One of the most exciting things about working for a company like TrendScout, is that we are constantly on the look out for the next big investment opportunity. This means constantly reviewing new technologies, researching start ups and hunting for glimmers of gold. This article talks about some of the most interesting things we've seen along the way...
Your smartphone is running out of charge but you have left the charger at home. You find yourself panicking as you are awaiting an urgent call. Can't wait to plug in your phone back to a power source straight away, right? Last year, the FCC approved the first “power at a distance” charging system, which uses radio waves to charge your device from up to three feet away. The charger is expected to be universal, allowing people to charge multiple devices from a single base.
Still not impressed? Let’s take it a notch higher . Engineers at the University of Washington have developed a phone that doesn’t need to be charged. It draws its power from ambient radio waves and light. And by 2029, we could see the introduction of batteries that you can simply charge with the carbon dioxide that you exhale.
That Macbook Air is pretty thin. So thin, in fact, that it makes you wonder whether physical computers are going to vanish altogether in the next 10 years or so. We are not sure about that but if developers at Intel are to be believed, the keyboard and mouse surely aren’t going to be with us much longer. After all, who needs cumbersome devices when you can control a computer with your mind?
“We’re trying to prove you can do interesting things with brain waves”, says Intel researcher Dean Pomerleau. “Eventually, people may be willing to be more committed to brain implants. Imagine being able to surf the web with the power of your thoughts.”
Despite your doctor’s repeated insistence, you feel too lazy to walk. Well, here’s some good news for you. Get paid now for taking good care of your health. One of the most interesting blockchain projects in the world is Sweatcoin. The steps users take — recorded by their smartphones — can be converted into credits for online shopping. However, it would be a folly to consider blockchain as synonymous with cryptocurrency, as it offers much more than that. It has proved its usefulness as a means of identification, a way to guarantee privacy, and even as a form of tamper-resistant digital voting. In the Spring of 2018, Sierra Leone held the first blockchain-based election.
We are living in an extremely exciting time in terms of science and technology. Things that were science fiction a couple of decades ago have become normal day-to-day components of our lives. The giant strides taken by digital technology in the last 5 to 10 years have exceeded the expectations of even popular science fiction movies of the 70s and the 80s. Smartphones, cloud computing, blockchain, AI, multi-touch tablets, robotics, clean- tech, etc. have revolutionised the way we live and work.
It may sound incredible, but we are just getting started. Technology has been advancing at a rapid pace in recent years, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. The awe-inspiring quality about all these technological innovations is that they create technology that facilitates technological change at an unheard-of pace. This means that the next ten years are going to blow everything else out of the water when it comes to technologies that are expected to revolutionise the world.
The history of innovation is replete with instances of accidental discoveries. The microwave, sticky notes and X-rays were all accidental discoveries, discovered inadvertently in the search for something else.
Here, we talk about a few awesome innovations that cover different aspects of our lives. Get ready to control your smartphone with your brain waves, print your creative physical product or charge your phone with your breath. Prepare to dive into the virtual world, ride self-driving cars or have chips implanted in your brain that could give doctors real-time access to information like glucose levels, blood pressure and heart functioning. Get ready for some big changes. Come unfold the future with us.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine intelligence, , focuses on the creation of intelligent machines that think, act and work like humans. Machines that try to simulate human thinking abilities, learn from experience, adjust accordingly to new commands and perform tasks in a manner considered intelligent. From chess-playing computers to problem solving, speech recognition, self-driving cars to advanced robots, we are in the midst of an artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. AI has captured our imagination like never before and it is believed that technology is crucial to the optimisation of human thought in a way the industrial revolution was to human labour. AI is getting smarter by the day and it is believed that in the next six to seven years, it is going to be advanced enough to sit on a corporate board of directors.
Fingers serve a lot of important functions. However, losing them does not mean your life has to come to a standstill. Bionic Hands, controlled by brain signals, allow people without fingers to have fully functional hands that can pick up and handle delicate objects. The hand, controlled by the brain, is installed with a plastic covering resembling human skin.
Just as the term suggests, 3D printing is the revolutionary technology that could forge your digital design into a solid real-life product. While it has been there for some time in the advanced mechanical industry, a personal 3D printer is the technology creating a lot of buzz. This technology will allow them to print their own physical product based on their custom design. And for your knowledge, even James Bond’s Aston Martin, which was crashed in the movie, was a 3D printed product!
