Like it or not, technology is improving rapidly, offering breakthrough innovations and designs every year. SomeveryThe brightest minds are out there creating the next piece of future technology that will completely change the way we live our lives. Scientific progress may seem constant, but we have seen a period of immense technological improvement over the last half century.
There are innovations right now that are straight out of the pages of science fiction. Be it robots that can read minds, AI that can create images itself, holograms, bionic eyes or other stunning technologies, there is much to look forward to in the world of future tech. Below we have selected some of the biggest and most interesting ideas.
Not every technology that improves our future has to be complicated, some are simple but extremely effective.
One such technology came from some Finnish engineers who found a way to turn sand into a giant battery.
These engineers dumped 100 tons of sand into a 4 x 7 meter steel bucket. All of this sand was then heated using wind and solar energy.
This heat can then be distributed by a local utility to heat buildings in nearby areas. In this way, energy can be stored over long periods of time.
All of this is done through a concept known as resistance heating. Here a material is heated by the friction of electric currents.
Sand and all other non-superconductors are heated by the current flowing through them, generating heat that can be used as energy.
Many technological advances have come from copying the traits of animals, and "Octa-Gloves" are no exception.
Virginia Tech researchers developed these underwater glovesmimics the sucking abilities of an octopus for a human hand.
The team behind these gloves reinvented how an octopus' suction cups work. This design was developed to perform the same function as the suction cups above, activating a fixation on objects with light pressure.
By using these suction cups and a series of micro-sensors, the suction cups on the gloves can be squeezed and released to grab objects underwater without exerting a squeezing force.
This may be used by rescue divers, underwater archaeologists, bridge engineers, rescue teams and other similar fields in the future.
The insertion of a pig heart in a humanfeelingssuch a bad idea, and yet this is one of the newer medical procedures making rapid advances.
Xenotransplantation- the process of transplantation, implantation or infusion of cells, tissues or organs of animal origin into a human being - has the potential to revolutionize surgery.
One of the most commonly performed procedures to date is the insertion of a pig heart into a human. This has already happened twice successfully. However,one of the patientslived only a few months ago, and the second is still being watched.
In these surgeries, the heart cannot be placed in a human immediately; gene editing must first take place. Certain genes need to be removed from the heart and human genes added, particularly in the area of immune acceptance and genes to prevent heart tissue from overgrowing.
At the moment these operations are risky and the outcome is uncertain. In the near future, however, we may see xenotransplantation taking place regularly, providing animal hearts or tissues to people in need.
more like that
Likeartificial intelligencecontinues to get both jobs and people done, there is a new industry to add to the list - the art world. Researchers from the company OpenAI have developed software that is able to create images from just formulated prompts.
Type in "a dog in a cowboy hat singing in the rain" and you've got a bunch of totally original images that fit that description. You can even choose what art style your request will be returned in. However, the technology is not yet mature and still has problems, for example when we gave bad promptsDesign cartoon characters.
This technology is known asgive it to herIt is now its second iteration and the team behind it plans to develop it further. In the future we could see this technology being used to create art exhibitions, for companies to quickly get original illustrations or, of course, to revolutionize the way we create memes on the web.
Brain reading robots
No longer a science fiction trope, the use of brain reading technology has improved tremendously in recent years. One of the most interesting and practical applications we've tested so far comes from researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).
Using a machine learning algorithm, a robotic arm, and a brain-computer interface, these researchers were able to create a remedy for quadriplegics (those who can't move their upper or lower body).interact with the world.
In tests, the robotic arm performed simple tasks, such as driving around an obstacle. The algorithm would then use an EEG cap to interpret the brain signals and automatically determine when the arm made a movement that the brain thought was wrong, such as moving too close to the obstacle or driving too fast.
Over time, the algorithm can adapt to the individual's preferences and brain signals. In the future, this could lead to brain-controlled wheelchairs or assistance machines for paraplegics.
3D printed bones
3D printing is an industry promising everything from cheap house building to affordable sturdy armor, but one of the most interesting uses of the technology is in the construction of 3D printed bones.
