Kids forecast the next 100 years
Kids forecast the next 100 years4 minutes
The average age of people at my office dips seriously for a day each year in April. Think Hello Kitty, Legos and grade-school young with tweens and teens mixed in. Even for those who don’t come to work toting a school-age child, Panasonic North America's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is a big deal. We believe technology should inspire and amaze, and help us reimagine our world. Having these inquisitive minds visit our workplace is a next-gen reminder that everywhere we look, there is opportunity to make things better.
The power of imagination
It’s been said that the best way to predict the future is to create it. Still, it would have been hard for Konosuke Matsushita to foresee how the business he created more than a century ago would become the global innovation leader Panasonic is today. It all began with three employees and Matsushita’s desire to build a better light socket. Later inventions included a battery-powered bike lamp, a compact camcorder and countless advancements in home appliances, TVs and other consumer electronics, all driven by a single goal: to make our lives and world better.
Last year, Panasonic celebrated its centennial. In this new century our company has transformed, though our commitment to our founders’ mission has not. We evolved to become a leading provider of not only consumer electronics, but also B2B innovations, creating disruptive, integrated solutions that empower industries, governments and institutions.
As we celebrate Panasonic’s history, we’re also building for the next 100.
Over the past few years, to see a radical future, we have turned to some of the most inspirational sources we could find: the cool kids who have joined us for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
Each year we ask them to imagine the future, and the tech that might be created.
Recently, ideas have spanned from fun (“an airplane with a playground on board” or “a floating hologram car”) to the impressively aspirational: “A robot that does everything for you, including paying the bills.”
Automated cars and products are popular, as are solutions that rely on renewable energy. And, as is to be expected in a room full of forward-thinking 8 to 14-year-olds, there was plenty of robot talk. Some of the ideas they hatch are nearly here. Others have the potential to come to fruition in our lifetime.
Here’s a look at some of the ideas that have come from our future innovators over the past few years:
- Nina, 12: Mind-reading head gear that writes down your thoughts for you.
- Sidarth, 11: A security doormat that recognizes (and greets!) homeowners when they step on it. It also alerts police if it senses an intruder.
- Ilana, 13: A computerized wardrobe closet that washes your clothes for you automatically. It also has a mirror that displays outfit options based on the event you’re attending.
- Nicholas, 11: Sports Bot – a robotic athlete who plays sports with you when your friends are not around or you don't have enough players to field a team.
- Emily, 12: Jet propelled backpack: “Ride” it to school, hovering over the ground, and it has plenty of room to hold your school books.
- Nicole, 9: A hologram wrist band that projects your text messages into the air in front of you, no screen needed!
- Sofia, 11: Go Green Machine: put your recyclables in it, tell the machine what you want to make, and voila! That plastic food container is reborn as a bottle. Instant recycling!
- Siblings Levi, 8, and Isabella, 11, win the “Why doesn’t that already exist?” award for their ideas. His creation? A car lined in solar panels, completely powered by the sun. Hers was a solar powered smartphone.
- Of all the future tech imagined by our junior visionaries, my personal vote goes to the “Outdoor Roomba,” conceived by Mickey, age 10. It’s designed to suck up leaves in the fall and shovel snow in the winter. When asked if it can also mow the lawn, Mickey looked pensive, then replied, “That will be available in version 2.0.”
We hope some of these innovators will follow in their parents’ footsteps and join the Panasonic team someday as we forge our way through the twenty-first century. If their ideas are any indication, the next 100 years look bright indeed.
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day evolved from Take Our Daughters to Work Day, which the Ms. Foundation for Women started in 1992 to encourage girls to pursue careers in all sorts of fields, including male-dominated ones. Now it’s regarded as a time for kids to gain an understanding of what their parents really do all day and to “think imaginatively about their family, work, and community lives,” according to the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation.
And it takes more than just parents to show kids the world of work. Now, more than 40 million youth and adult participants in over 3 million U.S. workplaces participate, according to the Foundation.