Your engineering horoscope for 2013

The future lies ahead

As we stand on the threshold of a New Year, E&T offers a truly unbelievable insight into what 2013 may or, most likely, may not hold for those in the world of science and technology.

Aries 21 Mar - 19 Apr

Lucky colour: Anything from 590 to 580nm 

Favourite technical term: Flange 

Birthstone: Mick 

Mood: Sheepish

Key advice: Beware a tall dark stranger – he may turn out to be a dwarf on stilts.

9 February: Today you receive a phone call from a man claiming to be the inventor Trevor Baylis. He offers you the chance to invest in his latest project, bringing widescreen high-definition TV with Dolby 5.1 stereo surround-sound to the villages of sub-Saharan Africa. Incredulous, you ask: 'Is this a wind-up?' 'No,' he will reply, 'it works off solar power.'

23 May: Good news for electronics engineers: the prototype of your revolutionary new 3D viewing helmet arrives from the workshop. Bad news: you poke an eye out in your haste to unbox it.

26 October: The Internet of Things sees your smartphone now able to talk to your television, only it gets really annoyed if it does it during EastEnders.

Taurus 20 Apr - 20 May

Lucky transuranic element: Fourleafcloverium 

Favourite technical term: Dongle 

Birthstone: Keef 

Mood: Bullish

Key advice: This year you will meet and woo your future spouse. Just try not to be discovered by your current one.

14 March: Bad news for fruit farmers who today receive official legal documentation stating the noun 'apple' is now the legal trademark property of the Apple Corporation of America. Similarly, people working in human resources get hand-delivered notices declaring that the plural 'jobs' also belongs to Apple. Fortunately Apple's attempts to copyright the proper noun 'Sam' and the past tense 'sung' are thrown out by the courts as being a potentially vindictive business practice.

1 June: Google acquire exclusive rights to the music from Cats, Evita and Phantom of the Opera for use as ringtones on your smartphone. To mark their download you receive a personal thank you text from their composer, the freshly renamed Sir Android Lloyd Webber.

12 September: 4G coverage becomes available for the first time in many remote areas. Concerned that the dizzying download speeds will scare many former rural broadband users, the government insists the image of a bowler-hatted man waving a red flag must appear every time country people log onto the Internet.

Gemini 21 May - 20 Jun

Lucky transuranic element: Blackcatium 

Favourite technical term: Gluon 

Birthstone: Charlie 

Mood: In two minds

Key advice: A man will come from far across the ocean with some good news: he has overcome his seasickness.

10 January: Be warned! Your innovative non-GPS navigation system based on micro-variations in the Earth's magnetic field will fail in preliminary trials and you will be forced to go back to your drawing board. Sadly, you will be unable to locate it.

20 August: You take delivery of a brand new domestic 3D printer ordered over the Internet. However, it turns out to be a replica made by an unscrupulous early adopter with their own 3D printer. A police raid on their premises shows this also to be a copy. Confusingly, Scotland Yard describe it as a 'highly original crime'.

21 August: More bad luck. Thieves using another 3D printer steal your cat and replace it with an identical-looking substitute. This time Scotland Yard more accurately describe it as a 'copycat crime'.

Cancer 21 Jun - 21 Jul

Lucky number: e 

Lucky letter: E 

Favourite Yorkshire-ism: Ee 

Lucky gadget: e-Reader 

Birthstone: Ronnie 

Mood: Crabby

Key advice: He who hesitates is lost, unless he has sat nav.

3 February: You begin your first day as a volunteer in a drug trial testing a new drug developed to reduce anxiety in people afraid of taking medicines. Predictably, you are too scared to take it. As your recalcitrance threatens to scupper the validity of the trial, you are told that the medicine you have been assigned is in fact a placebo. As a result, the dose has no effect whatsoever on your anxiety about patent medicines and the whole sorry process has to be repeated day after day. However, the trial has a solid, statistically valid outcome: by the end of it you have developed an allergic reaction to placebos.

24 May: The amazing connectivity of the Internet of Things sees your fridge sending you a text informing you that a carton of custard, a tub of whelks, and six slices of black pudding have all reached their use-by dates. Luckily Heston Blumenthal has an inspired online recipe for just such a situation.

11 December: Reports from the Gran Telescopio Canarias in Spain cause you to worry about the very real possibility of collision with a Near Earth Object (NEO). Best check your car insurance.

Leo 22 Jul - 22 Aug

Lucky number: π 

Lucky food: Pie 

Favourite defunct British electronics company: Pye 

Birthstone: Sly 

Mood: Prideful

Key advice: Beware the Ides of March, and those of any other small Cambridgeshire market towns.

8 March: Your development of a cheap, portable, low-energy model of the controversial 'millimetre wave scanner' currently employed at UK airports pleases your bosses so much they can no longer conceal their excitement. At their request, you destroy the unseemly images.

25 August: You are invited to attend the Nasa unveiling of a memorial to Neil Armstrong on the first anniversary of his death. It is a statue mounted on a low plinth, posing access problems for wheelchair users. However, the official explanation runs 'It's one small step for a man''.

4 November: A good day for biomedical engineers with the announcement of a huge advance in scanning resolutions. Tomographers say they are now close to having a machine capable of reading doctors' handwriting.

Virgo 23 Aug - 22 Sep

Lucky town: Maidenhead 

Favourite technical term: Plumb-bob 

Birthstone: Joss 

Mood: Open to offers

Key advice: Do not let life simply pass you by. Install a toll gate.

10 January: Good news: skydiving Internet sensation Felix Baumgartner drops in on you unexpectedly. Bad news: it's from 24 miles up.