The enterpriseossiformspecializes in medical 3D printing and manufactures patient-specific replacements from various bones made of tricalcium phosphate - a material with properties similar to human bones.
Using these 3D printed bones is surprisingly easy. A hospital can perform an MRI, which is sent to Ossiform, which creates a 3D model of the required patient-specific implant. The surgeon accepts the design and can be used in surgery after printing.
What is special about these 3D printed bones is that the body remodels the implants into vascularized bone due to the use of tricalcium phosphate. This means that they allow the function of the bone they replace to be fully restored. To achieve the best possible integration, the implants are porous in structure and have large pores and channels for cells to attach and reform bone.
Holograms have filled science fiction books, films, and culture for years, and while they exist, they remain elusive, especially on a large scale. However, a potential technology that couldChange that is Holobricks.
Developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge and Disney Research, holobricks are a way to stitch multiple holograms together into one large, continuous 3D image.
The problem with most holograms right now is the amount of data they must produce, especially when made on a large scale. A normal HD display for a 2D image takes about 3 GB per second to generate. A hologram of similar size and resolution would be closer to 3TB per second, which is a massive amount of data.
To counter this, holobricks would provide individual sections of a large holographic image, greatly reducing the amount of data required. This can lead to the use of holograms in everyday consumer entertainment such as movies, games, and digital displays.
Clothing that can hear
Wearable technology has come in leaps and bounds over the years, adding new features to the accessories and clothing we use every day. a promising wayinvolves listening to clothes, or at least the same capacity as an ear.
MIT researchers have developed a substance capable of detecting heartbeats, clapping, or even very faint sounds. The team suggested this could be woven into wearable technology for the blind, into buildings to detect cracks or strains, or even into fishing nets to detect the sound of fish.
For now, the material used is thick and a work in progress, but they hope to release it for consumer use in the years to come.
Dairy products made in the laboratory
You've heard of cultured "beef" and Wagyu steaks being grown cell by cell in the lab, but what about other animal foods? A growing number of biotechnology companies around the world are studying laboratory-made dairy products, including milk, ice cream, cheese and eggs. And more than one thinks they've deciphered it.
The dairy industry is not environmentally friendly, not even close. It accounts for 4% of global CO2 emissions, more than air and sea travel combined, and there's growing demand for a greener splash in our teacups and cereal bowls.
Compared to meat, milk is not that difficult to make in the lab. Instead of growing it from stem cells, most researchers try to make it using a fermentation process to produce the milk proteins, whey, and casein. Some products from companies like Perfect Day are already in the US market, with ongoing work focused on replicating the mouthfeel and nutritional benefits of regular cow's milk.
In addition, researchers are working on lab-grown mozzarella that melts perfectly on a pizza, as well as other cheeses and ice cream.
Carbon emissions are a big problem when it comes to commercial flying, but there's a possible solution, and it's gotten big bucks.
A £15m project in the UK has plans for aoperated with hydrogenAirplane. This project is known asfly zeroand is managed by the Aerospace Technology Institute in conjunction with the UK Government.
The project developed a concept for a medium-sized aircraft that runs entirely on liquid hydrogen. It would have the capacity to transport around 279 passengers across the world without a stopover.
If this technology could be upgraded, it could mean zero-carbon non-stop flight between London and Western America or London to New Zealand with a single stopover.
Digital "twins" that monitor your health
noStar Trek, where many of our future technology ideas germinated, people can go to the infirmary and have their entire bodies digitally scanned for signs of illness and injury. Doing this in real life, the makers of Q Bio say, would improve health outcomes while reducing the burden on doctors.
The American company has built a scanner that, in about an hour, will measure hundreds of biomarkers, from hormone levels to the accumulation of fat in the liver, to markers of inflammation or any type of cancer. He intends to use this data to create a 3D digital avatar of a patient's body — known as a digital twin — that can be tracked over time and updated with each new scan.
Jeff Kaditz, CEO of Q Bio, hopes this will usher in a new era of personalized preventative medicine, where vast amounts of collected data will help physicians not only prioritize those patients who need treatment most urgently, but also more sophisticated ones to develop methods for diagnosing diseases. 🇧🇷Read an interview with him here.
