Technology is progressing faster than ever, with groundbreaking new ideas being explored daily, from floating farms to edge computing. Here are the 15 most incredible emerging technologies.
Spin launch there’s been a lot of focus in recent years on private space companies and their quest to develop vehicles that can take paying customers into orbit. Still, the reality is that, especially with the pollution that traditional space flight creates, these advances will only make a difference to people other than billionaires for quite some time.
There is, however, a lesser-known company that’s making huge strides at making space technologies far cheaper, greener, and easier to access. It’s just that their focus is on satellites and not on human travel, known as spin launch.
The spin launch concept is relatively simple, although it is highly complicated to implement. Founded in 2014 and funded by large companies such as Airbus and google, they are building a kinetic energy launch system to insert satellites into orbit.
Instead of relying on chemical rockets to do this, they have designed a vacuum-sealed centrifuge that will spin objects around before releasing them into space at speeds of up to 5000 miles per hour. Once they reach a sub-orbital height, a traditional rocket booster can take over this concept, significantly reducing the fuel needed to be burned and made.
Even better, all the energy used to power the centrifuge is derived from green sources such as solar and wind. The company has even proved that most traditional satellite components can withstand the 10 000 g’s that they’ll be subjected to during a launch and even projects that will cost less than half a million dollars to send one into space instead of the tens of millions. It currently does with the test version already built and conducting launches. They hope the full-size device will be ready within a few years. This could permanently revolutionize satellite launches.
The graphene industry continually looks for new materials for more substantial and reliable performance. But the subsequent game-changing development is expected to be graphene. It’s a substance that’s long been theorized to exist but has proven to be so complicated to manufacture that it has become feasible until now.
As the name would suggest, it is derived from graphite which is the material you’ll be familiar with that’s used in pencils made entirely from carbon atoms. Graphite is a three-dimensional structure, but the exciting thing about graphene is that it’s two-dimensional.
This means that the carbon is arranged perfectly in a hexagonal honeycomb formation that’s only 0.3 nanometers thick, with just 0.1 nanometers between each atom. In practice, this new arrangement offers enormous benefits that are only starting to be fully understood. Graphene can conduct electricity far more efficiently than copper. For example, it’s also 200 times more potent than steel but six times lighter. It’s almost entirely transparent.
Because it only absorbs two percent of light and it’s impermeable to gases. Even the lightest ones can have chemical components added to the surface to alter their properties. Researchers see graphene more as a platform that developers can arrange in a way that plays to their needs.
It could, for example, revolutionize touch screen technologies to be incorporated to make lighter composite materials and has several uses and electronics. The possibilities are truly endless. It’s expected to be possible to produce it commercially within the next decade.
Gps 3 first began in 1973 and was completed in 1993. The American GPS satellite network was the first global navigation system and revolutionized how everyone determines where they are on earth.
At first, the benefits were envisaged for militaries. Still, technology has now impacted all of our lives, from how particular electronics work to satnav systems and location-based tracking.
The problem with GPS is that the original 24 satellites and subsequent ones added need to provide a perfect resolution and are only accurate within a few feet. They only offer full coverage worldwide for anyone who has tried to use location tracking in mountainous areas or dense urban environments.
Will know, and the signals are relatively simple to block, which is a constant threat for military use. There is, therefore, massive demand for improving the system. The technology has already been developed, known as gps3, and built by Lockheed Martin.
The satellites are already being launched and are expected to fully upgrade the network within a few years. When the project is complete, the signals will be far more precise than now and eight times stronger so they can’t be blocked, resulting in improved safety signal integrity and greater accuracy.
Floating farms as the world’s population continues to grow, one of the biggest problems we face right now is how to produce enough food to satisfy everyone’s needs. Amazingly an estimated 30 percent of the global land surface is dedicated to agriculture, and a third of that is used for crops. And the remaining two-thirds is used for grazing livestock.
This restricts the potential areas for inhabitation and encourages large-scale deforestation and habitat change to create more farmland. Some companies are looking for alternatives to this, and while you may have heard of vertical farms that look to improve the yield for the same size plot of land, others are looking at far more radical solutions. One is the idea of floating farms.
This can involve building huge complexes that sit on the ocean’s surface that can be moved to where they’re needed, crucially, are temporary. They make use of areas that wouldn’t be used for anything else and turn it into a profitable commodity. one of these has already been in operation for several years in the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
A company called belladonna has built a floating platform designed to farm 40 muse rhine isle cows that are all milked by robots.
By producing the product as close to the end consumers as possible, they’re reducing transport costs too. They also plan to be able to install floating farms in regions that have suffered from disasters to get food production up and running far quicker than would otherwise be possible.
