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The Best New Tech We Saw At London’s Future15
“Be part of what’s next” – that’s what’s on offer at Future15, a new two week display of future technology held in East London’s Flux Innovation Lounge. It might sound like a perfect cocktail of buzzwords and marketing speak, and it probably is, but beyond talk of brand experiences and the ‘post-digital world’ there was a trendy basement full of new tech for us to get our hands on.
Some innovations were greater than others. A without-glasses 3D experience left us particularly unconvinced, while a shelf of wearable gadgets was left looking neglected and unloved– how quickly things have changed since last year’s big tech shows. As we walked around the room, though, there were new tech gems to be discovered along the way. Here’s our pick of the bunch from Future15;
Making its presence felt from the outset by interrupting the introductory talk, RoboThespian was – to muddle an expression – the giant robot in the room at Future15. The android is paralysed from the waist down so it wasn’t able to work the floor, but it didn’t need to – a crowd soon gathered when it began flawlessly acting out scenes from Alien. What’s most impressive about RoboThespian, though, is how incredibly agile it is – flexing just about every inch of its upper body via a touch-screen control console nearby. It can also mimic your actions, flutter its eyelids and speak in a far wider variety of languages than ourselves. If you still need convincing, here’s RoboThespian back at the office doing a pretty mean Gollum impression;
Naturally, we were quickly charmed by this robot, which makes sense as its designed to provide the entertainment at events and shows. With any luck it will be coming soon to a public space near you.
Of the two Oculus Rift experiences on offer at Future15, Collider was the most interesting. Combining virtual reality with leap motion technology, the program plants you in the middle of psychedelic supercollider, in which you can interact with your surroundings using gestures. Cupping your hands, for instance, will create a ball shape in front of you, while a clap will transform your environment. That’s the idea anyway – in practice, it took a fair bit of desperate flailing about to get the ball to appear.
The installation has its limits, but between this and the other VR experience on offer (a more photo-realistic airplane cockpit simulation), we began to get a clearer picture of our exciting virtual futures to come.
Kin’s Interactive Boats
This work-in-progress from Kin is a learning tool which sets out to explore our relationships with physical objects. Essentially, it’s a set of boat-themed building blocks that responds to your constructions through a smart digital display. The idea is that by playing around with the different parts you learn about various different methods of propulsion, bridging the gap between tactile and digital learning. With just boats on show it’s rather restricted, but a neat educational concept nonetheless.
The GIF booth
Finally, tucked away in the corner, we couldn’t resist a chance to step into the ‘GIF Booth’ from Kin and Say Fromage. The booth stitches together a series of photos taken from a row of carefully-positioned cameras, creating an instant GIF you can share on social media. It’s hardly an innovation that’s going to change the world – you could probably do something similar with vine just as quickly – but GoExplore writer Alan Martin up there looks happy enough with the results.