Direct air intake
Through the process of photosynthesis, trees remain one of the best ways to reduce levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, new technologies can play the same role as trees, absorbing more carbon dioxide and taking up less land.
This technology is known asDirect aerial view(DAC). Carbon dioxide is extracted from the air and the CO is stored2in geological caves deep underground or in combination with hydrogen to produce synthetic fuels.
Although this technology has great potential, it is currently associated with many complications. There are working direct air intake installations now, but current models require an enormous amount of power to run. If energy levels can be lowered in the future, DAC could be one of the best technological advances for the future of the environment.
Sustainable living is becoming a priority for people facing the reality of the climate crisis, but what about ecological death? Death is typically a high-carbon process, a final sign of our ecological footprint. For example, the average cremation is said to release 400 kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So what is the most environmentally friendly way?
In Washington State, USA, they can be composted. The corpses are placed in chambers lined with bark, earth, straw, and other compounds that encourage natural decomposition. Within 30 days, its body is reduced to soil, which can be returned to a garden or grove. Recompose, the company behind the procedure, claims it uses one-eighth the carbon dioxide of a cremation.
An alternative technology uses mushrooms. In 2019, the late actor Luke Perry was buried in a custom-made "mushroom suit" designed by a start-up called Coeio. The company claims its suit, which is made from fungi and other microorganisms that aid in decomposition and neutralize toxins that are produced when a body is normally decomposed.
Most alternative ways of disposing of our bodies after death are not based on new technology; they are just waiting to be accepted by society. Another example is alkaline hydrolysis, in which the body is broken down into its chemical components in a six-hour process in a pressure chamber. It's legal in several US states and consumes fewer emissions compared to more traditional methods.
Bionic eyes have been a mainstay of science fiction for decades, but now real-world research is starting to catch up with the insightful storytellers. A number of technologies are emerging to restore vision to people with various types of visual impairments.
In January 2021, Israeli surgeons implanted the world's first artificial cornea in a 78-year-old man who was blind on both sides. When his bandages were removed, the patient was able to read and recognize family members immediately. The implant also fuses naturally with human tissue without the recipient's body rejecting it.
Likewise, in 2020, Belgian scientists developed an artificial iris adapted to smart contact lenses that correct various vision disorders. And scientists are even working on wireless brain implants that fully contour the eyes.
Researchers at Montash University in Australia are working on tests for a system where users wear glasses with a camera. This sends data directly to the implant, which sits on the surface of the brain and gives the user rudimentary vision.
energy storage stones
Scientists have found a way to store energy in the red bricks used to build houses.
Researchers led by the University of Washington in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, have developed a process that can turn cheap and common building materials into "smart bricks" that can store energy like a battery.
Although the research is still at the proof-of-concept stage, scientists claim that walls made from these bricks "can store a significant amount of energy" and "can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times in an hour."
Researchers have developed a method to convert red bricks into a type of energy storage called a supercapacitor.
It involved applying a conductive coating, called a pedot, to brick samples, which then penetrated the porous structure of the fired bricks, converting them into "energy storage electrodes."
Iron oxide, the red pigment in bricks, helped the process, the researchers said.
Sweat powered smartwatches
Engineers at the University of Glasgow have developed onenovel flexible supercapacitor, which stores energy and replaces the electrolytes found in conventional batteries with sweat.
It can be fully charged with just 20 microliters of liquid and is durable enough to withstand 4,000 cycles of the kinds of flexing and bending you might encounter in use.
The device works by coating polyester-cellulose fabric with a thin layer of polymer, which acts as the supercapacitor's electrode.
When the fabric absorbs the user's sweat, the positive and negative ions from the sweat interact with the surface of the polymer, creating an electrochemical reaction that generates energy.
"Traditional batteries are cheaper and more common than ever, but they're often made from unsustainable materials that are harmful to the environment," he says.Professor Ravinder Dahiya, Leiter der Gruppe Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (Best) an der James Watt School of Engineering der University of Glasgow.
