FutureTech 2014 highlights

Date:11 November 2014 Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PM’s FutureTech 2014 conference – held on 10 October in Cape Town – was a massive success!

Looking to the future, in a wide-ranging overview of the design process, Imraan Lambat – who heads the technical division for manufacturing and process plant verticals at FutureTech headline sponsors WorldsView Technologies in Africa, representing multinational 3D CAD software company Autodesk – provided delegates with penetrating insights into the innovative ways in which our world is being shaped. Similarly, Deena Govender, from FutureTech associate BMW, lifted the lid on the company’s vision of the mobility of tomorrow – some of it available right now.

Outgoing PM Editor Alan Duggan gazed into his crystal ball for some 2020 predictions. In typically waggish mood (then again, he might have been entirely serious) he concluded by saying, “I am looking forward to the day I can merge with a machine and become superhuman.”

Also in the spotlight were cyber-guitarist Jonathan Crossley, a formidably accomplished musician and doctoral student from Wits University who played a weird guitar and waxed lyrical on “organised noise’; and Stellenbosch University history professor Sandra Swart, who spoke about “Zombie zoology” (actually, a commentary on attempts to revive extinct species).

Delegates also heard about dark energy candidates from Professor Peter Dunsby, co-director of the Centre for Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravitation at UCT; took a sneak peek at future technology on our seas with Nautic CEO James Fisher; learnt about modern photonics from the CSIR’s Professor Andrew Forbes; and were blown away by a talented musician who goes by the name Wild Lettuce.

At the end of the conference, Popular Mechanics awarded its prestigious Inventor of the Year title to two Cape Town men, Greg Aberdeen and Mark Collins, for the development of a revolutionary beehive system with a potentially massive impact on the global beekeeping industry.

Two University of Cape Town bio-engineers, Dr George Vicatos and MSc student Severin Tenim, were honoured with the Cutting Edge award for the design and development of an affordable human-like prosthetic hand.