Blog Archives

Rolling Out (and Up) Innovation

The innovative process is, in many cases, exciting. At the same time, it can be dull, exhaustive and a seeming waste of time and energy.

Welcome to the happy former at the CES 2018 (Consumer Electronics Show) hosted in Las Vegas from Jan. 9-12.

Exhibit Awesome:

While still in the testing phase, the fact that a high-definition TV that rolls up like a newspaper (inside the console, of course) exists and is evolving in the right direction (up) is a thrilling reality to witness. The first real dream, beyond what’s seen and described in the tutorial above, consists of a mobile, high-definition flat screen TV that can be placed on virtually any reasonable flat surface for viewing and a myriad of digital applications. The second part of this technological roll-up dream is for newspapers, magazines and, well, any current paper-like product, to have the same flexible and multimedia functionality. Imagine a day when a buying a newspaper at a stand looks like this, in some form.

(Video borrowed from a Jan. 5, 2016 Jimmy’s Daily Planet blog post titled “Time to Fold on TV” about this very company and this very roll-up TV prototype)

Perhaps the second part of the dream can be best described as a flexible iPad in 2018. Wouldn’t surprise me if design guru Jony Ive and his Apple team are working on that very prototype for release within the next decade.

As has been stated many, many times on this blog, the day will come when entire walls in homes and buildings will be high-definition screens that will be able to serve as a television monitor for shows and gaming, as a computer, art/rotating photographs from our personal photo collections as well as downloadable world-class pieces and most anything else your mind can digitally imagine. For now, a roll-up TV that has the strong potential to become a practical reality in our family rooms within the next several years is exciting. Couple flexible tech with VR’s inevitable rise (plus various smart home applications) and we’re genuinely one small step closer to “the future” in 2015 from Back to the Future Part II.

The future — maybe not “the future” — will arrive in some form.

Whether all this evolving tech in the big picture (had to) is good for us as individuals and as a society is and should remain an ongoing, conscious (and conscience) conversation. As my headline from a couple years back suggests, the time will come to fold on TV so we can open it up in ways we haven’t yet seen or even imagined.

And that reality will not be virtual.

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The Future of Auto is Mobile

The question doesn’t seem to be whether or not we want to live within “the grid,” but rather what type of grid we want to inhabit?

In order to remain just on the ground level of our evolving digital society, let alone any furnished apartment or luxury suite, we must embrace the ever-growing connectivity of an ever-growing networked world. From our smartphones (if anyone has a flip-phone, I’d like to see it for historical purposes) to watches to tablets to computers to social networks to commerce to business to entertainment and everything in between, life’s daily necessities focus hard on innovative, customizable software.

That’s the reality…until it soon becomes virtual (see Ready Player One).

There are some negatives to this modern lifestyle, least of which are explored by the futuristic HBO hit show Westworld and a few select Michael Crichton novels. Still, there are incredible positives to embracing futuristic technology. And it looks like BMW is working towards one of these aforementioned positives…

If I were a betting man (thanks to a college poker game, I’m not), I’d wager a large sum of money on the word “charging” on the Buzzword Market Worldwide.

Or BMW, for short.

Investing in the right battery stock may be a prudent move as well. Time to get out the credit card and charge it.

The point is that the next technological frontier, and it’s still in the very early stage, appears to be a seamless, all-present wireless charging ecosystem for all the portable products/things/necessities in our lives. The world, to prognosticate, could evolve into a 3-D electronic world of sorts akin to an ’80s video game simulation. Walls, homes, roads may, one day, become super batteries and one further day down the digitized road all-mighty supercomputers. Just imagine what the digital grid could and will inevitably look like in a few decades. The pace of change increases with every passing day, hour and minute.

But for now, the BMW charging pad looks impressive and promising.

P.S. I hope you’re skilled at driving into car washes with precision.   

The Pipe Dream: A Roundaloop?

21st-century ground transportation:

Envisioned by Elon Musk.

Traveling from Point A to Point B seems (and can literally be) pedestrian. In the modern world, there seem to be far too many detours, connecting flights, complications and mind-numbing traffic patterns to conceptualize a simplistic, easy-going path from Point A to Point B.

Then a big idea happened. And then that big idea was built and tested.

And what happens next?

Innovator Elon Musk founded The Boring Company, which is the firm that is building the Hyperloop (featured in the video above). While people won’t be lining up just yet to experience this futuristic form of transportation, the fact that a proof of concept has been achieved is a giant first step towards the reimagined American railroad. To be more precise, the reimagined American train and railroad system.

The Boring Company has essentially taken the archaic railroad system from 19th and 20th centuries and created a significantly faster 21st-century upgrade. Is it the right upgrade? Is the Hyperloop the next great innovative masterpiece in transportation we’ve been waiting for? Would you ride in the Hyperloop?

Fortunately, there’s a model (actually, a few models) to follow for judging the future progress and success of Hyperloop’s introduction to the American traveler, current and new:

Tesla.

Now, who is the co-founder and CEO of that innovative car company…?

iPhone: Episode VIII

Which beloved entity has the more influential following in modern culture:

Apple or Star Wars?

Apparently, to those closest to both, it’s a virtual tie of sorts?

Apple’s earbuds were inspired by the dark side, or more specifically, the stormtroopers from Star Wars, according to an interview with Apple’s chief designer Jony Ive in The Wall Street Journal. Ive reportedly told Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams he had the “look of the original Stormtroopers in mind when he designed Apple’s earbuds.”

It’s also interesting to note that the costume designer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Michael Kaplan, told Vanity Fair in 2015 that Apple itself inspired the new stormtroopers of the First Order. “With the Stormtroopers it was more of a simplification, almost like, ‘What would Apple do?’” Kaplan said at the time.
–Thuy Ong, The Verge, “Apple’s earbuds were inspired by the dark side, says chief designer Jony Ive”

As a reference, here’s a stormtrooper in The Force Awakens.

With iPhone 8 on the horizon for release later this year, Apple will likely begin to slowly work its way back towards the top of our news feeds. And particularly since the iPhone 8 will be the 10th anniversary iPhone, the speculation (never-ending with Apple products) concerning this forthcoming version of the globally popular mobile device is focused on a wide variety of game-changing features for an Apple phone. This includes rumors of a borderless screen, wireless charging and the potential removal of the physical home button (not the home button feature, but just the actual button).

Interestingly enough, those rumors almost pale in comparison to what’s been revealed in the quotes above from brilliant designer Jony Ive and the costume designer for The Force Awakens.

As a newspaper editor would say, “That’s the lead.”

Even more is the fact that Apple is great at storytelling, specifically the customized story of each of its consumers by providing them the opportunity to define a phone, tablet or computer through countless apps and user photos, music, videos, etc. The surprisingly awesome news that key figures from both Apple and Star Wars influenced each other in profoundly cool ways makes an Apple-Star Wars crossover promotion seem like a pop-culture slam dunk.

So, The Last Jedi is the eighth Star Wars major motion picture set for release this Christmas and Apple is set to sell its eighth iPhone at the end of this year.

Hmmm…

(Please re-read the headline of this blog post).