10 amazing technologies that we will see in the coming years

May 11, 2011

We live in very exciting times. Here are just a few innovations in technologies that will drastically change our lifestyles as we continue the road towards 2020 and beyond. Enjoy.

1. Electronic Papers


No more tediously flipping through news pages. One screen interface covers it all.

This versatile and flexible material is produced when organic electroluminescent displays are combined with organic thin film transistors. The end result is a device with a thickness of less than 0.3mm and the ability to display high definition videos.

Advanced development will lead to improved resolution and contrast, and the ability to reduce or block out glare completely.

This kind of technology will not only help cut down on deforestation, but will also change the ways in how our homes, schools, and offices operate.

Imagine in the late future, your ipads would be like giant stone slabs in comparison to these electronic papers.

2. Holographic Versatile Disk


HVD’s unique way of storing data gives it advantage over previous generations.

These disks are able to store about 1Tb of information, the equivalence of over 200 DVDs. The difference between the HVD and the Blu Ray is that the HVD works by storing data in micro 3D holograms, instead of scanning markings on a surface. The 3D holograms allow more information to be densely packed, resulting in more storage space.

Disks in general however, may soon become overtaken by more convenient ways of storing and accessing data. Solid state drives are able to hold up to 2Tb now, and even Petabytes in the future.

If you didn’t know, 1 Petabyte is the equivalent of a million Gigabytes. That’s a whole lot of songs you could store.

3. Memristors


These intelligent circuits might one day change the way we view our gadgets.

Memristors are known as the fourth fundamental circuit element, and would contain properties that are unachievable in other elements such as capacitors, resistors, and inductors.

With over 40 years of development, memristors will finally start appearing in the near future in consumer products.
Conventional circuits store data with electronic on and off switches and this is how the majority of our electronic devices are built. Memristors however, work in a totally different way. They operate at the atomic level and contain a variable resistance, which means that they are able to remember their resistance when the power is turned off.

Any device built using memristors will benefit from extremely faster speeds, denser size, and phenomenal battery life. Imagine your laptop booting up almost instantly and lasting for several months with one battery charge.

The flexible nature of the memristors will also allow for dynamic configurations. Since they behave in a similar way to our own brain synapses, we may be able to build complete human brains out of these memristors in the future.

This would bring new meaning to the term “brain-like computers”.

4. Text by thinking


You think, it texts.

In 2010, Japan created mind reading devices capable of taking a person’s brainwaves and turning them into data.
In the near future, devices could be made that would take advantage of this brain-machine interface. You could turn your TV on just by thinking about it, and you could return all those text messages without even budging.

There has never been a better time to be lazy.

5. Holographic Television


So much better than netflix.

Holographic technologies have been studied for nearly three decades now. One of the main problems faced when developing holographic technology for televisions are the “rewrites”. The time it takes to display one hologram after another is very choppy and slow, which means that it is highly unrealistic to watch television. Imagine playing a video game at 4 fps. Fantastic.

However, there has been substantial improvements in such technologies. A fps of 24 has been achieved for televisual displays. These holographic devices are still relatively new and very expensive. As further refinements of the technology happen, more companies will rise to bring down the costs of this technology to an affordable range for the majority of people.

6. Intelligent advertising


Advertisers will know everything about you. Literally everything.

Nanotechnology will make several leaps and breakthroughs, allowing the production of microsensors. These devices will be embedded in posters and various out door media which will be able to identify people by their mobile phone or laptop chips. The personal preferences will scanned and utilized. The posters might electronically display a product that is appealing to the person.

Ultrasonic beams may deliver a localized message that only the receiving person can hear. Even in crowded places like NYC, you will be surrounded by advertisements and sounds that appeal to your interests and lifestyles.

These technologies will lead to issues and controversies about the invasion of personal privacy, as well as the potential of inducing anxiety and paranoia from all the personal advertising.

7. Laser-driven fusion


Will our future be powered by quick release laser fusions?

The potentials of lasers are being explored at a much deeper level. A high energy Laser energy research facility has been built in Europe to study the probabilities of creating a commercial grade laser induced fusion reaction.

The concept behind this fusion consists of a center core fuel pellet in which lasers are fired into. The laser compress the pellet into a state of high density. Then, a second highly concentrated laser is fired into this high density state with nanoprecision. This action will ignite the fuel and raise core temperatures to over a hundred million degrees celcius, hotter even than our Sun’s core.

At this temperature, fusion reactions are allowed to occur, and result in Helium induced energetic neutrons that are released and then captured to generate electricity.

When fully developed, this quick fusion will become a revolutionary form of energy production.

8. Medical Nanobots


So what was the definition of cyborg again?

Medical nanobots are robots manufactured at the atomic level and programmed to help with certain health conditions. These robots would be able to target specific viruses and help balance general wellness. The nanobots are built atom by atom and equipped with tiny motors, sensory guidance, and communication devices.

These little buggers could lead to several major breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer and other dangerous illnesses. Patients will be treated with extreme precision. Advancements in neurological disorders will lead to dramatic improvements in treatments such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Imagine nanobots and advanced stem cell research combined. These two forces will create a whole new generation of medical sophistication and efficiency.

9. Human Brain Simulations


The implications of simulating a real brain are overwhelming. The amount of answers and secrets we could unlock about the human body are endless.

The exponential growth in computing power has allowed for significant improvements in creating accurate models of the human models.

The MDGrape 3 based supercomputer is capable of processing powers up to 10^15 floating point operations, or flops. The processing power of the human brain is roughly 10^19 flops. Between 2005 and 2025, the increase in computational power will be almost a million times better.

Once these levels of flop speeds are achieved, a complete simulation of the brain will become available for study and research.

10. Human-like AI


When AI is capable of emotions, how different will we judge them?

Advancements in various areas of nanotechnology, biotechnology, neurology, and computational powers will allow the creation of the first computer to ever pass the Turing test.

The line between real and CGI will become so blurred that it is impossible to distinguish a computer animation from a real animation. These breakthroughs will be implemented in devices such as virtual realities.

The creation of Human-like AI will create powerful controversies as people become separated between robot rights. Robot racism will spring up and create new ideologies and divisions within our society. The age of AI will be brought upon us.

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