Month: November 2019

The Future was Yesterday

The Next Truth in conclave with Prof. I. Kramberger, PhD, from Skylabs (Slovenia) at the Space Tech Expo 2019, Bremen, Germany

By Maria Anna van Driel

Since the dawn of civilization humanity pondered over the question of where we, as a species, will go and what will happen when we get there. But it was not until the 19th century that we realized that we had the technology to do great things and to expand beyond the limits of our own imagination.

The history of science fiction (SF) is vast and complicated. Many old texts depict advanced technologies and scenarios where man traverses beyond the limits of the world, and dives into space and the cosmos beyond. The mathematician and engineer Heron of Alexandria invented the first known automatic door in the first century AD in the region of Roman Egypt. The Greek writer Lucian of Samosata wrote “True History”, which depicts a man who travels beyond the heavens to witness a battle between the People of the Moon and the People of the Sun. The story “The Ebony Horse” depicts a man-made horse that, with the turn of a key, can carry a cart beyond the atmosphere into the outer reaches of space. And the story, “The City of Brass,” depicts an ancient city, comprised of abandoned technology, filled with living puppets without puppeteers and other constructed men.

Even in early SF space was described as being full of aether or air, which, to a modern perspective, comes across as a little bizarre, this appealing genre continued to evolve. One of the most notable works that shaped the modern SF genre was Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s 1818 novel The Prometheusaka “Frankenstein”. Associated with horror literature, many historians do believe that it is the first real SF work in where Victor Frankenstein’s science experiments created ‘something’ that contains life. 

In the decades following many became convinced that they had transcended to a new level of human understanding, and, for the first time, were capable of addressing scientific issues. Galileo Galilei and Nicolaus Copernicus were publishing their theories about the nature of the cosmos, and Leonardo Da Vinci had already designed a clockwork designs of the helicopter. 

The Next Truth in conclave with engineer Dr. H. Kesuma from AES, Bremen at the Space Tech Expo 2019, Bremen, Germany

Even SF had become in vogue this genre is still inundated with dark dystopias nowadays. We just cannot seem to look away from ideas about how society is going to go down. What we don’t often see are ideas about humanity prospering. And so, we immediately think of the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe type of stories when hearing or reading the word ‘Science Fiction’.

This ‘speculative’ fiction, also known as ‘soft’ SF, deals with imaginative and includes a wide range of futuristic concepts and themes such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. But these ‘new’ technologies pictured for us in SF novels and movies are not at all impossible of realization tomorrow.

There exists a common misconception that all SF is fantastical and always has to takes place in a remote universe where civilizations have overcome the energy barrier what makes space-ships travel faster than then speed of light. While many beautiful entries in the SF universe do bend the rules about what is or is not possible in our physical universe, much SF is actually based in science. This is known as ‘hard’ SF.

Some of the tropes in hard SF are truly fascinating like plausible interstellar travel, advancements in technology, artificial intelligence, communication with light, 3D printers, smart-phones, among others.

SF has evolved from the ancient era up to the present and, believe it or not, past ideas that were mere SF 200 years ago are a reality today. While we may not be teleporting people from starships to a planet’s surface anytime soon, many of the devices from science fiction movies and series are slowly becoming a reality. Scientists are getting closer and closer in developing other tools essential for, for instance, future space travel endeavours.

So, if you think technologies from the series Star Trek or Star Wars seem far-fetched, think again.

National focus MECSPE Observatory: Exports remain a driving factor for SMEs and 8 out of 10 manufacturing companies in Italy believe in their own digital transformation

  • Increasing numbers for MECSPE, the most important Italian exhibition for the manufacturing industry: 2,306 Exhibitors (including more than 200 German companies); 135,000 sqm Exhibiting Area, 12 Thematic Shows and 56,498 Professional Participants.
  • Italy II Observatory 2018 presented on the MECSPE open day: the focus in 2019 will aim at new enabling technologies.

Press release MECSPE, by Sabrina Arcagni, International Exibhition Project Manager at Senaf srl

Milan, July 2019 – Technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality are opening up new scenarios, which might change the future way of work, envisaging thereby the emergence of mixed work teams, composed of men and smart technologies. This is the opinion of 43% of Italian manufacturing SMEs, that have already adopted or intend to introduce, by 2019, innovative technologies/processes including IT security, cloud computing, collaborative robotics and the internet of things.

That is the national analysis presented by Senaf at the opening of the 18th edition of MECSPE, the reference fair for the 4.0 manufacturing sector, held from 28th to 30th March 2019 at Fiere di Parma (2,306 Exhibitors with more than 200 German companies; 135,000 sqm Exhibiting Area, 12 Thematic Shows and 56,498 Professional Participants). According to the last MECSPE Italian Observatory, related to the second half of 2018, 8 companies out of 10 believe in their own digital transformation occurred in recent years and almost all (over 9 out of 10) believe they have a medium-high level of knowledge with respect to the technological and digital opportunities on the market. The focus in 2019 will aim at new enabling technologies, continuing in the direction towards mainly IT safety (74%), connectivity (60%), cloud computing (33%) and collaborative robotics (28%) that have already been introduced, and at research and innovation: 61% will invest up to 10% of their turnover and 25% will dedicate between 10% and 20% thereof, while targeted advice (51%), knowledge transfer (42%), confrontation with competitor companies (39%), but also workshops (21%) and the tutorship of a university (15%) are considered as useful tools for the development process.


