Today, we couldn’t even imagine our lives without phone, laptop or Internet connection. Technology has infiltrated our lives in so many ways that it is hard to imagine generations of people who were able to reach each other, keep in touch with what was happening and accomplish tasks without technological innovations, which we now consider indispensable.
But technology keeps evolving, and what we think of today as groundbreaking may become obsolete in a couple of years. Here are ten technologies that will change the world.
1. 3D Printing
Already large companies own such 3D printers, but the next step is bringing them into our homes. Virtually any shape can be printed. User has to create a computer program and the printer will deliver the product to the smallest detail.
The MakerBot company has already created a 3D desktop printer prototype, a little bigger than a typical multifunction printer. Even some cases of regular iPhones are printed, as a producer in America began using this technology.
2. Electronic paper
In other words, computer monitors as thin and flexible as a piece of paper, plus non-crease and perfectly green. John Rogers, professor of science and engineering, along with a few colleagues from the University of Illinois, has developed an organic film transistors (OTFT) based on semiconductor carbonic able to control the pixels on the active matrix displays. The OTFT can be printed on a flexible support such as plastic wrap, and allow real-time updating of the information displayed.
3. Around the Earth in 24 hours?
After the unfortunate withdrawal of all aircraft Concorde supersonic, civil aviation risks to disappear. This is what Kimberly Ernzen (31, manager of Propeller Aircraft Group) and Cathy Downen (33, research manager of Raytheon Aircraft) are trying to avoid by developing a machine capable of doing circumnavigate the Earth in a single daily. The prototype they had in mind is the size of a Boeing 737.
Conventional batteries are too big, too heavy and too little resistant to face the future portable devices, the overall situation facing a real race to develop a small energy source and that will not run out very quickly. Paul Ronney, University of Southern California, and Sossina Haile, from Caltech, think they have the most appropriate solution: a fuel cell with liquid fuel, which is more compact and more efficient than methanol fuel cell, often considered the energy source of the future.
5. A sea of sensors
Be careful where you step, you might step on a few extremely useful robots without having realizing it. At least that what Kris Pister, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley, California, thinks, whose goal is to create vast networks of robots, each having the size of an aspirin.
6. My friends, the robots
Machines that can interact with people has been a long goal, which today seems closer than ever. Sociable robots can educate children, take can care of the elders and especially can become companion for the lonely. On this works Cynthia Breazeal, Director of the Robotic Life Group Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After two years, Breazeal created Kismet, a robot head able to display a wide range of facial expressions in response to visual and auditory stimuli from humans. Leonardo, the newest and advanced accomplishment can sustain eye contact with a person move almost naturally.
7. Therapeutic cloning
Beyond the horror stories about human and animal clones, this is a fascinating promise: one day, any man who will needed a transplant to survive, will have a chance to get the body part that he needs. Instead of waiting for a donor to miraculously occur (which, in most cases, means basically someone waiting to die), you simply place an order in a specialized laboratory.
8. Control your computer without mouse and keyboard
American company Leap Motion has developed a device that replaces the keyboard and mouse. The product contains three infrared sensors and two cameras that can be connected via USB to your computer and is compatible with Windows 7, 8 or OS X 10.7 or 10.8. After it is installed, you can control the computer with only the movements of the hand or fingers.
9. Autonomous vehicles
Cars that will drive themselves. Currently machining technology helps people (eg autopilot), but limited assistance will gradually be replaced by total control of the car software.
10. Solar energy, cheap and handy
The most direct conversion method of solar energy into electricity through photovoltaic cells is still expensive, but it will not be long. Scientists estimate that electricity from solar sources will reach same cost of conventional electricity produced and distributed through the network. Photovoltaic panels will become a standard equipment for new construction and thus our homes will feed themselves on energy.