Technology That Is Currently Emerging
1. Memory Implants
This ever-evolving technology allows individuals who have experienced paralysis to walk again. With recent studies done, scientists have implanted recording devices that come in contact with the motor cortex region of the brain. They then align it with electrodes at the spinal cord right below where the paralyzing injury occurred. This creates an artificial neural signal that is sent to the brain and tells a human being that they can move their arms and legs just as someone who is not paralyzed can do. Scientists expect the memory implant technology to be used fully on humans within the next ten years because of the recent success this past year in laboratory environments with human volunteers.
2. Face Identity System
This technology has been coming to fruition for the past 20 years in China and is now available in the newest version that uses what is called “deep learning.” This is a type of artificial intelligence that is designed specifically for recognizing images. The computer element that is reading a human’s facial features is programmed to focus on facial features only. As the technology is used more and more outside of Asia, it is being consistently updated to be able to scan a person’s head movement in order to capture their unique facial features with a system used in China from the company Face++. The more adept the face identity system becomes at reading a human face, the harder it will be for criminals to steal our identities.
3. Hot Solar Cells
For a number of years, scientists have been trying to perfect what they call a solar “super-charger” or more scientifically, a “thermophotovoltaics.”
As of this year, the MIT researchers have come up with a thermophotovoltaic solar device that is the first of its kind because it can absorb for solar energy the actual cell itself and then recycles the energy back to a home or business. This means that heating efficiency can be dramatically increased by up to 80% and even more as the technology is improved upon in the coming years.
4. Residential Sustainable Units
With many homeowners more concerned about going green, there is more interest in constructing and renovating homes to reduce energy output and conserve on water and other green goals. The sustainable unit idea is a program that originated in the San Francisco area that is taking up to 40 homes and is connecting their energy systems, including installing solar panels on each home, to promote energy efficiency and to lower energy costs. The test program that began this year is predicted to lower the energy bills of each resident who is participating by half and reduce carbon emissions to zero.
5. Sensor and Imaging Farming
With the world’s population skyrocketing and less land to farm, scientists have been afforded the task of finding a means by which people can farm smaller plots of land and yield a more significant crop. The new technology that is being implemented for this task is called precision farming. By using sensors in combination with robots equipped with GPS, farmers are experimenting with being able to customize the way in which they care for their crops without utilizing an excessive amount of land and labor and a reduction in chemical and water use. This begins with mapping tools and a specific software that gives them the analysis of their crop and their farming area. Many companies that specialize in farming equipment and products like John Deere and Monsanto are developing the precision farming software to begin to market for global use.
6. Advanced Gene Therapy
The idea for gene therapy evolved many years ago, but until this year, it has only begun to be tested on humans. The basic idea behind this technology is to create, in a laboratory, a synthetic gene that can be input back into a human that has a debilitating or life-threatening disease. That synthetic gene will then act as a reproducing healthy gene to replace the human’s defective one. Right now, gene therapy is being tested in scientific labs settings with at least 50 separate diseases.
7. Liquid Biopsies
In many cases where the potential for cancer is detected in a person, tissue-based biopsies are not able to be performed. The liquid biopsy technology not only allows medical professionals to perform a biopsy in cases where they cannot normally do so, but it is so advanced that it also gives doctors more crucial medical information about the patient that a tissue biopsy. Doctors are able to see the progress of the disease much easier and identify how it will be resistant to some treatments as opposed to relying on just the patient’s symptoms for a proper diagnosis choice of how to treat the disease.
8. Quantum Computing
This is a whole new platform of computing. Where our everyday computers today are binary, quantum computers use super positioning technology to create what are called subatomic particles that make computing a multi-modal function. This creates an enormous amount of computer power and a more rapidly performing computer platform. It also uses less energy in order to perform. It is now being used and tested in at least 50 different companies worldwide.
9. Genomic Vaccines
This year, research scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have concluded their years’ long research into the genomic vaccine technology with the hope of preventing diseases that are contracted through viruses and bacteria. This new vaccine will give a human the needed pathogens in their immune system to fight off the proteins or antigens in viruses and bacteria that allow these afflictions to grow in our bodies.
10. Reinforcement Learning
Still in its inception, this technology is what self-driving cars have evolved from. The artificial intelligence in reinforcement learning actually “teaches” the vehicle through practice how to perform with perfect execution of the task. The reinforcement software performs the task repetitively and alters the instructions slightly each time to add another element to the task. Whenever the vehicle attempts the task and performs it well, the software adapts to this and programs it into the system. Companies that are perfecting this software for use in many vehicles are looking at a wide release date of several years from now.