Charles Leadbeater at PraxisUnico 2013

The frugal future

Last week I attended the PraxisUnico 2013 annual conference of technology transfer professionals in Nottingham.

The first keynote speaker was Charles Leadbeater, who presented his views on the post-consumerist “frugal future”. His core assumption is that the common consumer-society innovation model of creating more/better/faster products has run out of steam, and that this has lead to the economic downturn we’re facing today.

Man in gas mask

Detecting biological threats

Last Wednesday I attended the seminar on “Detection Systems for Biological threats” in London, organised by the Sensors & Instrumentation KTN.

There was a good range of speakers and attendees from industry, academia and government, and some interesting and thought-provoking talks.

Dr. Ian Lawston – chief scientist at the Dstl detection department – discussed the performance requirements for detection technologies. Apart from the obvious needs for sensitive detection of as many threats as possible, he emphasised that currently improvements are most needed not in the detection technology itself, but in the area of sample collection and processing.