Open-Source Genes, Food-Delivering Drones, and Next-Level Gesture Recognition Technology

A major IP ruling in the biotech industry, some cool drones, and some futuristic gesture recognition technology.

A Win for Biotech Innovation

Last week, a court in the US ruled that a human genetic sequence could not be patented. This is pretty exciting stuff – until now, there was a danger that individuals or companies could monopolise critical genetic tests for diseases such as breast cancer. This result means that we as scientists are free to innovate using the data produced by modern DNA sequencing techniques, without the danger of patent infringement. This can only be a good thing for science and human health.

Food Robots

Two companies have made promo videos recently showing their use of ‘drones’ for food delivery. I put drones in inverted commas because these are actually remotely controlled copters, rather than being autonomous (more akin to radio-controlled vehicles than the self-controlled vehicles used by the US military). YO! Sushi in London used a drone controlled by a waiter and an iPad to deliver burgers to bemused customers:

And Domino’s is advertising the use of a drone, called the DomiCopter, for pizza delivery:

These are pretty gimmicky, but fun nevertheless. And they are a sign of things to come. More and more drones will find their way into the workplace as the AI and control systems become more sophisticated.


Gesture Recognition Without a Camera

A university group have designed and tested a system of gestures that can be detected anywhere there is a WiFi signal. They are calling it WiSee, and at the moment the system can recognised 9 distinct gestures from multiple users and in different environments. This is taking gesture recognition to the next level, and is likely to herald a new age of ‘smart buildings’, that recognise a gesture to dim the lights, change the music or switch the oven off. Check out the video below for a bit of an explanation:

Pretty damn awesome.


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