ABOUT OUR TESTERS

We enlisted a mix of researchers, city planners, musicians, engineers, technology and futurist experts to test our prototypes.  Scroll down to find out who they are, what they do, and how they are using the Venture 2. More coming soon!


ANDY SHAFFER

Attorney in the Energy Sector
@ab_shaffer

What is your definition of a futurist? 

A futurist is someone who is a realist about the future. Innovation and change occurs everyday of our lives. A futurist is someone who embraces change because he or she realizes it may allow them to live a happier, more efficient life. However, futurists are also mindful that innovation does not automatically lead to happier or more efficient lives, so he or she wisely chooses to embrace the innovations that lead to live their best lives. 

Tell us about a futurist project you’re working on:

I am an attorney that works in the energy world. Currently, throughout our country, many stakeholders in the field of electricity are working toward a smarter electric grid. 

For example, many certain states, consumers have the ability to chose the source of their electric generation. As the awareness of climate change grows, this ability to chose allows consumers to chose a generation service made up entirely of renewable sources. For example, a consumer has the ability to dictate that they would like to be powered by wind, solar, or hydropower rather than coal or natural gas generation sources. 

The deployment of smart meters, meters that have the technology to track real-time electricity usage, is another trend that will allow consumers to having a better understanding of their electrical consumption. Currently, in most areas, a consumption reading is only made once per month. With the rollout of smart meters, consumers will have the ability to track their consumption in real time, which will allow them to alter their consumption based on pricing mechanisms, if they would like. For example, because the price of electricity is most expensive during times of peak demand, consumers will be notified of off-peak times, which might be a more affordable time to use larger amounts of electricity, such a running a dishwasher or doing a load of laundry.

Lastly, the innovation necessary to increase the deployment of electric vehicles ("EV") is also on the rise in two ways. Similar to above, innovation is combining with pricing mechanisms to best reflect the opportunity to fully charge an EV at the lowest price and when needed most. For example, a slow charge that may occur overnight so the vehicle is ready to be driven to work in the morning. Another challenge working toward a solution is the need to recharge an EV while completing a long-distance drive. Stakeholders are working on two solutions to overcome the challenge of range anxiety, the distance an EV can travel on one charge. One, stakeholders are researching the best locations for charging stations, similar to the locating of gas stations. But, two, and I believe more importantly, innovations are being made so a driver can recharge their EV almost as quickly as current vehicles can be refilled with gasoline.

Can you share what you think the world is going to look like 50 years from now? 

The year will be 2068. The only reference I have when thinking about what the world will look like then is comparing the world now, in 2018, to how it looked 50 years ago, in 1968. With that, I think practically, life will look more than same than some believe. I believe a good majority will continue to work at a location that is not remote. I believe that the accountability that comes with working in a common workplace will be even more needed than it is today because of the continued isolation that innovation allows us to have. I also believe that many of the core institutions that make up the world today will remain mostly the same: marriage, the education system, and journalistic reporting (despite many believing that tweeting is reporting). I also believe that largely, technology will have advanced, but will still closely resemble what it looks like today. Cars, will still fill roads, cell phones/personal devices will still connect individuals to entertainment and information, and devices such as TVs will remain the main platform for watching sports, shows, and movies with drastic improvement, but more or less the same structure. Also, although globalism has increased dramatically since 1968, I believe that a remaining interest in nationalism will fuel the race to put a person on Mars. Lastly, and most importantly, the medical innovations that will occur over the next 50 years will hopefully have led to a cure of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and infant mortality. 

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AMANDA COSCO

Fashion Tech Expert
@electric_runway

What is your definition of a futurist?

A futurist is someone with a mind for what's coming. A futurist can identify trends and extrapolate them to their logical evolution. As a journalist, a lot of what I do is about predicting the future. It's about connecting dots and seeing the bigger picture. In many ways, journalism and futurism go hand in hand. 

The major difference is that where journalism tries to remain objective, a futurist tends to be optimistic about the role of technology. This optimism informs and colours my writing. 