23 May: You are both excited and disappointed that your name has been put forward as a candidate for a three-year Nasa mission to a passing asteroid. Excited, for the chance to be part of space exploration history. Disappointed, when you learn it's your wife that volunteered you.

14 September: Having run the entire gamut of big cats from Cheetah to Mountain Lion, loyal Apple customers like yourself turn away in droves after the release of their latest OS X update, 'Garfield'.

Libra 23 Sep - 22 Oct

Lucky transuranic element: Chimneysweepium 

Favourite technical term: Clusterfunk 

Birthstone: Sharon 

Mood: Unbalanced

Key advice: You will find treasure down the back of a sofa, making your Sunday trip to IKEA all the more worthwhile.

7 February: A glitch in the iPad's voice recognition software Siri means it can no longer distinguish the speech of middle-aged married men. As a result you become one of many frustrated males of a certain age to be heard complaining, 'My wi-fi doesn't understand me'.

6 June: A good day for British innovation. Having perfected the towelless handryer with his ultra-hygienic Airblade, James Dyson incurs the wrath of millions of holiday-making Germans with his radical new towelless sun lounger.

30 October: You pioneer localised remote data storage by setting up a micro data ecosystem that includes only your own home and those of your neighbours on either side, thereby proving the old adage, 'Two's company, three's a cloud'.

Scorpio 23 Oct - 21 Nov

Lucky musician: Sting 

Favourite technical term: Camshaft 

Birthstone: AbFab's Patsy 

Mood: Venomous

Key advice: Only YOU can make your dreams come true - especially that one about being naked in the boardroom.

23 April: A day of mixed emotions for engineers. First, graphene technology advances to the stage where it can be used to produce a touchscreen computer that can be folded and stored out of sight behind the ear. Then, photographic evidence emerges showing Gary Lineker has been doing this for years with his iPad.

19 August: Your ingenious plan to import self-scan shopping software into the world of air traffic control by painting planes with barcodes backfires disastrously.

Several aircraft are not recognised, while an orange and white EasyJet flight is mistaken for an egg and logged as a UFO (Unidentified Frying Object).

22 December: After hundredfold increases in reports of Apple malware, iOS device users are urged to change their password from 'smugflashg1t'.

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21

Lucky element: Silver (though, sadly for you, only because of its renowned anti-bacterial properties) 

Favourite technical term: Grease nipple 

Birthstone: Blarney 

Mood: All a-quiver

Key advice: It is never too late to be an early adopter.

9 January: Having signed up for the top tariff on the new 4G phone service, you find you can only get speeds above those of 3G if you move to Hull or Nottingham. With this in mind, the phone industry announces the name of the next generation of mobile networks: 'Apollo-G.'

6 June: A difficult period at work. After consistently missing your engineering targets, your personal files are hacked into and stolen by a rival company. Your boss calls and congratulates you for singlehandedly setting your competitors back six months as well.

23 October: Good news: you achieve weightlessness for three seconds allowing you to consider the effects of microgravitational forces on intermetallic materials. Bad news: you achieve this by falling through an open window 150 metres up while trying to view your samples in a better light.

Capricorn 22 Dec - 19 Jan

Lucky facial hair: Goatee 

Favourite technical term: Swarf 

Birthstone: Fred and/or Barney 

Mood: Horny

Key advice: Life is not a rehearsal; yours appears to be a farce with a limited costume budget.

3 March: Today is a good day for all nanotechnologists to have their products photographed in the presence of really tall people to make them look even smaller.

17 June: You provide the first positive experimental proof of an energy-viable method of producing petrol from air and water. Given our current run of summers, it is predicted the UK could be fuel-independent by as early as 2016.

25 September: Final confirmation of the'existence'of the Higgs boson and the fifth-dimensional Higgs singlet revives your excitement at the prospect of one day being able to view the future, though it dampens on hearing that BSkyB have already acquired the broadcast rights.

Aquarius 20 Jan - 18 Feb

Lucky transuranic element: Horseshoeium 

Favourite technical term: Thrust 

Birthstone: Kidney 

Mood: A bit wet

Key advice: If a thing's worth doing, there'll be an app for it somewhere.

1 March: You win a seat on RyanAir's newly launched hypersonic air service. Unlike more expensive hypersonic flights, RyanAir planes only go as far as the mesosphere rather than the thermosphere, but the company insist 'it's only half an hour by bus from there'.

19 May: A chance windfall gives you the means to buy a widescreen OLED TV. Knowing they are both organic and highly expensive, you mistakenly attempt to buy one in Waitrose.

5 November: Your deep suspicions about the Internet of Things are proved correct when both your smartphone and your washing machine unfriend you on Facebook.

Pisces 18 Feb - 20 Mar

Lucky colour: Salmon pink 

Favourite technical term: Sprocket 

Birthstone: Gall 

Mood: Distinctly fishy

Key advice: You can never be sure what is round the corner – not if you're using Apple Maps...

6 April: A bad day. After opting for a tablet that uses the very latest gesture recognition software, you are arrested for insulting behaviour while attempting to compose an offensive Tweet in public.

10 December: A good day for Cybersecurity Software Designers to attend their company's fancy dress Christmas party dressed as James Bond. You can then spend the evening boasting how your spywear went undetected.

31 December: You take delivery of a parcel that you appear to have sent yourself but do not remember sending. On opening, you find it is a 4D printer that manufactures 3D replicas of objects from the future. A note in your own handwriting says 'Plug me in. P.S. Buy that island in the Caribbean you always wanted.' It prints out a series of sports results yearbooks for 2014.

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