Thursday, April 25, 2013
Throughout history there have been wonderful inventions that have altered the life of the world’s population greatly: Gutenberg’s printing press, Watt’s steam engine, and the internet have all sparked technological revolutions in their time. Today, there are a few exciting up-and-coming technologies that have the ability to be more impactful than even the blockbuster inventions of the past.
Three technological revolutions of the near future
- The first revolutionary technology comes in the form of nanotech. Nanotechnology refers to the manipulation of matter on the atomic and molecular scale, whether that be making tiny machines that are smaller than a single human cell, or recombining substances on a molecular level in order to create a new compound.
The technological implications of a nano-revolution are immense, affecting medicine, industry, and electronics. Imagine having tiny nano-bots pre-programmed to eradicate things like cancer cells, or viruses that are incurable with today’s technology. The industrial applications of this technology may be even greater; nano-machine controlled factories could fit on a dime and produce goods that would require hundreds of workers’ weeks to match.
- A second exciting piece of technology is the revolution in 3D printing, which is the ability to print out an image of any shape from a digitized model. The printing process works by building up layers of material in the desired shape, leading to a much smaller and more affordable process that produces much less waste than traditional machining.
We are just starting to see the infancy of this technology take root in the form of low-cost 3D printers that can be used at home. Every week you hear stories in the news about the achievements people have been able to accomplish with their home printers, such as printing and marketing their own models and toys, to manufacturing successes like the 3D printing of a drivable car. Would you believe that in the future it may be possible to buy a car, have the digitized model sent to you via edelivery, and print it out at home? The day may not be as far off as you would think.
- The third and final piece of future-tech is flexible electronics, which are circuits that are able to be bent and stretched into any form imaginable. This technology operates by cutting-edge polymers, like conductive plastics, which allows them to be implemented on a flexible base.
When this technology is perfected it may lead to things like: flexible batteries that are nearly weightless compared to today’s batteries; electronic fabric that can be woven into ordinary clothes; and even electronic tattoos, allowing medical diagnostic information to be gathered continuously from flexible electronics embedded in your skin.
These three technologies are an exciting preview of what’s to come in the near future, and have the ability to revolutionize the way we experience everyday life, much like the printing press and the steam engine did in their day.
Tony likes to keep up with technological advancements and share some of the exciting possibilities of the near future.