Company trend of Italian companies in the mechanical and subcontracting sector is currently overall satisfactory, in which 62% of entrepreneurs reports a very positive company trend. In the second half of 2018 compared to 2017, turnover recorded a 53% growth of companies, while 38% declared stability and only 9% a decrease. 75% of companies sees its order portfolio as “adequate” to its own levels of financial sustainability, in contrast with the remaining part according to which it is insufficient. As regards forecasts for 2019 and with reference to turnovers, 40% expect growth, 48% stability and 12% expects a decrease.

Exports remain a driving factor for SMEs and almost 7 out of 10 declare to export their products and services, with a variable incidence. 25% say they make less than 10% of their turnover abroad, 17% “from 10% to 25%”, 16% “from 26% to 45%”, 9% “from 46% to 70 %“ and 6% “over 70% “. Exports aim mainly at the countries in Central and Western Europe (78%), followed by Eastern Europe (27%), Asia (19%) and North America (18%). About 13% export to Russia, while 10% to South America and the Middle East, 5% to Oceania and Northern Africa which represent the other outlet markets. No doubt about the future market on which the single companies will be operating: over the next 3 years, 12% expect a contraction of the scenario in which it is operating, in contrast with 40% which is openly convinced of the development of its own reference market and 48% believe there will be no big changes compared to the current trend. Instead, the cases of staff growth are increasing by 52%, 43% are stable, while 32% expects to expand its workforce in 2019 with respect to 64% that declares it will not change.

Today’s sustainability has taken on a strategic role in corporate decisions: 34% declare they have increased their commitment in this direction over the last few years, 32% is aware of the importance and intend to look after this aspect in the future. 15% considers it a strategic competitive factor to distinguish themselves on the market, above all in foreign relations, and they also undertake to communicate it, but the percentage of those who believe it is a marginal factor is considerably high and go no further than doing what is required by law (19%). With a view to full attention and sustainability, the ranking of the investments, mostly aimed at, sees in the first place the reduction of consumption (61%), attention to pollution and environmental impact (57%), attention to ethics in the relationship with suppliers and customers (47%). This is followed by the focus on employees (CSR projects) (36%), support for local economy (23%), eco-sustainability of products (21%) and at the bottom joining charity/charity projects (12%).

However, if we think about the relationship with the customer and the aspects on which they are most sensitive, according to the companies, the priority (41%) is given to the environment over ethics, which constitutes only 17% according to the entrepreneurs. 18% think that both factors affect purchasing decisions, while 25% believe that customers are not sensitive to any aspect of sustainability in what they buy.

Also MECSPE, in collaboration with Tecniche Nuove, has awarded sustainable companies, through the creation of the path “I do more”, which highlights the companies that stand out for their green and eco-friendly attitude.

Exhibitors list with Country Origin:  

In order to receive the press accreditation and further information about our Exhibition, we invite you to contact:  

For further information MY PR – Paola Gianderico – Annalisa Di Gilio Mobile: 331-7623732 Tel: 02-54123452 – e-mail


The Astounding Science of Light and It is No Science Fiction

By Maria Anna van Driel

Prof. Wang’s research focuses on biomedical imaging. In particular, his lab has developed photo-acoustic imaging that allows peering noninvasively into biological tissues.

It goes through walls with the speed of 299792458 metres per second (approximately 300000 km/s (186000 mi/s)), but slows to a standstill in ultra-cold gases. It carries electronic information for radios and TVs, but destroys genetic information in cells. It bends around buildings and squeezes through pinholes, but ricochets off tiny electrons. It is “light” and it is made of photons. Radio waves are made of photons. X-rays are, you got it… made of photons.

From low energy radio waves to high energy gamma rays, light zips around us, bounces off us, and sometimes goes through us. Because it is so many things, defining light is a bit of a philosophical quandary. And although scientists have calculated the amount of visible light released into the universe by stars since the universe’s origin equals 4 x 10^84 photons, or, if you prefer, 4,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 photons, we know it primarily as the opposite of darkness. Most of the light is not visible to our eyes. It is like you are viewing a single 60-watt light bulb in complete darkness from about 2.5 miles away. But that does not mean it cannot be captured. 

What is light?

Light could be a number of different things, depending on the circumstances. It could be the glow from a light bulb in your bedroom or the warm shining rays that beat down from the sun. Light can be natural (the sun) or manmade (candles or light bulbs), but no matter how it is created, we utilize light every single day. But the light scientists are talking about is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which ranges from radio waves to gamma rays. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) waves, as their names suggest are fluctuations of electric and magnetic fields, which can transport energy from one location to another. EMR can also be described in terms of a stream of photons which are massless particles each travelling with wavelike properties at the speed of light. In a nutshell, light is a form of energy and it travels in waves, similar to waves of water in the ocean. Except with light, the things doing the waving are electric and magnetic fields. Literally, light is a self-contained little bundle of these two fields, intertwined. That is why we call light electromagnetic radiation.

