Samui Wining & Dining
Innovation Station

Taking a sneak peak at what tomorrow’s world has in store for us.


Porsche Power

Porsche has decided to make a limited number of the new hybrid supercar it’s been developing, called the 918 Spyder. It’s powered by both a petrol engine and electric motor and will be based on a prototype unveiled at this year’s Geneva motor show. It can go from 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds, has a top speed of 198 mph and will be able to travel up to 16 miles on battery-power alone. At more than £400,000, it’ll be the company’s most expensive car yet. The board of Porsche only agreed to put the 918 Spyder into production if more than 1,000 people signed declarations of interest to buy one. Nearly double that number have already put their names down.

One of the car’s electric motors will drive the front wheels whilst the back wheels are powered by both petrol and the remaining electric motor. It has four drive-modes including electric and race hybrid. And Porsche says it completed a test lap of the Nürburgring in Germany in less than seven minutes and 30 seconds. Not far off the Porsche 911 GT2’s time of seven minutes and 18 seconds. In April of this year the Ferrari 599XX broke the lap record coming in at six minutes and 58 seconds and two months later the Pagani Zonda R kicked that into touch with an incredible time of six minutes and 47 seconds. So, for a hybrid, it’s definitely no slouch.

Samui is no stranger to high-powered and high-priced cars. Mercedes, Porsches, BMWs, Ferraris and even Hummers can be seen every day around the ring-road (I wonder if any of those owners have placed an order for the hybrid). Though they obviously don’t go as fast around it as the cars do at the Nürburgring – they leave that to the cement-mixers and minibuses!

3D Fashion Technology

In the near future, it’s possible that all of your clothes will be printed rather than woven. Designer Philip Delamore, from the London College of Fashion, is using 3D printers to produce fabrics rather than make them from, say, wool. Apparently the seamless, flexible textile structures are made using software that converts three-dimensional body data into skin-conforming fabric structures. Bespoke clothing tailored to each individual can then be created in an endless number of patterns and colours. They aren’t in the shops just yet but you might want to preserve that woolly jumper your granny knitted for you last Christmas. It could be a valuable antique in years to come.

3D Games Technology

As far as Nintendo is concerned, the future of gaming is all about 3D, too. Or, to be more specific, its new 3DS, the world’s first hand-held 3D console. Company bosses are hoping its unique selling point of not needing special glasses will be enough to win over gamers.

With big product launches from other rivals, the traditionally-busy run-up to Christmas could be more competitive than ever. Sony has plans to release its new Playstation Move controller in mid-September. Whilst the new motion-control system for Microsoft Xbox, Kinect, is expected to hit the shelves later in the autumn.

Passenger Power

Ever get tired of driving long journeys? Wish you could just be a sleepy passenger until the trip ends? If so, then your days in the driving seat may soon be over. A team of Italian engineers are attempting to drive 13,000 kilometres (8,000 miles) from Italy to China – with no driver. Governments have yet to write rules of the road for driverless vehicles, so the team has obtained prior permission from all countries along the route to carry out the experiment. To protect themselves from liability, they are placing one of the technicians in the driver’s seat, ready to assume the controls or slam a red shutdown button if necessary. That said, a good friend of mine reckons his car has been taking him home from the pub every night for years. He swears he has no recollection of getting in the car yet always wakes up at home. The man is way ahead of his time.

Poo Power

A ‘poo-powered’ VW Beetle has taken to the streets of Bristol, England, in an attempt to encourage sustainable motoring. The Bio-Bug runs on processed methane gas generated as part of the raw sewage treatment process. Engineers from Wessex Water estimate the waste from 70 homes would generate enough gas to run the car for 10,000 miles (16,100 km). Despite being powered by fuel created from sewage, the car doesn’t smell unpleasant – but I wouldn’t want to be stuck behind one in a traffic jam sitting on a pushbike!

3D Sports Technology

I’m sure most people from England don’t want to be reminded about the FIFA World Cup this summer. But Frank Lampard’s ‘goal’ that was disallowed against Germany once again raised the issue of using goal-line technology in the sport. And football chiefs do seem to be dragging their heels a little in embracing modern technological advances – unlike some other sports.

Wimbledon has recently hosted its 133rd tennis championship. And for nearly 20 years the All England Club, which stages the tournament, has joined forces with computing firm IBM. They’ve worked together to introduce gadgets to assist the umpires and the players to make the game more accessible and understandable to the viewing public.

Their focus is on managing and processing data. Umpires update the score by tapping away at PDA’s, whilst a team of data collectors overlooking each court logs every moment of the action. They use a special keypad to log the type of shots in a rally and enter detailed information about exactly how each point is won. This data then makes its way down some 35 miles of cable to the Wimbledon Information Centre where it’s further processed. The players and their trainers have access to the stats which are also sent to other outlets, such as the Wimbledon website and media broadcasters.

For television viewers who cannot make it to Wimbledon, broadcasters have also been working to improve their coverage. Recent matches have been made available in high-definition, and 3D is set to make its mark within a couple of years. An application is already in development and will transform how tennis is viewed and enjoyed by television audiences around the world. It can’t be long before football announces similar moves – can it?


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