Spending on research and innovation is at an all-time high. Global investment has topped $1.7 trillion. These are exciting times for anybody interested in technological innovations.
Are you curious about the newest futuristic technology innovations? Read on for 9 mind-blowing tech products that’ll change our lives in 2020 and beyond.
It used to be the stuff of science fiction novels and movies. Now, futuristic technology pops up everywhere we turn. Our phones, homes, and cars are stuffed with processing power and technological wizardry.
It’s hard to believe that less than 40 years ago cell phones were just emerging. The first cell phone was launched by Motorola in 1983 and cost $4,000. It had an impressive 30 minutes of life before the battery died.
The innovations that are emerging now promise to be just as life-changing. Many innovations are responding to existential threats such as climate change and life-shortening diseases.
1. 3D Printing
3D printing has been around for some years but the potential for its widespread use has yet to be realized. Putting 3D printing in the homes of consumers may be as exciting as putting computers into homes was when home computers first started. Entertainment, home shopping, and “working from home” have never been the same.
3D scanner uses include capturing accurate three-dimensional shapes in realistic detail. Partnered with 3D printing technology these 3D images can be replicated as physical objects in your home. Only your imagination limits what products will be delivered to homes this way.
Traditional manufacturing may feel the impact of this before too long. When you simply order the item and the instruction is given to your 3D printer to make it for you, manufacturing plants will be redundant. It’s expected that open source code will be available before long so you can print many of the things you want without a charge.
2. Coffee Culture
There seems to be a coffee shop on every corner of our major cities. This is replicated almost everywhere in the world.
Imagine all the coffee waste these cappuccinos and lattes produce. Used coffee grounds go into general waste or at best are composted in a food waste recycling plant.
An innovative new approach has been developed to recycle coffee grounds and make them into something useful. One product is the coffee log. These can be burned in a wood burner providing heat for homes.
3. Internet of Things
Computers are everywhere now. They’re built into your phone and car. They’re in your washing machine and your watch.
They will soon be in your belongings in a way that will be less obvious. To date, we have considered our computer devices, even when embedded in appliances, as something we actively use. We give them instructions and read the display showing their output.
Things will soon be more subtly computerized. When natural language and artificial intelligence direct their actions, these things will work much more independently.
Imagine wearing clothing that is embedded with sensors and that corrects your posture. The Pilates shirt is already here and it’s soft, subtle and as futuristic as you like.
Climate change is manifesting itself in many forms. Freak weather, melting ice caps and flooding are among the most obvious. While efforts are being made to reduce the effects of man-made climate change, geoengineering also has a part to play.
Geoengineering is an environmental intervention designed to reduce or even reverse the effects of climate change. Futuristic innovations in the geoengineering world include weather control, ocean fertilization, and artificial trees. This last idea is a way of removing carbon from the atmosphere just as trees do.
5. Lab-Grown Meat
Food production is at risk. Global warming is changing our ecosystem so much that food production as we currently do it is unsustainable. Is the only answer for us all to go vegan?
As populations around the world become more affluent their appetite for meat increases. This phenomenon is positive in that it demonstrates a general improvement in the welfare of these populations. The negative implications are beginning to be better understood.
Producing meat is an inefficient way of making protein with many environmental downsides. It results in environmental disasters such as deforestation in the Amazon basin. Wherever meat is produced bio-diversity is reduced.
Grass and other livestock feeds are grown at the expense of natural ecosystems. The meat production process produces greenhouse gas and contributes to climate change that threatens the planet. There may be a modest shift to vegetarian and vegan diets but it’s not happening at anything like the speed needed to save the planet.
Lab-grown meat is already a reality. This isn’t the same as vegetarian food that is textured and flavored to appear like meat. It’s real meat that has been grown artificially.
The next step is to make meat artificially on such a scale as it is commercially viable. This cultured meat may be part of our salvation as well as preserve the hamburger as our favorite fast food. The lab-grown meat hamburger will taste and feel like meat because it is meat.
Technological innovation is also taking place on a small scale. That’s a really small scale. Nanotechnology is engineering at the molecular level.
Miniaturization has been the stuff of science fiction. The fantasy has been that submarines and their crew could be miniaturized and navigate around a human blood system. They would then be able to combat microbial enemies.
Nanotechnology has the power to tackle some of the biggest killers that human beings face. Nanotechnologists have created particles that can attack and neutralize bugs such as MRSA. The medical applications are just one area this technology has the potential to impact.
7. Life-Changing Data
When “big data” gets to work it can provide insights that are unimaginable without massive processing power and huge data storage. These analytical tools are being applied to the world of health and medicine.
The applications in diagnosis, identification of risk, and treatments may provide answers that conventional medical research has struggled with. Perhaps virulent cancers, the diseases of aging populations, and treatments for drug-resistant bugs will be among the first areas to benefit.
A future when health and wellbeing are universally available might be a futuristic dream. Data might hold the key to making it a reality.
8. Ways with Wastewater
New technologies are turning wastewater into a resource. It used to be a simple matter of disposing of it but the environmental impact of wastewater makes this unsustainable.
Providing fresh, clean water for the world’s growing population is increasingly difficult. Global warming is putting water supplies at risk. Populations are growing and they’ll also be on the move. Innovative technologies are making it possible to re-use wastewater and even to use it as an energy source.
9. Computer Vision
As computers get better at understanding the inputs from cameras we will see amazing functionality develop. This technology is actually based on several technologies converging.
Artificial intelligence or AI is finding applications in many fields including medicine, engineering, and stock market trading. When applied in the field of computer vision it enables autonomous vehicles and robotics.
Developments in image sensors can provide computer vision systems with inputs that exceed the limits of human vision. Infra-red light rather than visible light means that computer vision-enabled devices can navigate in poor weather conditions and in darkness.
The applications are numerous and exciting. Machines will be able to carry out inspections in hazardous conditions. They will be able to assist in identification tasks such as border control, retail customer tracking, and surveillance of suspected terrorists.
Medical applications are especially important. Remote assessment of scanned images such as blood tests and biopsies could mean cheap and effective disease prevention and treatment.
Military authorities will be using machine vision to support missile guidance systems and the detection of enemy forces. The use of drones will be improved by putting intelligence into the drones so that more decision making will be made by the intelligent systems rather than by an operator. This may improve decision making and speed of response to threats.
It’s this capability that will allow autonomous vehicles to navigate our highways. These vehicles will reduce accidents, remove the dependence on recruiting and retaining drivers, and help reduce congestion. Deliveries from your e-commerce supplier to your home will be quicker, cheaper, and more reliable.
More Technological Innovation
There will be many more exciting futuristic technology innovations than we can imagine. Hopefully, they will enable us to tackle the problems we face in this small corner of our solar system.
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