war', 'bomb' or 'rocket'.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The translation of emotion->facial expression is shaping up nicely. The translation of word->emotion is a lot more difficult. Who’s speaking? Where? What context? What are the memories associated with this word? That’s a lot more complicated. What this does demonstrated is how we’re capable of shaping emotions in a rubber face. Expressions that we see more and more often with brand agents, artificial and virtual characters that represent brands. We’ll perfect this technique in the coming decades in the virtual world and then bring it back into the physical world, to robots.

Nexi shows emotions

Nexi, a new robot created by the personal robots group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shows facial expressions just as humans do. Nexi's face is designed in such a way that it can use the look, eyebrows, eyelids and an articulating lower jaw to show a host of different emotions. Nexi has a color camera in each eye, a 3D infrared camera that registers heat in her head and four microphones to localize sound.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how machines grow to be acceptable, friendly units that in time (say at least another decade) will be found everywhere. Machines, simply manufactured by companies, by brands. We’ll be able to just buy a thing like that, like we buy a navigational system, a car or a house nowadays. Because even though it may seem like a lot is changing, a lot will remain the same too.

Rabobank has talking ATM

Rabobank has now placed at least a hundred talking ATMs (Dutch) in its establishments and this year the amount of machines with speech and a receiver will come to a total of 750 (demo (Dutch)). The talking ATM is extremely useful for the blind, the poor-sighted and for people in wheelchairs. A voice guides the user via a telephone receiver through the process of getting money.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

And this is how the dialogue is given more shape. For now just in the establishments, but soon we’ll be able to ‘call’ an ATM with our cell phone (potentially with headset) and we’ll no longer need a receiver. We’ll be recognized immediately (from voice, fingerprint or both), say what we want, confirm and receive our money immediately. If we then, calling longer, still have financial questions (‘since I’m talking to you anyway…’), we can ask those immediately too. For now only at establishments by the Rabobank in the Netherlands, but soon they’ll be found all over the world, wherever we’re going.

China has stopped giving away plastic bags

China has stopped giving away plastic bags with the groceries. Retail chains will have to ask at least the cost for making the bags. This means about 3 billion bags a year less will be produced. It's the most radical ecological policy ever in China.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

And so China develops into a thriving country with health, economic prosperity and happiness. Maybe there’s some child labor still, maybe some issues with human rights, maybe some with the environment, but step by step the greatest economical power in the world is created here.

Switch between WiFi and GSM network

With iCall consumers can seamlessly switch between their own wireless home network or that of others (VoIP through WiFi) and the regular cell phone network (GSM) on their iPhone.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In a next step that means that we can take a telephone conversations from inside the car into the house, switch to our broadband home network and continue in a video conversation. A conversation we’re holding with a brand will be able to switch between these different screens and interfaces as well. It’ll again create a wholly new dynamic in communication between brands and people.

City Theater sends entry ticket via text message

Movie theater City Theater in Steenwijk sends people who reserve online a text message with a so-called MobiTicket. That makes them the first movie theater in the Netherlands. MobiTickets are tickets that are sent to your cell phone as a simple text message. The text message contains a unique barcode and information on the movie, the time, room, row and chair number. The movie-goer simply lets an employee scan the text message to gain entrance to the movie. It means never standing in line to buy a ticket.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands that enter a dialogue with the consumer have to make the consumers’ lives easier. Recognition is an important part. First the visitor was anonymous, now they’re recognized through a barcode, soon from cell phone number and afterwards through biometric characteristics. Then all you have to say is ‘save two seats for me, I’ll definitely be there’ and then you can walk straight through when you arrive. That’s the trend this development fits with.

Monkey’s brain controls robot arm

Researchers have discovered that monkeys can control an extra robot arm along with their own arms. Brains are apparently so flexible that they can connect additional 'devices'. That offers plenty of opportunities for the future to let the world around us be controlled by robots that do as we think. Below is a summary of the complete text:


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

With this we won’t be able to control just prosthetics, but also robots or cars. But what happens when we can invent an interface that links people and copies concepts? Now we’ve developed speech, but there’s a lot of interference there. Or we can start to observe things we couldn’t before, like infrared, magnetic pull, warmth, vibrations, high and low tones, etc… That could turn us into a very special species. Those are the insights that are coming to life here.

People want No-No stickers

The amount of Dutch households that's pasted an anti-advertisement sticker on their postbox is rapidly increasing. An anti-advertisement sticker means that you don't want to receive unwanted, printed advertisements in your physical mailbox and postmen are supposed to honour this sticker. In 2006 10% of the Dutch population had such a sticker on their mailbox. In 2007 it turned out to have risen to 15% and in 2008 the counter is already on 18%. What's more is that 10% of the population would like such a sticker, but hasn't yet arranged to receive one.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In a world in which all information regarding new products and offers is more and more easy to find, advertisement is seen ever less as added value and more and more as irritating. Eventually this will lead to a ban on door-to-door advertisements: simply throwing something in people’s mailboxes, randomly throwing something into a stranger’s house, will be simply forbidden in a few decennia. And then we’ll find the time when this was normal even a little weird.

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