I know, 13 is not a good number for the Americans. But as the saying goes, ‘Chase Your Fear And Your Fear Will Run Away From You’. So I am giving all the Americans the chance to face their fear.
Here are 13 technologies that might see the light of the day.
1. Brain-Computer Interface
The barrier between machine and mind is narrowing as research into brain-computer interfaces hits high gear. Researchers at Duke University have already moved to connecting the brains of two mice over the internet.
The mice located in different countries were able to use this “brain net” to collaborate towards solving simple tasks for rewards. Another experiment found success when Harvard researchers connected a rat and human brain using non-invasive techniques.
The most ground breaking work was done when false computer based memories were transplanted into a mouse brain at MIT. The technological implications are staggering and will completely alter the way in which we interact with computers.
2. Nanostructured Carbon Composites
Nanostructured carbon composites could hold the key to addressing three major concerns facing the world – reducing our carbon footprint, improving passenger safety in vehicles and not polluting the environment.
Their use in manufacturing can reduce the weight of vehicles by more than 10 percent. This small change has serious fuel efficiency consequences and can help reduce carbon emissions. In addition to which the light weight material proves to be highly impact resistant due to its surrounding polymer matrix making vehicles safer for passengers.
And most of all, it’s designed to be easily reusable and not be discarded as a pollutant. A singular answer to our environmental problems
3. Adaptive Technology
Wearable technology isn’t just about Google Glass and Nike+ sensors. The real emergence in wearable adaptive technology takes place in its seamless integration to our human-experience.
From the use of temporary tattoos that track vitals, to foot sensors that guide the blind using vibrations and GPS – the potential for these products is more than a style statement.
The most recent breakthrough in this field is the creation of the Single Pixel Contact Lens, that provides users with a Heads Up Display without any external accessory.
This microscopically designed contact lens prototype is only the beginning of how technology is being adapted to the human experience to serve human needs.
4. High Density Batteries
New developments are underway to increase energy density – from nano-component based lithium batteries to lithium-sulphur batteries which seek to increase their limit exponentially.
These new batteries will make products like perennial computing systems, long distance electric cars, wearable technologies and even home based solar energy generators to become the norm.
This new generation of high density batteries can make even the most impoverished societies energy efficient and improve the lives of billions across the world.
5. Manufacturing at Home
Consumerism with all its benefits and flaws has remained largely unchanged due to mass production since the industrial age and. Products are created in bulk for cost effectiveness and distributed via various channels to consumers.
However, the next generation of consumerism is here with additive manufacturing a.k.a. 3D printing taking hold. The ability to create complex and useful items such as decorations, crafts, tools, food and even medication via 3D printers is slowly being developed.
In the emerging age of customised individualism manufacturing most of your goods from the comfort of your home will change how people consume products making the term “mass produced” obsolete.
6. Marine Metal Mining
Two of the biggest crisis facing humanity are those of our dwindling potable water supply and declining natural resources. According to researchers, the ocean might hold the key to these problems.
Developments in marine mining technology using catalyst assisted chemical engineering techniques have shown promise. This process not only purifies seawater to create a drinkable water supply but also allows us to harvest minerals from the leftover brine waste.
The brine waste created can be used in offsetting the high cost of making potable water as it will help us mine elements like lithium, magnesium, uranium and other high value minerals in one singular process.
7. Augmented Humanity
The highest potential of technological development is always its eventual invisibility. From electricity to mobile devices, we take the greatest modern technologies for granted due to their seamless integration into our lives.
The next step in this evolution is for humans themselves to become carriers of technology which aid in our day to day lives.
By “hacking’ the mysteries of the human body scientists are looking for ways to create technologies such as bionic implants and exoskeletons that will change the way we live forever.
8. Deep Learning Machines
The first step to creating an artificial intelligence is to find a powerhouse of computing and data storage.
By employing a vast resource database of information, a machine can be programmed to learn independently by understanding language, and then making inferences and decisions.
In today’s internet driven world, companies like Google already hold the vast amount of computing power and storage needed and by partnering with researchers like Ray Kurzweil we already have an ongoing project that seeks to create a “deep learning machine”.
These software driven machines are structured to mimic the activity of neurons in the human neocortex to learn patterns in all forms of digital input to slowly become autonomous.
9. Grid-scale Electricity Storage
The requirement of energy and storage is the biggest issue in the world. To tackle this crisis, the development of grid scale electricity storage has taken off with live projects around the world in places like Japan, Spain, United States and Europe – many of them showing immense potential.
Using diverse technologies like high storage batteries, solar to thermal storage, molten salt storage and superconducting magnetic storage, innovators are not far from standardising a safe, reliable and efficient storage for the world’s energy needs.
10. Human Microbiome Therapeutics
But the use of human microbiome therapies can take it a step further by altering the very foundation of biological existence – at the gene level – to augment microbes within the human body in order to influence human biology.
By harnessing the power over these microbes, scientists can improve healthcare in a variety of ways such as treating diabetes, obesity, improve nutritional consumption and even defend against diseases such as cancer.
11. Quantified Self (Predictive Analytics)
Our real lives are intertwined with our digital lives – our medical data, our communication habits, our movement patterns and even our thoughts and feelings – form a quantified version of ourselves.
By using powerful analytical algorithms, we can soon expect to find valuable results from our quantified selves. These millions of data points from our lives will soon provide us with a predictive analysis of all our needs in healthcare, work and lifestyle – to make our lives better. After all, that’s what technology is primarily for.
12. RNA-based Therapeutics
Innovations in the development of pharmaceuticals and other treatment technologies is another aspect of medical sciences that is undergoing a sea of change.
Scientists are dedicated to unravelling the power of the RNA component biological specimens so they can create ever more powerful medical drugs and treatments.
Targeted RNA therapies are being tested to preemptively disrupt the occurrence of diseases by blocking their messenger signals – this could lead to cures and treatment for cancer, tumours, heart disease and hepatitis virus.
13. Screenless Display
Display screens are changing from objects that are looked at, to being a naturally organic extension of an users field of view. Innovations like Google Glass and Oculus Rift – use augmented reality and realistically created digital worlds respectively and are changing the way we interact with the world.
The next wave of innovation in three dimensional holographic projection displays will further blur the line between our real and digital lives making screen-less displays our window to the future.