Smart Cuffs to Super Shoes - A review of Wired 2014 Part 2

Pioneers of disruption: Architect Zaha Hadid and musician Will.I.AM explaining how they are breaking the barriers of design and technology

Pioneers of disruption: Architect Zaha Hadid and musician Will.I.AM explaining how they are breaking the barriers of design and technology

It’s been a few weeks, but as promised here is Part 2 of my Wired 2014 review.

Due to the entertainment that ran late into the night after day one, there were more than a few bleary eyes walking into the doors of Tobacco Dock on day two. But it did not take long for everyone to get wide eyed again with a line-up that promised excitement and innovation in equal measure.

The range of talks was diverse, but on day two they carried an underlying theme. It was one that was touched upon by almost every speaker and it was this: the way we interact with each other and the world is fundamentally changing.

With the Oculus Rift 3D headset, you no longer have to travel half way across the world to view the sights and sounds of a far flung destination – you can experience them sitting in your living room.

With Google Glass, you no longer have to pull out your camera phone – you can take a photo with just a blink of your eye.

With Will.I.AM’s new Puls “Smart Cuff”, you no longer have to have to keep a diary – this new piece of wearable tech would become your own tiny personal assistant.

The evolution of technology can lead to many great benefits, but as one aspiring young Indian innovator Dhariya Dhand said so beautifully:

“Today we immerse in our digital lives through smartphones - we use Google maps to navigate to the right location, Yelp to find the right restaurant and so on. We don't get lost anymore, we don't wander, wonder and discover. Acts of random serendipity through walking bring us back to our innate nature as explorers. Walking is meditating."

To counteract this he has developed a pair of “Super Shoes” which allow you to get lost wandering around any new city safe in the knowledge that when you tap your foot on the floor twice the GPS system in the sole will guide you back to your hotel. It does this by tickling the appropriate foot every time you should be taking a turn.

With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, It is refreshing to know that there are still some great minds out there who are fighting to ensure that we are not overpowered by smart phones and computers, but that we can use them to take a step back - and still enjoy moments of serendipity everyday life.

By Ricky Patel