Blockchain, bots, automation... understanding the transformative tech of our time


As we passed through the shortest day of the year our June Master’s candidates were further immersed in the expansive topics of blockchain, robotics and the process of innovating.

We kicked off the week with our first project session where our National Academic Director Craig Hilton introduced various elements of the project work to the group. The candidates took their ideas into the following innovation session with Miriam Walker from the Digital Arts Network. Miriam took the group through dynamic activities that got the candidates thinking about how to ask the right questions and the importance customer centered-innovation.

Understanding the transformative technologies of our time

It’s becoming common knowledge that blockchain is one of the most transformative technologies of our time, and who better to cover this topic than Paul Salisbury of 3months, the 16 year old Kiwi independent software services company. Paul and the rest of the team from 3months are undoubtedly leaders in this burgeoning space, recently holding The Blockchain NZ conference in collaboration with Brave New Coin.

Touching on key topics of cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and electronics ledgers, Paul took the candidates into the heart of blockchain, and through these topics provided insight into why this technology is so widely applicable and is ripe to disrupt a whole host of industries and change the way we share and communicate.

Continuing on the rest of the week was Mohsen Pashna, our in-house robotics and automation expert. Originally from Iran and working abroad in Malaysia on a range of projects, most notably involving swarm robotics, Mohsen has a huge knowledge on the subject and the knack of explaining all of the components in a way that makes sense. The candidates got their hands dirty by building and programming a radar, sensors and actuators, and a robotic arm.

Let's talk bots and drones

Continuing the conversation on robotics this week were our fireside chat guests Grant Carter from ABB and Geoff Lamb and his colleagues from Yamaha. Grant shared his experience on the ground at ABB as the local business unit manager of robotics. ABB is a global leader in industrial technologies, including a lot of the robotics that you may find in warehousing and heavy labour environments. Geoff and his team brought the RMAX drone back into the Tech Futures Lab space and shared stories and insights into their work with the drone in various locations and situations. Weighing up to 90kg and set up on one of our tables, the drone made a bold statement as always, as the team proved to debunk myths and illuminate the real-life applications of such technology.

If you want to find out more about our programme or get in touch with the team - we’ll catch you next week, and don’t forget to sign up to our email newsletter and follow us on Twitter.

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Tech Futures Lab is an education facility of The Mind Lab, a NZQA registered Tertiary Education Organisation under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. Candidates who are studying on a programme delivered by Tech Futures Lab are enrolled with The Mind Lab.