FutureTech conference 2014: Programme and Speakers

Date:8 July 2013 Tags:,


Your hosts will be Alan Duggan and Anthony Doman.

PM’s FutureTech 2014 conference will feature a gloriously varied line-up of presenters at the top of their game.

Download the FutureTech 2014 programme

Here’s what you can expect on 10 October. You’ll meet…

Prof Peter DunsbyPeter Dunsby is professor of gravitation and cosmology in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at UCT, and his subject is the nature of dark energy – without doubt, the most puzzling mystery in cosmology and astrophysics today. Part of the problem is that we have no idea what it is or whether we will ever be able to fully understand it. This talk will discuss the current leading candidates and speculate on how dark energy might affect the far future of the Universe.


Deena GovenderDeena Govender unpacks the BMW i concept a new form of urban mobility, for visionary vehicles and mobility services. As social, economic and ecological change happens around the world, new solutions with a special urban focus are needed. Electric mobility is an essential component in this transformation, and he’ll explain why.



Reinhardt Buhr ka ‘Wild Lettuce’Reinhardt Buhr (aka ‘Wild Lettuce’) makes use of a live looping pedal on which he records his Spanish guitar, electric cello, electronic drums and Australian didgeridoos, building layer upon layer until it sounds like an orchestra on speed. Enjoy this high-energy blend of tech and talent.



Captain Nick SloaneKEYNOTE: Captain Nick Sloane, the man who led the team behind the biggest and most complex salvage operation in maritime history, will tell the dramatic story of the ocean liner that capsized and sank off Isola de Giglio, Tuscany, in January 2012 with the loss of 32 lives. His talk is titled “Raising the Costa Concordia: The science, the tech, the adventure”. Be prepared for the stuff of legend.


Dr George Vicatos (left) and Severin TenimDr George Vicatos and MSc student Severin Tenim of UCT’s Mechanical Engineering Department will describe how they developed and built an affordable and customisable prosthetic hand, using additive manufacturing techniques.



James FisherNautic CEO James Fisher, an award-winning inventor, innovator, investor and 2014 SA Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, offers a personal perspective on the challenges and secrets for successful innovation and delivers a sneak peek into the world of future technology on our seas.



Imraan LambatImraan Lambat is an applications engineer who heads the technical division for manufacturing and process plant verticals at WorldsView Technologies in Africa, representing Autodesk, the multinational 3D CAD software company. Imraan has worked with some of the largest manufacturing, mining and construction companies in the world, and he’ll tell us how Autodesk is designing our future.

Dr Andrew ForbesDr Andrew Forbes of the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) will discuss paradigm shifts today that may lead to photonic technologies of tomorrow. These include using single particles of light for unbreakable communication links, storing information in pictures of light, replacing solids with gases and flames for new optical lenses, and dynamically changing laser properties with a digital laser.


Alan Duggan

Alan Duggan, founding editor of Popular Mechanics, will deliver an invigorating dose of “future shock” in a talk titled “Your World in 2020”. He’ll predict what you can expect in the fields of medicine, transport, energy, robotics, consumer technology, and more.



Sandra SwartProfessor Sandra Swart of Stellenbosch University, president of the Southern African Historical Society and a tireless adventurer (a recent trip took her to Outer Mongolia, where she lived in gers and conducted her fieldwork on horseback). Her talk, titled “Zombie Zoology: The History and Meaning of “de-extinction”, focuses on the hotly debated process of creating an organism. If the concepts of “resurrection biology” and “species revivalism” stoke your intellectual fires, you’re in for a treat.


Jonathan CrossleyJonathan Crossley, one of South Africa’s leading jazz guitarists (and a PhD candidate at Wits University), will discuss his work and deliver a unique interpretation of “organised noise”. Jonathan has designed a technologically enhanced jazz guitar that’s like nothing you’ve ever seen or heard before: the “cyberpunk” instrument surrounds the performer, constructing a loop and feedback system that enables this musician-researcher to tackle the traditional divide in a number of ways.


AfterlifeAfterlife are Cape Town-based specialists in audiovisual performance, video mapping, 3D animation, sound design and other cool stuff, regularly delivering a stunning combination of visual and auditory sensations at major events from AfrikaBurn to Oppikoppi (and lots in between). Craig Shackleton and Wayne Ellis will unpack their technology and show us how it works.


Delegates will also be treated to a number of unique concepts in our “Pitch it to the Panel” segment, in which inventors showcase their ideas for comment and criticism.


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