If you are floating in the ocean, you’ll move up as a wave passes you, then back down, then back up again when the next wave rolls by. The distance between these crests in the wave is called the wavelength. Since light is a wave, it has a wavelength as well, and this may be its single most important feature. That is because the energy of light is tied to its wavelength.

To put it simply, light is a type of radiant energy that we are able to visually perceive with our eyes. Over millions of years, our eyes have evolved to detect the kind of light the Sun emits most strongly. Well, that makes sense; that makes it easier for us to see! We call this kind of light “visible light”. And that is just the narrowest sampling of all the different wavelengths light can have.

But what does the speed of light actually look like?

Even it might sound like a ridiculous question, optical researchers at the California Institute of Technology recently built the world’s fastest camera which makes it possible to actually see light speed. Scientists at CALTECH now can capture X Y images but at 100 billion frames per second, that is 1 billion is 10 to the 9th. In fact they have upgraded their system to 10 trillion frames per second and with this type of rate, even a 100 billion frames per second; they can see a light pulse propagating in space and capture the scene literally at the speed of light.

In a new video posted to The Slow Mo Guys YouTube channel, CalTech researchers demonstrated their camera’s capabilities by filming a laser beam passing through a bottle with liquid at about 100 billion frames per second. And it looks mind blowing!

The “Sonic Boom” for light

Normally sonic booms are created when an object moves faster than the speed of sound. But you should not be able to create a ‘sonic boom’ for light when nothing can travel faster than light. Unless you are a bit more specific.

“What we did was, we created a tunnel where the speed of light in the tunnel is greater than the speed of light in a medium and so we propagate a very short light pulse in that medium, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology Lihong Wang explains in his You Tube video interview. “We spray some scatters within the tunnel, he says, so we generate secondary light sources and a light source will be propagated in the background medium so the light source will propagate at a greater speed and that create a superluminal light source.”

Now, light moves slower through the plate material than it does in the tunnel. So, as light scatters into the plates, it cannot keep up with the light in the dry ice fog. When this happens a cone-shaped wave-front of light forms behind the laser pulse just like a sonic boom shockwave created by a supersonic aircraft.

“If I speak and I stand still I emit approximately a spherical wave going out, Professor Lihong Wang explains. “But if I walk and talk it will be distorted. If I walk at a speed of sound or passing the speed of sound, I will create a cone structure that is called a “Sonic Mach cone” that is the sonic version of Mach cone and I was wondering if there’s this photonic version that we can image.”

While this was not the first time a photonic boom had been created – it was the first time one had been captured in real time. That is thanks to a new superfast camera that can capture images at 100 billion frames per second. They call it the “streak camera” whereby the technique employs a complex contraption that uses cameras and mirrors to build these slow motion movies tracking the lights movement across a scene. This streak camera is so fast that researchers ultimately hope to use it to image more than just laser pulses.

“One of the biomedical applications we are after is to image action potential propagation in a neural network, Professor Wang says in his video interview. “ So essentially we want to see the live traffic within the brain and find out how the brain is wired and that would elucidate the mysteries of the brain.”

To watch Professor Lihong Wang’s full video interview,


How Real is Time Travel? Professor Ronald L. Mallett Reveals in an Skype Interview

“Doctor Who”, “Star Trek” and “Back to the Future” who has not seen these movies and, even for a brief moment, thought if it could be possibile to truly travel through time. While most people think of time as a constant, travelling forwards in time is surprisingly easy. Einstein’s special theory of relativity, developed in 1905, shows that time passes at different rates for people who are moving relative to one another – although the effect only becomes large when you get close to the speed of light.

The behaviours of time can vary for different observers depending on your speed through space. To Einstein, time is the “fourth dimension.” Space is described as a three-dimensional arena, which provides a traveler with coordinates — such as length, width and height —showing location. Physicist Albert Einstein showed that time is an illusion; it is relative.

The reality, however, is more muddled. Not all scientists believe that time travel is possible. Some even say that an attempt would be fatal to any human who chooses to undertake it.

What is space-time? Can we twist it in a manner whereby yesterday becomes tomorrow? Does our heart really stops beating as we go faster than the speed of light? For finding a plausible answer to these questions I contacted Time Travel Specialist Professor Ronald L. Mallett. And so, on the evening of 4 Nov. The Next Truth had the privilege to interview theoretical physicist Prof. Ronald L. Mallett which was incredible! 😊

For almost one and a half hour we spoke about, among others, how he became interested in physics, what time travel is and the science behind it, General relativity and the Grandfather paradox. But we also spoke about his book “Time Travelers; A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality” what is planned to be filmed.

And what I personally found really cool, we briefly spoke about the original magazine he bought as a young boy, what contains the one article what was the key for Prof. Mallet to see that there is a real possibility to go forward and backward in time.

It is always a true honor having the privilege to speak with a brilliant mind and learn new things first hand.

(Prof. Mallett’s written interview is planned for the The Next Truth issue of December 2019)