Editor's Note: Karyn Lu is Turner Broadcasting's manager of New Media Insights & Inspiration. Each week, she scouts out amazing innovations, cutting edge technology and, well, just really awesome stuff and shares them right here. Before it goes mainstream, it's going to be one of her favorite _ 5 Things From The Future! _
1. Cars to clothes, "anything can now become a screen"
Move over, smartphones and tablets. The future of screens and gadgets appears to be lighter, thinner, flexible, transparent… and, most excitingly, wearable. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is being touted as the futuristic screen technology that is going to change everything, mainly due to its lightweight and bendable qualities.
That’s right, these organic cells can bend to create a display that is flexible without cracking. That means anything can now become a screen -- a glass display, your car roof, even the clothes you have on. Speaking of wearable, gadgets like the Nike+ Fuelband and Fitbit, which glean data from our every waking (and sleeping) moment, are ushering in a new future in which wearable gadgets may be the next big tech revolution.
2. It's getting lonely in the breakroom
The future of workspaces “ may involve holograms, alone-time, more flexibility, and less loyalty” -- this according to a recent article from The Daily Beast. As workers increasingly demand more flexibility from their places of employment, companies are adapting to cater to these expectations. At the same time, more people are flocking to co-working spaces, where desks and meeting spaces can be rented on a short-term basis, and creatives of all kinds can mingle in shared areas (see: “ Co-working spaces called the future of work”).
At Microsoft, Chief People Officer (what a title, right?) Lisa Brummel goes so far as to imagine a future in which an individual’s hologram, rather than the individual, is taking part in meetings. On the downside, hand-in-hand with increasing flexibility, loyalty is also expected to decline for both employers and employees.
3. A bra that can detect cancer?
Talk about a miracle bra -- here’s a bra that actually works wonders, in a very real way. First Warning Systems, Inc. has developed a bra that can potentially detect cancer. A high-tech device inside the bra collects data (e.g., by detecting changes in breast tissue) that is analyzed by computers to determine if abnormal and potentially cancerous cells are forming into a tumor.
The bra could be released in Europe next year, and in the U.S. as early as 2014. With all the advances we’re seeing in wearable computing (also check out: a helmet that can detect concussions), I love the idea that some day the very clothes we wear may become much more than just a fashion statement.
4. Empty boxes, endless possibilities
A fort, a spaceship, a time-travel machine... oh, the possibilities a kid can see in merely an empty cardboard box. Mr. Imagine’s Toy Store, which is part of the Chicago Children’s Museum’s “Unboxed: Adventures in Cardboard” exhibition, is tapping into exactly that imagination. It’s not your typical toy store, filled with talking toys and blinking lights, but rather, it's filled with a variety of cardboard boxes. The rest is simply up to your creativity. I love this idea so much. What would your kid (or the kid inside you) transform these into?
5. DIY moms, closing the hacker gap
We’ve been talking a lot about the DIY/maker/hacker movement lately. But if you think that all hackers and tinkers are men, you’d be wrong. As hackerspaces increasingly pop up around the world, Mothership Hackermoms is creating a space for moms and their little hackers. Founded in Berkeley by a group of moms with “a mind for ideas, a ‘make-or-die’ hunger to create and a boredom with the usual moms’ groups,” the space is set up for moms to create, teach and learn alongside their kids. Geek moms of the world, unite! And yes, men are welcome too. Here’s hoping that this moves beyond California to become a larger trend.