The first decade of the 21st century has been witness to some truly awe-inspiring innovations in robotics. Robots have already caused major disruptions in industries such as auto manufacturing, and the time is not far when advanced robots will begin to improve human labour in more advanced fields. In fact, we shouldn’t be surprised if we have robots for helping around the house or doing our construction work in the next 7-8 years. Big strides are being made in the field of robotics, thanks to massive advancement in AI and ML. For example, BigDog, which came out a couple of years ago, is a 4-legged robot that can navigate difficult terrain and correct its balance when shoved. And a bipedal version of BigDog can walk heel-to-toe just like humans do.
Are you a gaming freak? If yes, Leap Motion technology should definitely get your heart racing. Leap Motion wants to go above and beyond the miserably-failed Multi-touch desktop technology. This technology lets you control the desktop with fingers, without any contact with the screen. It is much more than your typical motion sensor, as Leap Motion allows you to do a lot of things like zoom images, scroll webpages, sign documents, etc. with only hand and finger movements. This technology, in conjunction with Oculus Rift (3D headset that lets you mentally feel you are actually inside a video game), possesses the potential to completely revolutionize the multi-billion pound gaming industry.
Think of Dubai and the first thing that might come to your mind is ‘ridiculous extravagance’, but developers in the region are taking the construction industry to an all-new level with Revolving Towers. This beautiful building is going to be made of 59 independently rotating modules/floors so that the occupants can have an ever-changing exterior view. Each floor will rotate at approximately 6 meters per minute so that the inhabitants will not notice the movement.
People who watched iRobot may never have thought that driverless cars will be a reality one day. The movement toward self-driving cars comes in the wake of major disruptions caused by how we travel with the advent of ridesharing services. When it comes to self-driving cars, Alex Davies in WIRED puts it this way: “In the past five years, autonomous driving has gone from ‘maybe possible’ to ‘definitely possible’ to ‘inevitable’ to ‘how did anyone ever think this wasn’t inevitable?’”
A lot of interest is being shown to develop cars that mimic human intelligence by companies including the big automakers (Tesla) tech companies (Google) and ride-sharing services. The cars are likely to be powered by artificial intelligence (AI), video cameras inside the car, sensor on the vehicle’s top, and some radar and position sensors attached to different positions of the car.
If all the solar energy striking the Earth's surface in Texas alone could be converted to electricity, it would be up to 300 times the total power output of all the power plants in the world. The best thing is that solar power is extremely clean, with zero greenhouse gas emissions. It is believed that solar energy will soon make fossil fuels and other polluting or inefficient methods of generating power redundant.
According to Kurzweil, “the cost per watt of solar energy is coming down rapidly and the total amount of solar energy is growing exponentially. It has in fact been doubling every two years for the past 20 years and is now only eight doublings away from meeting all of the world’s energy needs.”
Hoping to make this prediction a distinct reality is the company Sandia, whose solar cells are made of 100 times less material than the current top solar cells without any loss in operating efficiency. Solar energy is harvested by capturing light for direct photovoltaic conversion into electricity. The biggest hindrance so far in tapping the sun’s limitless energy has been expensive and large nature of solar panels. Sandia’s microscopic cells need to be moved a fraction of a millimetre to track the sun efficiently while weighing next to nothing.
What’s more awesome is that the cells can be suspended in liquids and printed on flexible materials, allowing them to be placed on any surface. Just imagine your entire car covered in these powerhouses. Adieu BP.
Scientists still haven’t been able to find a cure for the common cold. But that does not mean you cannot set your sights on higher goals. A company called Organovo has developed the first commercial 3-D bio printer that builds custom organs cell-by-cell with sample cells taken from the body of the patient. As per the company, veins and arteries will be available in 5 years and more complex organs like hearts and livers in a decade or so.
As per Moore’s Law, the number of transistors we are able to cheaply put in computer chips doubles every year, thereby doubling the speed. However, Moore himself came out and said his law will most likely fail by 2020. The exponential rise in computer processing speed and the tectonic shift in the technology it spawns makes it one of the most exciting and dynamic times in human history.
At the speed we are going, the next 10 years are going to bring us tech that will seem like magic, but at the same time accessible to all, thus becoming a basic part of our daily lives. Additionally, at the breakneck speed technological breakthroughs are being achieved, we won’t have to wait long to see the future we are building for ourselves.