To a futurist, change is not only unavoidable, it's necessary. You won't find a futurist nostalgic for the "good old days." Instead, we're ready to embrace the adventure of tomorrow. 
 

Tell us about a futurist project you’re working on:

Currently, Electric Runway is curating a wearable tech runway show for Toronto Men's Fashion Week (TOM*). We're going to be showing a collection of gadgets and garments that invite audiences to consider our relationship with our devices and our deepening intimacy with digital technology. We're thrilled to be partnering with The Canada Fashion Alliance to bring this project to life for one of only eight men's fashion weeks in the world. The show will be live-streamed on Fashion Television so people around the world can tune in.

Can you share what you think the world is going to look like 50 years from now? 

In the future, our clothing will be and do so much more. We're already seeing early signs of how we're beginning to "switch on" our garments and connect them to the IoT (internet of things). Soon, our clothing will be communication devices with built-in sensors that regulate our body temperature and keep us safe from the elements. Our clothes will tell us if our blood sugar is low, or if we're at risk of getting sick. As someone focused on the intersection of fashion and technology, I'm amazed at the ways our clothing is coming to life and equipping us with new and exciting capabilities. 

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brian Scherman

Senior Producer + Director of Sonic Design
@bscherman

What is your definition of a futurist? 

A futurist is someone who can creatively project a nascent piece of technology or trend in culture to its logical culmination.

For example, humans love to communicate with and observe each other, so it’s reasonable to assume we would eventually “live stream” everything we see and hear 24 hours a day through implantable technology (I’m not personally dying to jump on this potential outcome).

But to be most honest, a futurist is simply a storyteller. The future does not and can never exist, because it’s only a concept of the mind, meaning it is literally imagined.

Tell us about a futurist project you’re working on:

I work for a company called Man Made Music, and we are currently exploring how sonic can impact healthcare and rehabilitation.

This includes the use of music, sound, and acoustic treatment in patient rooms to de-escalate aggression, lower anxiety, mask intrusive sounds and help patients sleep better. It also means redesigning the alerts and notifications of medical equipment to be more cohesive, intuitive and less invasive. We’re also looking at how music and sound can add motivation and reward to rehabilitation programs.

Can you share what you think the world is going to look like 50 years from now? 

In 50 years I see a world that is more progressive and inclusive, with more people moving to urban centers worldwide, and mature enough to tackle global issues collaboratively. Personal technology will be ubiquitous and more authentically integrated in our lives (which may include implantable tech like corneal and cochlear implants). Transportation will be fully autonomous and inexpensive. AI will allow our work to be more creative, personal, and of very high quality, and we will essentially create and consume all of our own content. Hopefully a more kind and genuine world.

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The quality of the bag, leather and stitching is impeccable. I have no doubt this bag would stand up to a lifetime of travel and daily wear. I love that there’s both a laptop sleeve AND iPad sleeve along the back. The exterior of the bag is beautiful, with a classic yet modern minimalist look, and looks great both in a formal meeting and casual daily wear.

The bag was simply a pleasure to wear.

Deepan Shah

Network Performance Engineer
@deepans88

What is your definition of a futurist?

My definition of a "futurist" is someone who can see a problem people might face in the next 10/20/50 years and solves it ahead of time. Someone like the legendary Marty McFly - what an awesome dude.

Tell us about a futurist project you’re working on:

My current futurist project is for my current employer. We're developing the next telephone access system. We're currently working on developing 5G - smaller cells (instead of towering poles) that while have a smaller radius of optimum capacity, can be mounted anywhere, bus stops, street lights, buildings, etc. This improves the coverage and not only gives you better cell/mobile reception but also gives people better speed to browse the internet/watch videos/do stuff normal people do on the internet ;)

Can you share what you think the world is going to look like 50 years from now? 

In 50 years I would hope that we would be able to make calls just by thinking and having chips installed, and use contact lenses to see the content we want to watch/people we want to talk to.