"That makes them difficult to safely dispose of and potentially harmful in portable devices, where a dead battery can spill toxic liquids on the skin."
"What we've been able to do for the first time is show that human sweat offers a real opportunity to completely eliminate these toxic materials, with excellent loading and unloading performance.
Self Care “Living Concrete”
Scientists have developed a so-called living concrete with sand, gel and bacteria.
Researchers said that this building material has a structural bearing function,is able to heal itselfand it's more environmentally friendly than concrete - the second most consumed material on earth after water.
The University of Colorado's Boulder team believes their work paves the way for future building structures that could "heal their own cracks, suck dangerous toxins from the air, or even glow on command."
TinyHybrid robots made from stem cellsFrog embryos could one day be used to swim human bodies to specific areas that need medicine, or to collect microplastics in the oceans.
"These are new living machines," he saidJosua Bongard, a computer scientist and robotics expert at the University of Vermont who helped develop the millimeter-sized bots known as xenobots.
“They are neither a traditional robot nor a known animal species. It's a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism."
Internet for everyone
We can't seem to live without the Internet (how else would you read sciencefocus.com?), but only about half the world's population is connected. There are many reasons for this, including economic and social reasons, but for some, the Internet is simply inaccessible because there is no connection.
Google is slowly trying to solve the problem withHeliumballonsBroadcast the Internet to inaccessible areas while Facebookabandoned plansdo the same with drones, which means companies likeFlysteal a march. They took a different approach, launching their own network of shoebox-sized microsatellites into low Earth orbit that would activate a modem connected to your computer or device as it flies overhead and deliver your data.
Its satellites orbit the earth 16 times a day and are already being used by organizations such as the British Antarctic Survey to provide internet access to the extremes of our planet.
Read more about the technology of the future:
- Dude, where's my flying car? 11 future technologies that we are still waiting for
- Exciting new green technology of the future
- Future technology: The most exciting innovations at CES 2022
Drown forest fires in noise
Wildfires could one day be controlled by dronesdirect loud noises to trees below🇧🇷 Because sound is made up of pressure waves, it can be used to disrupt the air around a fire, essentially cutting off the supply of oxygen to the fuel. At the right frequency, the fire simply goes out, as researchers at George Mason University in Virginia recently demonstrated with their sound extinguisher. Apparently bass frequencies work best.
Car batteries that charge in 10 minutes
Fast-charging electric vehicles are said to be key to their rollout, allowing drivers to stop at a gas station and fully charge their car in the time it takes them to get a coffee and use the restroom — which takes no more than an hour.
But fast-charging lithium-ion batteries can weaken batteries, say researchers at Penn State University in the US. This is because the flow of lithium particles, known as ions, from one electrode to the other to charge the device and keep the power supply operational, is not smooth when fast charging at lower temperatures.
However, they have now found that if the batteries were allowed to heat up to 60°C for just 10 minutes and then quickly cool back down to room temperature,Lithium spikes would not formand heat damage would be avoided.
The battery design they came up with is self-heating, using a thin sheet of nickel that creates an electrical circuit that heats up in less than 30 seconds to warm the inside of the battery. The rapid cooling that would be required after charging the battery would be provided by the car's built-in cooling system.
Their study, published in the journalJoule, showed that they could fully charge an electric vehicle in 10 minutes.
Artificial neurons on silicon chips
Scientists have found a way to attach artificial neurons to silicon chips that mimic the neurons in our nervous system and copy their electrical properties.
"Until now, neurons have been like black boxes, but we managed to open the black box and look inside," he said.Professor Alain Nogaret, from the University of Bath, who led the project.
“Our work is a paradigm shift because it provides a robust method to reproduce the electrical properties of real neurons in minute detail.
"But it goes even further, because our neurons only need 140 nanowatts of power. That's a billionth of the power required by a microprocessor that other attempts to create synthetic neurons have used.
The researchers hope their work could be used in medical implants to treat diseases like heart failure and Alzheimer's because they require so little energy.