Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

10 techie facts about a brave new future

Donna Deeney looks at what science has in store for us

Peter Fletcher enjoys the games arena at the Culture TECH festival

The future is here, and on show, at a major digital technology festival showcasing how the way we work, rest, shop and even relax are set to change beyond recognition.

Some of the brightest sparks from the world of technology are taking part in the Culture TECH festival in Londonderry, bringing tomorrow's world to us today.

Among the experts talking about their visions of the future are Devon Walsh, Suzy Glass and Erin Maguire from Geeks in Residence, Dan Brazelton from Tallchair, Ciaran Doherty from Tourism Ireland and Matthew Scott from Firebrand who all shared their ideas of life in a brave new world with the Belfast Telegraph.

1. In the home

No more need to close window blinds or draw curtains at night, with the press of a button windows will turn black allowing a restful night's sleep.

l Soon it will be possible to buy household appliances with touch-screen technology built in that will allow you to access the internet from any room in your home.

2. Shopping

For people who don't want to or can't go to the supermarket, but also don't have time to sit at a computer screen to do their online shopping, soon an app on their smartphone will allow them to compile a list as they go about their everyday business.

Just hold your phone in front of the item you want to buy and it will automatically appear on your shopping list and with a final touch your list of desires is then sent to your supermarket from where it will be later delivered to your door.

l How many times have you walked past a shop window after closing time and saw a dress or suit that you really like? Soon all you will have to do is hold your smart device in front of the window and with the touch of a button the digital image of that exact dress or suit will appear on your phone giving you the option to buy in seconds.

3. Tickets

Buying tickets online for familiar acts is one thing, but when it comes to sampling something new it will soon be possible to hold a device over a picture of a band or singer and hear a sample of their music. We will be able to do this using brochures sent out from venues or when we walk past an advertising poster on a billboard.

4. Museums

A visit to the museum will soon be extended beyond the doors of the building allowing us to see the exhibits in their natural surroundings. With a touch on a screen we will be able to call up the artifacts and even see them in use.

5. Theatre

Gone are the days when we were dependent on a production company to bring a play to life. Before long we will all be able to tread the boards as a character in a Shakespearean play, getting suggestions about how to deliver the lines. There will also be the option for an audience to pass judgment on the performance.

6. Holidays

So many of us want to go somewhere new for a holiday but would like to know something about the country and can’t find the information we want. Key a few relevant words into a social network like Facebook or Twitter and the information you want will soon land right in front of you. Tourism bodies will be able to direct information precisely to the person who is seeking it, allowing them to get a full picture of their prospective destination.

7. Fashion

High tech gear includes fabric keypads embedded in the wrist sleeve of your jacket and backpacks with MP3 players, GPS and battery charging solar panels. There will also be fabrics that change colour at the touch of a button.

8. Language

For those of us who try to learn a few key phrases ahead of a holiday abroad we will soon not have to worry. A device that allows us to speak in one language but allows someone else to hear their own tongue is in development.

9. Transport

Many digital devices are already here. There is a device that recharges your smartphone while you cycle and wireless electric rollerskate-like shoes that can travel three miles on one charge at a speed of up to 10mph.

10. Leisure

For the ultimate in geek chic, there is now a TV remote control in the shape of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver from BBC sci-fi hit Doctor Who — and it will operate any digital TV.

While tiny projectors that clip to your smartphone will enable you to share footage with your friends and turn any space into an impromptu cinema. Watch out Steven Spielberg!

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