The Futuristic Vision Of Drones

As if the notion of drones roaming the skies wasn't quite futuristic enough, it seems that the technology is now able to see a secret world with advanced visual technology us mere humans can only dream of, a BBC Futures article reports. It may be the case that soon enough drones will have the ability to scan a person's face on the ground and pull up their details; or scan a registration number of a car and find out information on emission levels or driving offences. Drones may even be able to make intelligent algorithmic decisions on what adverts to send a person based on what they are wearing or carrying.

This is all according to the vision of the Superflux Lab and The Drone Aviary currently on display in the V&A museum in the UK. The display is a research and development project to look into the social, political and cultural impact drone technology may have in the future. Some of the most interesting and potentially influential pieces of drone tech from the exhibition include:

The Media Drone: Newsbreaker

This form of drone will help to push the boundaries of 'High Frequency Journalism' by using real-time social media updates and using algorithms to monitor breaking news stories and emergency services call-outs to report on the latest news almost instantly. It will be able to film and stream breaking stories live and write its own articles on what is happening using journalistic algorithms.

Traffic Management Assistant: RouteHawk

This drone will be low-flying, with bright LED lights that give drivers instructions on where to go if there has been an accident up ahead, for example. It will help commuters exponentially by updating constantly with road and traffic developments.

The Selfie Drone: FlyCam Instadrone 

This final drone is a bit of fun - a mix of the selfie-stick and a GoPro, this drone lets users film themselves from up in the air and share the images or video as part of a life-logging experience.

Robotic Ants In The Future

Say hello to the BionicANT, an artificially intelligent cyborg that works as part of a living colony. They are capable of adapting to different demands and changes in environment by wireless communication, and work together in order to carry out a production goal. Invented by the people at Festo, a global industrial control and automation engineering firm based in Germany, they also come in lightweight polyamide ant form - enough to spark off any entomophobe's nightmares.

According to Entrepreneur, Festo's aim behind the building of these complex little robots (complete with 3-D printed bodies and grinning faces) was to "demonstrate how autonomous individual components can solve a complex task together, working as an overall networked system".

Inspired by their natural counterparts, these ANTs (or Autonomous Networking Technologies) are equipped with opto-electrical floor sensors, radio modules and stereoscopic cameras to ensure that they can work within the parameters of a certain environment. They are powered by lithium batteries, so if they run out of juice all they need to do is lean their antennae against a charging station, and their serrated pincers enable them to pick up and move small objects with relative ease. They are engineered to work as a team in a changing environment, by wireless communication; and at 5 inches long, 6 inches wide and 1.5 inches tall, they measure up at roughly the size of a human hand.


Businesses looking to buy these BionicANTS may have to wait a while, as they are not on sale just yet. However, they do pose some interesting questions about the future of the workplace, especially when it comes to what areas of industry would benefit the most from these AI ants. If so, maybe they could opt for a cuter option, like a kitten next time.

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Gamification In The Future Of Work

Whilst letting employees play at work may seem like something business leaders would want to actively discourage, the act of gamification in the workplace is actually proving to be very popular and could be exactly what workplaces of the future need to stand out. Gamification, an article on Small Biz Trends points out, can make work fun and exciting; in fact, it can be hugely beneficial for a business to utilise the same psychological processes that make some games so addictive in the workplace itself, making doing work as much fun.

Gamification is essentially the act of applying game theory to non-game situations. It is already being used to some extent in enhancing customer and employee engagement, but it could go further. If used correctly, gamification in the workplace can almost be more relaxing and enjoyable than allowing employees to opportunity to chill out and do nothing - it keeps them entertained and active, but in a fun and stimulating way that makes work not feel like work. It also provides a number of benefits to a business overall, including:

A fun culture.

Not only will it make existing employees grateful to work for such an engaging company, but gamification can attract top talent looking to work for an innovative new business that takes productivity seriously enough to make it fun for everyone.

Instant teamwork.

Put people together to work on a boring project and a business is unlikely to see much cohesion between them. Put people together to work on a game-inspired project, however, and teamwork will often flourish.

Better results. 

With games there is often an intense focus on results. In the workplace, this same kind of focus can seem highly pressurised, but with gamification it becomes a fun way of reaching specific targets without stressing out employees.