Self-driving heavy lorries

This piece on Daimler-Benz’s self driving truck technology was published on May 18th last..

“My first customer was a lunatic. My second had a death wish”. It seems that Karl Benz did not have high confidence in the safety of his new product, the 3 wheeled patented ‘motorwagen’ powered by his internal combustion engine, also patented. He sold just 25 of them between 1888 and 1893, when he then launched a 4 wheel version. In 1895 Benz built the first truck powered by an internal combustion engine, followed later that year by the first bus. Continue reading

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I published this piece in the Irish Times on April 27th last

Norma Jean Dougherty worked in a factory near Van Nuys airport in Los Angeles, which manufactured the first mass-produced radio controlled aircraft models for use by the US Army and Navy. About 15,000 were produced during the second World War, primarily for target practice. Ms Dougherty was picked out by an army photographer sent to collect pictures to show the commitment of women in the war effort. She was subsequently invited to a screen test, and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. Continue reading

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Using personised video clips for sales and customer support

This was written after I had an interesting presentation from Hyundai Ireland on their use of video-clips to give personalised sales and after-sales customer support.  It was published on 6th April 2015.  BTW,  in my view the sub-editor didn’t do a great job choosing a title for the published piece in the Irish Times,  but hey thats life :-)

Three years ago this month,   Google publicly announced its “Glass” project.  It was the company’s first foray into wearable consumer devices,  and offered a futuristic eyeglasses that looked like a “Star Trek” prop.  As light as a pair of sunglasses,  these overlaid the normal field of view through the glasses with computer generated text and graphics,  visible only to the wearer.   Military uses of similar “head up displays” are common,  particularly in military aviation:  Glass was the first time that such capabilities had been offered widespread to consumers. Continue reading

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Innovation – what are the missing gaps in Ireland ?

This piece was written after I had chaired the recent Irish Times/InterTrade Ireland Innovation Awards.  It was published on March 2nd 2015.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”   This quote is often attributed to Albert Einstein although there is some doubt that he actually distilled the observation so succintly. Rather – less simply – when discussing the methods of theoretical physics in 1933,  he asserted:  It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.” Continue reading

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The likely impact of the European QE programme on the Irish tech sector

I wrote this piece on European’s Quantative Easing Programme for the Irish Times Business Section on 9th February last.

What happens to the tech sector when central banks print vast sums of money ?

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The world’s most valuable start-up

I wrote this piece for the Irish Times,  published (in a shortened version) today..

Which company — just four and half years old — is now the most valuable technology start-up in the world? It has just been valued at €37 billion ($45 billion), more than established companies on the Irish Stock Exchange such as Kerry Group (€10 billion), Ryanair (€13.5 billion), or even Diago (€36 billion).

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Impressions of Bengaluru (Bangalore)

This was published by the Irish Times on 1st December 2014 last.

The “Garden City of India”, Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), has an attractive climate, being about 900m above sea level and thus much cooler than many other parts of the country. When India gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, the population of Bengaluru in the southern and rural state of Karnataka was just 400,000. By 1961 it had grown to just over 1 million. Today it is about 10 million, and is the third most populous city in India. I visited recently as part of the work to replicate the Science Gallery, founded at Trinity College Dublin, to various other cities around the world. Continue reading

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