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Seamless mobility: Richard Long's vision of the future

Motorola's Motofwrd design competition has flushed out a winner in the cool-new-product-prototype game. Click here to read about the future of something that might happen someday. Or not

As Crave knows only too well, predicting the next big thing isn't easy. In fact, anyone who tells you they can predict the future is, if you think about it, a goddamn liar. When we hear the word 'futurologist' we usually reach for our RFID-enabled laser pistols.

On the other hand, we do have a soft spot for that hardy tech perennial, the design- competition-for-the-product-of-the-future. Motorola's Motofwrd event was the latest in this noble tradition. It was based around the concept of 'seamless mobility', which is something we all support. (Don't you hate seams when you're mobile?)

Its winner was Richard Long from Birmingham University, with his Portal design, pictured on the right. (And we love that post-modern nod to the doomed 'portal' concept of Web 1.0. Deep, Richard. Very deep.)

Motorola asked students to come up with ideas and stories about the future of seamless technology, and Long's was a heart-warming tale about a 14- year old boy and his new Portal. The Portal is a watch-style device that allows its user to interact with a bunch of other gadgets.

Long's Dick Tracy watch works as a door key for your car, a games console and even a heart monitor. We can think of a few other functions we'd add: an Oyster card, an office security pass and ECM smart bombs for disabling passing BMWs, to name but a few. All of this would be possible through a magical ultra-high speed network that we're sure will be arriving in London any day now.

We can dream, but alas Long's Portal is just a concept. Long has now won a Bluetooth-enabled Mini Cooper (nice ride) and a six-week internship at Motorola. We hope he builds a powerbase, destroys his enemies, takes over the company and launches the Portal to wild acclaim in 2015. And if not, he should at least get to work on the next 43 versions of the Razr -- which will no doubt include the Tigr, the Livr and the Snigr. Well done Richard! -AL