Future of Technology – This past decade made one thing absolutely clear: technology can be applied to every aspect of our lives. Technology is in every home in the form of thermostats heating up residences before homeowners walk in. They are now in almost every vehicle in the form of safety features, which alert us about out-of-view obstructions. Some of us even wear technologies like wristwatches that can monitor and report our health.
Now that we are at the end of another decade, we have come across many tech-related concepts gain momentum. Tech concepts, like coffee-powered cards, brain wave passwords, and floating farms, are far from being real. However, some incredible innovations and inventions have been realized and might shape the future of technology and change the world as we know it.
1. Living Robots
We hear a lot about nanotechnology in movies and TV shows, but could they become a reality? Well, the biologists at the University of Vermont think so. Tiny hybrid robots were made with the help of stem cells that were extracted from frog embryos. These tiny ‘living’ robots are expected to be used to gather up microplastic from oceans and even swim around in human bodies for medical procedures.
Joshua Bongard, a robotics expert and computer scientist at the University of Vermont, helped develop this cutting-edge technology. He described these nanobots as “novel living machines.” These microscopic robots, being dubbed as xenobots, can neither be classified as a part of any known animal species or even as a traditional robot. “It’s a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.”
2. Internet for Everyone
All of us are already hooked to the internet, and it is impossible to imagine a future without it. Even though this is the case, there are still quite a few populations who aren’t online. This could be due to social or economic factors, but the fact of the matter is that there are still some people who can’t access the internet because they do not have access to the infrastructure required for it.
Many tech giants have shown their interest in solving this problem. Google is leading the way by planning to launch helium balloons into areas and beam an internet connection to areas, which don’t have access. Facebook was planning to do the same with the help of drones, but they have abandoned their plans – which made way for other companies such as Hiber.
However, Hiber has a completely different approach to solving the internet problem. They are planning on launching a network of microsatellites (approximately the size of a shoe-box) that will orbit Earth sixteen times daily. If you’re surprised by this fact alone, you should know that The British Antarctic Survey has been doing this for quite some time now.
3. AI Scientists
If you chop off a flatworm’s head, it grows a new one. When you cut them into half, they grow into 2 different worms. If you direct radiation towards them, they repair themselves. Many scientists have been baffled by these characteristics and have tried to work out the mechanisms for years. Little did they know that an AI coded program from Tufts University in Massachusetts has solved this mystery within 42 hours!
The AI-coded ‘scientist’ analyzed and simulated countless scenarios to interpret the regeneration characteristics of flatworms. Even though humans had fed the AI technology with relevant information, it was able to come up with an abstract theory on its own. This is also a landmark step for scientists towards developing a conscious computer and carrying out complex research.
4. Smart Needles That Detect Cancer
Scientists in the UK have been able to develop a ‘smart needle’ that could possibly speed up the process of cancer detection and, in turn, diagnosis. Researchers believe that this technology may help in detecting lymphoma while also reducing the anxiety of patients as they wait for results. Currently, people who are suspected of having lymphoma will have to go through the trouble of providing a sample of their cells before undergoing a biopsy. Naturally, this process was too time-consuming.
This new technique for detecting cancer is called Raman spectroscopy, and it involves shining a low-powered laser into the body to measure molecular changes. These changes can, therefore, be associated with diseases in cells and tissues – and the best part – all of this is done within seconds.
5. Silicon Chips With Artificial Neurons
Until quite recently, neurons were as plain as black boxes for scientists, but Professor Alain Nogaret of the University of Bath said that they have managed to open this black box to see inside. Now Professor Nogaret and a team of leading scientists have actually found a way to make silicon chips with artificial neurons latched onto them. This also means that these silicon chips can mimic all the neurons in the human nervous system by recreating their electrical properties.
Professor Nogaret said in an interview that their work is going to change the future of technology because their creation can reproduce what real neurons create in very minute details. Other than this, this innovation is a significant development because these artificial neurons will only require 140 nanowatts to be powered. This, according to the head of the project, was a billionth of the power that is required by a microprocessor that was used to make other synthetic neurons.
So how are these artificial neurons going to be used practically? Researchers are hoping that their creation would be used as an integral part of implants that may be used to treat medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s or heart failure.
Bonus Breakthrough: Sonic Fire Extinguishers
What does the future of technology have in store to counter fire hazards? Well, researchers at George Mason University in Virginia may have asked the same question, and here’s their hypothesis. Since sound is created with the help of pressure waves, sound can also be used to disrupt the air around fire. Doing so will cut off the oxygen in the area, therefore leaving nothing to fuel the fire.
These young researchers worked some more on this hypothesis and found that at the right frequencies, fire can be put out instantly. You can see it work its magic too. Their prototype sonic extinguisher already has millions of views on YouTube, along with making a special appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
by Bobby J Davidson
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