A signal is typically a small or local innovation or disruption that has the potential to grow in scale and geographic distribution. A signal can be a new product, a new practice, a new market strategy, a new policy, or new technology. It can be an event, a local trend, or an organization. It can also be a recently revealed problem or state of affairs. In short, it is something that catches our attention at one scale and in one locale and points to larger implications for other locales or even globally.
Signals are useful for people who are trying to anticipate the emerging technologies of the future!
Here are the signals that we are keeping our eye on during our Future of Mobility Concept Design Challenge:
1. Maglev Quadcopter
Electromagnetic levitation quadcopter uses the principle of conductive surfaces to test the possibility of creating new transportation models. While this is still in the R&D phase we can see it has the potential to extend our current narrative of maglev technology to new kinds of mobility scenarios.
How can this allow us to create more seamless transport in dense or long distance transportation contexts?
2. Haptic Holograms
This early stage technology is a safe laser-based hologram that is responsive to touch. While this demonstration shows basic manipulation, the technology has the potential to change how we understand, interact and work with content.
How can this shape the way we understand what we interact with and where? What facets of our lives can this innovate upon?
3. Sponge Cities
City officials in China are beginning to rethink the idea of water run-off. Due to immense flooding brought on by climate change we will see the development of new forms of infrastructure. China will build permeable roads and public spaces that enable stormwater to soak into the ground. Ultimately, the plan is to manage 60% of rainwater falling in the cities.
How will this impact how we design cities and transport?
4. Bus Health monitoring Straps
A dairy brand, installed health monitoring straps on public buses so riders could track and even share their health data. This technology has incredible potential to support both personal wellness and city based wellness models in a manner that is accessible to everyone.
How can we use this technology to understand the impact of transportation on our daily lives or create new metrics of wellness in transport?
5. Predictive AI and Robots
At UC Berkeley, based on previous experiences using AI, robotic arms are being taught the knowable unknown. The goal is to support the robotics arms in discovering how to manipulate objects they have never encountered before. In the future, this technology could help self-driving cars anticipate future events on the roads, or support city algorithms plan for different scenarios of inclement or extreme weather.
How can this technology be used in mobility scenarios outside of autonomy?
Now that you have read about our favorites, submit your own narrative and concept design of what the future of mobility will look like. The challenge submission period closes on March 16th so be sure to get your entry in! Check out our challenge here >>