Being an active investor, it's natural for me to want to combine my two favorite pastimes and focus on investments in sectors that I think will benefit from technology advances in the coming years. Specifically, I think that robotics, artificial intelligence, genetics and nanotechnology will play pivotal roles in the coming decades. As such, I’d like to share with you a few of the investments that I have taken an interest in over the past year. Please be advised that I have personal investments in the companies listed below as of the time of this writing. In fact, I would not feel comfortable making a recommendation for a stock that I was not willing to personally invest in. It’s up to you to decide on an investing strategy that makes sense to you in regards to your own personal goals. Please make sure to do your own research, or consult with an investment advisor before making any investments.
Honda Motor Company (HMC) is certainly known for their automobiles, but if you look at their current research and development strategy, you'll also find that they are also focused on providing robotic solutions. Although too expensive for the mainstream market today, the ASIMO robot is well down the path toward being the automated home robot that we've all been expecting since watching the Jetsons cartoons. I find it fascinating that we are living in times where an autonomous robot has achieved fairly natural bipedal locomotion and can navigate obstacles while holding a drink tray or pushing a food cart.
iRobot (IRBT) is another favorite of mine. I gave two of the Roomba sweeper robots as Christmas presents several years ago to my extended family and kept a third for myself. I was simply amazed by the ability of these devices to keep up with the crumb trail that follows behind our children. We mercilessly forced it to clean up endless pet hair tumbleweeds, crayon shards and an uncountable number of Little Einstein cereal loops that had been pulverized into the carpet. While their domestic robot line has grown recently with the addition of floor washing, pool and gutter cleaning robots, you may not be aware that iRobot designs robots for the government and industrial sectors as well and has already delivered 1,000 of their PackBot robots. You can visit their web site at www.irobot.com.
Nuance Communications (NUAN) is a leader in the speech recognition market with their Dragon Naturally Speaking software for the desktop. Microsoft embedded this technology in the Vista release of Windows, but I personally find that the Dragon solution is more powerful and accurate. Nuance is positioned to do very well in the coming years with voice-activated telephone services, other technologies which permit the control of devices and applications by speaking and healthcare dictation and transcription services.