Tech’s next 100 years—according to kids4 minutes
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 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.
Panasonic turned 100 on March 7. In this new century our company has transformed, though our commitment to our founders’ mission has not. We have 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 past, we can’t help but wonder what the next 100 years hold. To see a radical future, we turned some of the most inspirational sources we could find: kids. This group is known as Gen Z—the generation born between 1996 and 2012—and according to estimates they number about 2 billion worldwide.
We had more than 50 Gen Z’ers at Panasonic for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and we put them to work. We asked to imagine the next century and future tech Panasonic might create.
Ideas 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 were popular, as were 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 hatched are nearly here. Others have the potential to come to fruition in our lifetime.
Here’s a look at some of our future innovators ideas:
- 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.