After 2020 ended, vlogger Hank Green dusted off something he wrote as a kid back in 1990. He wrote a brief essay about life in the year 2020, along with a year-by-year summary of what would be achieved along the way. His predictions weren’t always accurate, but mostly hopeful, and sometimes just plain amusing.
THE BEST Future
This bit of archival footage that dates back to 1967 envisions a future much like the one we’re living in today. Its ideas of what shopping from a computer and work-from-home video calls might look like are impressively accurate. We also love the retrofuturist aesthetic.
UK tech company Sonantic has developed an AI-driven text-to-speech system that can generate digital voices with much greater expression than others. In this clip, you’ll hear “Faith” a completely artificial voice character act out a story with tremendous emotion. Look out voice actors, the robots are coming for you!
Israel-based Metro Skyways is showing off the design for a flying urban vehicle. The CityHawk would take off and land vertically like a helicopter, but uses drone-like fan blades, specially engineered to limit noise. It’s designed to hold up to six occupants, and could be used as a taxi, emergency medical transport, or a flying limo.
Created by Wired co-founder Jane Metcalfe, Neo.Life: 25 Visions for the Future of Our Species is an upcoming book that imagines how technology and biology might work together to change the future of humankind, featuring insights from scientists, writers, and artists as they dream of what might lie ahead for us.
Best known for his work on movies like Blade Runner and TRON, industrial designer and “visual futurist” Syd Mead was renowned for his ability to extrapolate what might lie ahead for society. This silent clip from DistantMirrors looks back on some of the late artist’s many illustrative works.
Automaker Audi’s battery electric hatchback envisions a day when drivers spend less time driving, and the car does more of the work. Thanks to its Level-4 autonomy features, its steering wheel and pedals can retract when not needed, providing space to relax or work despite its compact size.
Automotive and mobility company Toyota plans on establishing a 175-acre site at the foot of Japan’s Mt. Fuji to build a prototype city of the future. The location, known as “Woven City” will serve as a real world testbed for tech including autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes, alternative energy, and AI, among others.
Take a trip back to the 1950s, when appliance company Westinghouse shared their vision for the “all electric” house of the future. While some of the user interfaces are incredibly dated, there are some ideas here that would find their way to homes in the 21st century – and yet others we’d still love to see.
Scientists from the University of Sussex are developing a method of displaying 3D tactile images using ultrasonic waves. The system works by levitating a small plastic bead and rapidly maneuvering it to create a persistence of vision effect. If they can move more dots or move them faster, they could create more complex images.
We spent a week in Tokyo, Japan learning all about Toyota’s plans for the future, as it expands its horizons from conventional cars, to providing mobility solutions for all. The future includes ultra-compact battery-electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and even cars that can adapt to your mood.
Lexus looks ahead to 2030. This luxury electric coupe concept is powered by four in-wheel motors, and packs autonomous and driver-assistance technologies. Its windows are dimmable, and it has an interactive ceiling display that floats above rear seat passengers. With an estimated 536 hp, it can zoom to 62 mph in 3.8 sec.
French automaker Peugeot dusts off the styling of their iconic 504 coupe and updates it with this pure electric concept car. The e-Legend has a 100kWh battery and dual motors to make more than 450 hp and 590 lb-ft. of torque, and is packed with tech like full autonomy.
Back in 1958, Disney envisioned the future of America’s highways and automotive tech. While we still don’t have flying ambulances or self-building roads, backup cameras and traffic apps are everyday items, and autonomy is closer than ever. Watch the full movie here.
Aviation International News shares an informative look at FlexSys‘ morphing wing flap technology, which improves the aerodynamics of airplanes by eliminating exposed hinges and rivets. Apparently it’s made using a carbon fiber honeycomb core and a flexible composite skin.
Mice, keyboards, touchscreens. Siri, Alexa, Google. All these input methods could be replaced by simply thinking, if the tech exurb1a describes ever becomes mainstream. But the stuff that really gets us thinking is the idea of the real world Borg collective.
While sitting in traffic one day, Elon Musk had a crazy/brilliant idea – to build a network of underground tunnels which would rocket cars between destinations. A recent concept video envisions cars descending via street elevators, and zooming around on autonomous sleds.
Real Engineering presents the first in a series of videos which look at future airplanes which could disrupt the commercial airline industry which has been locked up tight by Boeing and Airbus for years. First up, the Aurora D8, an unusual jet with a “double-bubble” fuselage.