So many imagined technologies that were previously thought to exist only in the realm of science fiction have become a basic part of our lives. In Stanley Kubrick film version of the future 2001: A Space Odyssey, a man videophones his daughter on-board a space station. Now, you have the power to Skype with anyone around the world from your laptop, or even with Facetime on your iPhone.
If the past ten years have proven anything, it’s that innovations in technology will no longer have a subtle impact on our lives; rather, they will transform them completely. Emerging technologies in the past year alone possess such potential in commercial, residential, and even military applications.
With an eye towards a more hopeful and globally-connected future, here are 10 of the top technologies that will mostly likely change your life forever.
Technologies That Will Change Your Life
This may be the one innovation that truly boggles the mind, but it is scientifically possible to transmit electricity from one source to another through the air like radio signals. But it’s been around since Nikola Tesla first designed alternating current to power civilization; it just hasn’t been able to be imagined in an efficient and expansive manner until now. This process involves transmitting energy from a transmitter via an oscillating magnetic field to a distant receiver.
This used to be an extremely labor intensive and inefficient process, but now with the creation of resonant power transfer devices, that are easier to manufacture and reproduce, it no longer is something beyond our capability. There are already wireless phone and tablet chargers and soon this technology can be applied on a larger scale.
Graphene may be a material that is a mystery to most laymen, but it’s a revelation to those in the physics and engineering professions. It’s a material derived from carbon, but this is too simple a description. It’s actually a honeycombed sheet of carbon only one atom thick used for various applications. It’s 200 times stronger than steel, yet it is also elastic like certain plastics.
It’s also an excellent conductor of heat, is impermeable, and has fascinating electronic properties – affecting protons and electrons in wondrous ways. And the uses for such a material are vast, which includes more efficient computer chips and replacing certain engineering projects that normally use metal or wood. All the while being extremely light and thin.
If you’ve ever watched Harry Potter or Star Trek movies and wished for something that could turn you invisible, you may not have to wait much longer. Cloaking technology has advanced greatly in recent years.
Previously, engineers have been able to create materials that could either just bend or refract light or images, or were effective at aiding in rear projection systems that mimicked invisibility. Now, there is a new method that has been so successful that it’s even gotten the attention of the military. This process involves what is called a dielectric meta-surface cloak – a super thin, non-metal material that can manipulate (by absorption or deflection) electromagnetic waves, visible light, and radio waves. This material can not only be used on battleships and fighter jets, but also in conjunction with both private and government security systems.
Carbon emission extraction
You may already be aware that the rising levels of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere have been repeatedly identified as the main culprit in causing rising temperatures and global warming as a whole. What if it were possible to not only extract excess CO2 emissions from the air, but to also refine these emissions into solid carbon materials? This is no longer in the realm of the theoretical, as scientists from George Washington University have recently revealed to the public. This involves placing electrodes in a mix of molten lithium carbonate and lithium oxide on a large scale to perform a type of electrolysis that extracts carbon from the atmosphere and creates carbon nano-fibers of various shapes and sizes with this process.
Though it’s still in its early stages, and has yet to be tested on a large scale, this technology has the power to solve a great ecological dilemma, and also to help provide cheap and plentiful building materials for future generations.
According to engineers and physicists, CNTs (or carbon nanotubes) are the next big thing. These are ultra-thin materials that have the potential to revolutionize modern electronics since you can fit more transistors onto a computer chip that are made of carbon nanotubes than you could with transistors made of traditional silicone.
Even though they have been around for 25 years, there have always been problems with how they respond to electrical currents, which has kept them from being widely used. But in the 25 years since their inception, many of these problems have been solved. Soon, that brand new iPhone in your pocket will be obsolete, only to be replaced by one that is 25 times faster that uses CNT-based processors
Advances in the Potential for Immortality
Previously limited to ill-conceived industries like cryogenics, immortality technology has always been based on human lifetime expansion rather than actual indefinite human life spans. Now, with the advancement of artificial intelligences and soon to be created synthetic or bio-mechanical brains, it may be possible to transfer a human consciousness at the end of its natural lifetime into a holographic avatar.
This image of the person you once were is powered by the artificial brain your consciousness is downloaded into. Even better, it may be even possible after a time to download this AI of yourself into a human-like robotic body controlled by this brain. Of course, we can only assume this may be available only for the wealthiest of clients.
Memory Crystal Data Storage
It is highly likely that if human civilization were to become instantly extinct tomorrow, there would be very little to indicate the existence of human civilization after 1000 years other than the ruins of our urban centers.
Most of the data stored on hard drives, or on cloud servers, would be inaccessible after a time period when the materials where this data is stored deteriorates. For example, flash drives have a lifespan of 10 years before they begin to breakdown and disintegrate. If, also, the accumulated knowledge of human history is to be kept for future generations, we’ll need more than a good back-up drive.
This is where memory crystal data storage come in. These are chips made of crystalline materials that can store 360TB (terabytes) on a single disc and can last up to 13 BILLION years! It involves using a laser to write dense amounts of data onto small slivers of nano-structured glass discs using 5 dimensional rather than 3-dimensional storage.
The Smart Bra (Wearable Tech)
Some people may be fine with having a FitBit or an Apple Watch with a jogging app, but having this type of technology fully integrated into the clothing you work out with is the next evolution of such technology. There are already men’s shirts with much of this technology assimilated into their fabric design, so why wouldn’t women want these advantages too? And what better item to accommodate such innovations, while making them more readily presentable, than a sports bra?
This is the line of thinking behind startup OMsignal’s latest piece of consumer electronics. It is a bio-metric smart bra that is made with a four-way stretchable fabric that can conform itself to the shape of the wearer’s body while tracking their heart rate, their breathing rate, and the number of calories they burn while exercising.
A sensor on the rib cage of the smart bra transfers this data to the bra’s accompanying smartphone or smartwatch app. This close proximity to the wearer’s vital organs can make tracking of this data quicker, more efficient, and more accurate.
You may have already noticed the tech industry’s growing love affair with virtual reality, so this is nothing new. What is new is how VR can change the way you interact, not only with technology, but with other people as well. Soon, not only will you be able to attend concerts while not even present at them, you’ll be able to attend important business meetings from the comfort of your own home and experience both as though you were actually there.
Grid Scale Electricity Storage
The main obstacle preventing fluctuating, renewable sources of energy from being adopted—on the kinds of massive scales needed to supplant fossil fuels—is the expense needed to transfer this energy from its source to a destination. What if you could store energy produced in this manner on a scale comparable to city electricity grids? This would revolutionize the energy industry as we know it and begin humanity’s eventual adoption of renewable electricity production.
Though many of these technologies are still in their infant stages, many of them have already been reproduced independently on small scales and only require further time and refinement to make them viable for use by the masses. It may take anywhere from 5 to 25 years, but don’t be surprised if some of the items on this list become conveniences that your children will one day take for granted.