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Miss Metaverse

Futurist
@missmetaverse

What is your definition of a futurist?

A futurist is a forward-thinking visionary who’s driven by progress. Professionally, futurists research news, white papers, and data and interpret their findings by forecasting possible futures that help clients gain a greater understanding of how emerging technologies and trends may impact their lives and industries. Futurists share their visions of the future with the world by working as keynote speakers, consultants, authors, strategic planners and/or corporate strategists. However, outside of that professional world, there’s a rising subculture of those who identify as a futurist out of their passion for emerging tech, sci-fi and “the future.” 

Tell us about a futurist project you’re working on:

I’m currently working on multiple projects with a core futurist theme - I’m extending my media presence on youtube talking about the impact of technologies on our daily lives, and the trends that are disrupting the world. I’m working with other futurists, authors and consultants who are advising specific sectors like financial service, wearable tech and health tech to help them build their media profiles, and personal brand. I’m also involved in some longer-term projects in the robotics, AI, A/R and automation arenas.

Can you share what you think the world is going to look like 50 years from now? 

In 50 years from now, man and machine will merge in numerous respects. We won’t need to work to live, because most of our needs will be met through automation. We’ll have made considerable progress toward extending life spans, healthcare will be provided based on sensors integrated into our bodies. Mankind will be a multi-planetary species. The virtual and physical worlds will merge. Many countries will provide universal basic income or basic asset structures that provide for the core needs of citizens. Economies will be based on smart infrastructure and AI.

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The Venture backpack has the look and feel of past meets future. I love the wide shoulder straps and abundance of pockets and storage options for everything from my laptop, hard drives, wires, makeup and must-haves. I also like that the zippers allow you to open up the bag so that it lays flat on a tabletop. It’s lightweight which is also a big plus and the leather has a soft vintage feel yet is rugged enough so I don’t have to worry about it getting dirty or scratching.

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JUSTIN BAUMANN 

Urban Planning Student, Photographer, Digital Cartographer
@justin_baumann

What is your definition of a futurist?

I would say my definition of futurist is straightforward. It is someone who is always looking forward and attempting to make the world a better place. That can sound cliche, but I think with the way many populations around the world are either oppressed, disenfranchised, under represented, targeted for hate, or simply misguided in their belief system, I believe that having a futurist "always moving forward mentality" is crucial for both those people and the people who are living safe lives to remember they can help build a better future. Essentially, boiling down the main concept to an always “thinking forward” mentality instead of a retrospective mentality.

Tell us about a futurist project you’re working on:

Well you caught me at a weird moment in my life. My research with the University of Central Florida is wrapping up with a publication and database going active by the end of this year allowing users to have easy access to high quality environmental data for all counties in the United States. This concept will allow for large scale projects to have significantly reduced data mining/acquisition time hopefully allowing for more studies not only at the professional level, but hopefully this will also encourage high school & undergraduate students to engage with State or Country wide data for their research projects. Additionally, I am in the midst of taking my first full-time job that will have me moving to a new area of Florida, which has me excited, scared, and intrigued all at the same time about my personal future. So I have a larger scale futurist project in the idea that creating better access to data can increase our conception of academic projects and their realization, while more personally I am about to embark on my own future after 6 years in higher education.

Can you share what you think the world is going to look like 50 years from now? 

I think the world is going to be a very different place compared to what we know today. Obviously technology will advance and their will be both scientific, cultural, academic, and political breakthroughs, but I think our physical landscape is going to be the most different thing about our world. By 2068 climate change the rising seas will have had 50 years to come to fruition and there will be many coastal settlements that are going to show signs of salt water inundation or will more drastically just not be there anymore. However, the world will also probably be even more globalized and homogeneous compared to today. And who knows, we could actually put people on Mars by this point instead of it being a semi-real pipe dream. All options would be interesting to be frank. Either way, I think our future will be challenging due to the mistakes being made today, but as always humans can adapt and we can build a resilient future.

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