Future tech of the week – 6 Dec

By Siobhan Keogh

We round up the latest and greatest technology innovations from around the globe.


Google has been sitting on the leading edge of technology for years now, but it’s never content to take a break and stop innovating. Now the multi-national juggernaut wants to go from Androids to robots.

The company confirmed today that it has spent the last six months quietly acquiring more than a half-dozen robotics companies to launch a new division, run by former Android head Andy Rubin.

However if you’re hoping for a GoogleBot that’ll wash your dishes and make your bed, you’re out of luck – Google’s new robotics division will reportedly aim to produce robots to work in factories, not homes.

Google’s Larry Page said on his Google+ page that he couldn’t wait to see the division’s progress.

“[Rubin’s] last big bet, Android, started off as a crazy idea that ended up putting a supercomputer in hundreds of millions of pockets,” Page said.

Why communicate with others when Google can do it for you?

Ever get so tired that you can’t be bothered to type?

Google may eventually have a solution for you – the company has patented a “system and method for automatic generating suggestions for personalised reactions or messages”. That’s potentially a system that will answer your IMs and emails for you in a personalised way.

Of course, registering a patent doesn’t mean that a service is in development – it could just be another trick up Google’s sleeve to use in its ongoing patent wars with various other technology companies.

Delivery drones

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos has been busy. Bezos closed the deal on his purchase of The Washington Post in October, and is now onto the next big thing – turning drones into couriers.

Amazon has been testing a new service, called Amazon PrimeAir, which would use unmanned drones to deliver packages in as little as half an hour. The drones would be guided by GPS.

Bezos told 60 Minutes that the drones were four to five years off deployment, which is understandable – there are a lot of barriers to overcome first. There are the technical ones such as the questionable accuracy of current GPS systems, and the physical ones such as your home not having enough front lawn space for a drone to make its way to your front door. Worse still, there are the legal implications – these drones will presumably be flying within a restricted airspace.

And then you have to wonder how a drone goes about knocking on the front door.

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