Fantastic Voyage moving a little closer to reality

One of the use cases often described with MEMS is using these devices to clear up problems in the human body.

This article describes an effort headed by the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technologies (KEIT) to create ‘microswimmer’ robots to drill through blocked arteries. These swarms of microscopic, magnetic, robotic beads which look and move like corkscrew-shaped bacteria.

spiral-shaped-microswimmer

Drexel’s microswimmer robots (bottom) are modeled, in form and motion, after spiral-shaped Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria (top), which cause Lyme disease (credit: Drexel University)

Once flow is restored in the artery, the microswimmer chains could disperse and be used to deliver anti-coagulant medication directly to the affected area to prevent future blockage. This procedure could supplant the two most common methods for treating blocked arteries: stenting and angioplasty.

Video of Achiral microwimmers (credit: Drexel University)

The future of work…

working at a deskFast Company had a thought provoking post on The New Rules of Work – What Work Will Look Like in 2025. The focus of the article is on the technology enhanced human, enhanced by offloading many of the mundane elements of work on automation. Some of those elements (like recognizing faces) may weaken some of our mental faculties but the automation of other areas will likely refine our skills.

One statement that holds true today though is:

Workers will need to engage in lifelong education to remain on top of how job and career trends are shifting to remain viable in an ever-changing workplace

There is also a few expressed that the automation could eliminate bias from the hiring process. Personally, I doubt that since it would just codify the bias into the selection algorithm through the encoded selection criteria. Granted it may not bias based upon race or gender, but for those who really want a diverse set of perspectives in their workforce employee selection will still be difficult to do well.

One of the best elements of this article though is the number of links to other material on a range of topics. There were a number of links related to the topic of the redefinition of retirement.

In any case the workplace and the type of work being performed will be shifting and this article is food for thought.

Measuring the value and impact of cloud probably hasn’t changed that much over the years but…

cloud question markI was in a discussion today with a number of technologists when someone asked “How should we measure the effectiveness of cloud?” One individual brought up a recent post they’d done titled: 8 Simple Metrics to Track Your Cloud SuccessIt was good but a bit too IT centric for me.

That made me look up a post I wrote on cloud adoption back in 2009. I was pleased that my post held up so well, since the area of cloud has changed significantly over the years. What do you think? At that time I was really interested in the concept of leading and lagging indicators and that you really needed to have both perspectives as part of your metrics strategy to really know how process was being made.

Looking at this metrics issue made me think “What has changed?” and “How should we think about (and measure) cloud capabilities differently?”

One area that I didn’t think about back then was security. Cloud has enabled some significant innovation on both the positive and the negative sides of security. We were fairly naive about security issues back then and most organizations have much greater mind-share applied to security and privacy issues today – I hope!

Our discussion did make me wonder about what will replace cloud in our future or will we just rename some foundational element of it – timesharing anyone?

One thing I hope everyone agrees to though is: it is not IT that declares success or defines the value, it remains the business.

A vacation hardware inventory

Sun-Summer-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Happy-SmilingTaking a bit of a break from the job hunt and blogging scene, down in Gulf Shores, AL, this week. A great place that has sun, white sand beaches and good food. There are eight of us and this morning I was mentally taking an inventory of the hardware that came with us to the beach (there are eight of us):

  • 4 tablets (1 Android, 1 Windows, 1 IPad and 1 Kindle)
  • 9 phones (8 Android and 1 iPhone)
  • 4 laptops (all windows)

And of course, there is wireless Internet at the beech house we’re renting. That’s quite a bit of hardware for a one week ‘vacation’. Of the eight people, three of us are doing work-related activities while here, although I assume everyone is checking their email.

Unlike some things that people take with them on a trip like this, all these devices are being used every day (and are used far more than the TV, which is on hardly at all). This makes me think that these electronics (and work) are an essential part of our modern existence – or are we just addicted to the instantaneous gratification they provide and refuse to give them up.

Although some promote the tech-free vacation, I’m not sure that this group could handle it with the amount of hardware we’re pack’n.

Going to be at SAP SapphireNow this week

This is going to be an interesting week for me. Last month, the SAP media folks asked me if I’d be interested in covering SAP SapphireNow as a blogger. Since I didn’t really have anything better to do right now, I said ‘sure’. I’ve been to many a technical convention over the years, but this is the first time I’ve been to one by SAP and it definitely looks big.

I don’t think anyone will deny the importance of SAP as a software company. So I am definitely interested in their perspectives about the future trends of both business and technology. I’ll be looking for how they plan to address the current and upcoming shifts as well as shape demand and define new elements of business value today.

I hope to dig into their efforts with Big Data (HANA), the Internet of Things as well as what and how they can enable new approaches to business automation. One thing that surprised me about the invitation to attend was the lack of commitments on my part related to blogging… I guess they know if something interests me, I can’t help myself.

It should be an exciting week, since I’ll likely run into some folks that I’ve not seen in years and others I’ve talked with for over a decade and never actually seen – ever.

DARPA breakthrough technologies report for 2015

Future signBack in March, DARPA released their latest vision for the future. I hadn’t really seen much coverage of it after that so I thought I’d share it.

There were four technologies areas highlighted:

  • Rethink Complex Military Systems: DARPA is looking to make weapons systems more modular and easily upgraded and improved. Likely similar to the architectural and design decisions being made in most businesses today.
  • Master the Information Explosion: DARPA is developing technologies to ensure that the data and systems with which critical decisions are made are trustworthy so they are looking at methods to create fundamentally more secure systems. They are also investigating the growing need to ensure privacy at various levels of need without losing the national security value that comes from appropriate access to networked data. Once again not all that different from the discussions taking place in most businesses today.
  • Harness Biology as Technology: Leveraging breakthroughs in neuroscience, immunology, genetics and related fields, DARPA in 2014 created its Biological Technologies Office. There has been success withneural implants and prosthetic limbs, and they plan on building from there.  DARPA’s work in this area includes programs to accelerate progress in synthetic biology, outpace the spread of infectious diseases and master new neurotechnologies. Not exactly at the core of every business but those in bio-tech are definitely looking here too.
  • Expand the Technological Frontier: DARPA is working on basic research to achieve new capabilities by applying deep mathematics; inventing new chemistries, processes and materials; and harnessing quantum physics. This is one area where government level funding makes a long-lasting impact where eventually the entire economy may benefit.

Although some information is not applicable to everyone, those interested in thinking about the future of their businesses should give this document a look.