NEWS

Five Emerging Technologies on the Horizon

It’s time to peer into our crystal ball to identify the technologies and trends which will shape our lives in the not too distant future… and possibly within 10 years. We’ve all heard or read about new technologies such as driverless cars and virtual reality in the media, but most people aren’t sure when, if ever, these technologies will begin to touch their lives. What follows are five emerging technologies whose time has already come.

Virtual Reality

VR is here now owing to heavy investment by the likes of Google, Facebook and Samsung, with the technology already being used for simulations and training capacities such as airline pilot training. But its appeal to gamers and entertainment buffs guarantee its growth. Expect the demand for virtual reality to grow when more head-mounted displays such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony’s Project Morpheus, become available later this year and in early 2016.

VR“Smart” Homes

Connected homes that allow things like household energy and entertainment to be controlled with a simple touch of a button, or permit the monitoring of security systems, are gaining steam. They are also garnering major investment from companies such as Apple, Samsung and Google, and may be common in homes within a decade.

Connected home

Biochips

Biochips will play a big part in our future, and include things such as tracking and secure identification. But with an aging worldwide population, and the population in general primed to explode, biochips will play an increasingly important role in diagnosing diseases and heading-off health problems. And because they can perform multiple functions such as gene decoding, they are akin to biological mini-computers.

Presently mainly the purview of labs, biochips may make their way into doctors’ offices within 5 years, and be available to assist folks in their homes to predict illness in the next 10 years. The potential of these devices is huge, because multiple tests can be performed simultaneously, allowing for faster analysis than traditional methods.

For example, a biochip, also known as a “lab-on-chip” can be used to detect food pathogens like E.Coli, salmonella, listeria and others all at the same time, and conveniently inserted chip into a cell phone could turn it into a home health device capable of communicating with doctors and hospitals.

Lab on chip

Autonomous Vehicles

Though they’re here now, they may be ubiquitous in 10 years, judging from the present-day hype. Cloud computing, mapping, and artificial intelligence are aligned to make this former pipe-dream a reality before long. It seems the only thing preventing autonomous cars from gracing our roads is the political will, combined with ethical and legal issues. How we allocate resources and manpower is also a consideration, as well as how to shift professional drivers into other employment.

shutterstock_307554404

“Smart” Robots

These functioning autonomous machines have already found a home at Amazon, because not only can they sense their environment, they can learn from their performances and improve on them. They are fast gaining acceptance in assembly roles and order fulfillment, but they are becoming valuable, too, in other roles such as shopping assistance.

Smart robot

I, for one, am anxious to see these platforms become increasingly omnipresent, as they enhance the quality of life while boosting the living standards of society. Let’s hope that politicians don’t get in the way of progress with arcane arguments and roadblocks, as they have with many other budding innovations before they were embraced by the public.


Stan Ward Stan Ward has enjoyed writing for 50 years. Writing has been a comfortable companion to a successful business and teaching career for him. Find him on Google+.

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