June 2012 issue

Date:1 June 2012 Tags:, , , , ,

Unveiling our tech future.

Contrary to widespread belief, South Africa does not lurk at the bottom end of the technological food chain. In fact, when it comes to connecting with the future through new technologies and exploiting every avenue of communication, our hunger knows no bounds ““ as does our pride in home-grown innovation.

Now say hello to FutureTech 2012, a unique Popular Mechanics initiative that will bring together tech-savvy people from all over South Africa for an exciting and inspiring conference. It happens in Johannesburg on 25 October, and it’s destined to be a “must” on the calendar of anyone who wants to get up to speed in a world ruled by technology. The theme of our inaugural conference is “connect”, a word that will resonate with anyone who understands the mechanics of the 21st century.

Representing the top echelon of science and technology, our presenters will unpack technologies that are already changing our lives for the better, enabling us to share world-changing ideas and solve challenges together. Programme details and booking information will be available soon; please watch for announcements via our Web site, our weekly e-mail newsletters (“The Cutting Edge”) our TV commercials and other channels.

There’s also some good news for South Africa’s vibrant inventing community: our Inventor of the Year Competition remains as an integral part of the FutureTech initiative. Details of the annual challenge, which offers even bigger cash prizes for 2012, will be released within the next few weeks.

Now to this month’s magazine. Our cover story, “Re-engineering the human”, explores some remarkable breakthroughs in the design of prosthetic limbs, artificial organs, bones and even blood cells. Bionic limbs with machine intelligence can now sense their environment and predict a user’s intentions. The prosthetic arm on our cover is actually composed of a swarm of robots, each detachable segment housing a processor that works in concert with the others. Wonderful stuff, and it’s bringing new hope to many people.

We hope you enjoy our bumper 32-page Tech Focus supplement, which comes free with this month’s issue. It introduces fascinating and increasingly relevant technologies in the fields of home entertainment, automotive safety, leisure pursuits, communications, and much more. We provide advice on buying a new TV, introduce a couple of outrageous bicycles, unpack appliances with brains, and ask what it will take for tablets to replace PCs.

As always, we showcase a heady assortment of new gadgets throughout the magazine ““ which brings me to an opportunity for full disclosure. Having been consumed with guilt for the past few weeks, I should now confess to my wife (who is morally obliged to read PM every month) that the 600 mW laser pointer, Music Angel docking station, multi-bladed camping knife and Samurai steel LED watch were not, in fact, “for the office”.

Finally, regular PM readers who may have been alarmed by our “haunted house” headline need not be concerned: it’s not about exorcism or exploring beyond the veil. Instead, we explain what makes doors bang and floors creak in your ageing house, then tell how you to fix them. It’s what we do.