Feeds

UK 'digital tech hubs' to design future gadgets

Interactive kitches, digital jewellery, pedestrian satnavs and more

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Microsoft, Philips and IBM have partnered with UK universities to create a trio of digital technology hubs, where cutting-edge gadgets for the elderly, disabled and rural dwellers can be developed and tested.

Based at Newcastle, Nottingham and Aberdeen universities, the hubs “will develop new technologies utilising wireless networks and GPS”, according to Lord Drayson, the Minister for Science and Innovation.

And the ideas are already flowing, with Newcastle University working on a hi-tech kitchen able to sense your movements and respond accordingly.

Primarily targeted at the elderly, The Ambient Kitchen will contain a series of electronic tags and sensors built into everything from the appliances and cupboards to work surfaces and the kettle.

For example, the kitchen could determine you’re making a cup of tea by sensing that you’ve picked up the kettle, filled it with water, taken out a teabag and reached for a mug.

But if floor-based pressure pads detect that you’ve been standing in the same spot for too long then a projector would beam a reminder to take your medicine onto a near-by wall.

The university’s also inked plans for digital jewellery designed to reduce feelings of loneliness or anxiety. A middle-aged daughter rubbing their necklace, for example, would cause another sync'ed piece of jewellery miles away to gently vibrate.

satnav_shoe

Firebox's satnav shoe was an April Fool's gag

The purpose could be to remind, say, an aged parent staying in a nursing home that their grown-up kids are thinking of them. It would also be an easy alternative to a phone call.

Also on the cards is a pedestrian satnav and personal GPS locator. The satnav could be worn on your wrist and let you plan a route by foot. Some satnavs already offer similar features. Perhaps Firebox’s April Fool idea for a satnav shoe isn't so daft after all?

GPS locators could be built into personal items, including notebooks and pedometers, to help the elderly be easily located by carers, friends or family.

Professor Paul Watson, Director of Newcastle University’s digital technology hub, claimed that “we could see life-transforming solutions reach the market within three to five years”. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.