Edge computing, the way we use computers, has changed significantly in the past few decades, and so has the way technology is designed to give us the best service. At first, everything was done on a particular device in our homes. We mainly use cloud computing, whereby most activities, from our emails to documents and virtually everything else, are held online.
Our devices are windows which grants us access to this. However, the problem with cloud computing is that most companies rely on the infrastructure of just a few cloud providers, Amazon and Microsoft. With Amazon alone accounting for 47 of the market, Google, and IBM, almost everything that can be moved onto the cloud has already been done. There’s little room to grow in that space, so others have been looking at the edge.
The cloud what this means is that they’re exploring ways to bring the processing and storage of the cloud geographically closer. Where the user is to improve the experience rather than just relying on a few data centers, it will see more work done locally.
The idea is that this will significantly reduce latency and improve privacy and security. It will help reduce the bandwidth used, so the infrastructure doesn’t buckle under the pressure of increased usage. In many ways, it’s going back to the idea of cloud computing. Still, it’s harnessing it to fuller effect if fingerprint or facial authorization.
It is dealt with directly by your smartphone rather than waiting for a server to reply. So you’ll be able to access your online content much more accessible. Similarly, self-driving cars are currently the best example of edge computing rather than waiting for the server’s response. It can function independently but, at the same time, needs to be centrally controlled so it’s automatically updated and so the algorithms can be improved.
Self-healing concrete is one of the most important construction materials used worldwide and is second to water in terms of the most consumed material.
Amazingly twice as much concrete is used in construction than everything else combined. This works out to be the equivalent of more than three tons per person in the world each year; the problem is that even though it’s a tough and durable material.
It’s susceptible to wear and tear and can develop cracks and holes that affect its stability in the long term. This means that it either needs to be maintained or replaced to avoid disaster, which can be costly. But researchers have devised a new solution, self-healing concrete, by adding bacterial spores.
Concrete mix and a food source like yeast extract a fantastic thing that happens when the concrete cracks. The bacteria are exposed to oxygen and water, begin to consume the food, multiply, and then produce calcium carbonate or limestone as a byproduct.
This, in turn, seals the crack again and, if done right, means that you won’t even be able to see where the gap had formed in the first place. The process can be completed for small openings within around 14 days, preventing them from widening and becoming a more significant problem soon. It’s expected that virtually all concrete will incorporate technology like this, and the days of potentially dangerous faults will be over.
Hydrogen fuel cells
Hydrogen fuel cells in the automotive industry are going through their most significant change in living memory, with virtually every manufacturer trying to develop technologies to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. While electric and battery concepts are the way forward, they aren’t a magic bullet.
There are concerns surrounding the provision of green electricity to all that need it and the fact that our electrical grids need to be designed to handle the loads that will be required. Even if this was sorted, there’s also the fact that batteries are relatively hefty for the amount of charge that they can hold, and while they may be suitable for cars, they’re not yet at a place where they’re viable for larger trucks, ships, or planes.
Another solution is needed, and the most likely candidate is hydrogen fuel hydrogen. It can be produced using various methods, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and other renewable energies. When it’s used, the only byproduct is water in the UK.
A concept train has already been fitted with hydrogen cells. And it’s undergoing tests while aircraft manufacturers. Such as Airbus see this as a far more viable target soon than full electrification, and car companies, too, are looking at how it can be used. The technology is approaching the stage. where it’s possible across a range of applications, and it’s only a matter of time until it’s commonplace.
Satellites into orbit reduce, and with the improvement in component design, and the potential uses of space technology, several big tech companies are now exploring the feasibility of creating their satellite constellations. The idea of a network of satellites to perform a role has been introduced previously.
After all, there are already six different navigational satellite constellations like GPS and several one-way and two-way communication satellite constellations.
Still, these have traditionally only used a few dozen nodes to operate. Recently, SpaceX has been creating a constellation of its own called Starlink, which will, when it’s completed, provide internet access across most of the planet. Amazingly this involves positioning as many as twelve.
Thousand are in orbit to give optimal coverage while the company may be paving the way. It’s just one organization looking at doing this Boeing on the web and amazon is also looking to develop their constellations to provide internet access. And this is just scratching the surface of what they can be used for if you look up. When it’s dark, you can see some of these satellites already; if progress continues at the current rate, the night sky may soon be full of them.
Companies worldwide are racing to develop the first full artificial intelligence. Still, there are steps along the way that will arguably be more impactful on the technology around us and how. We live our lives, and one of these concepts is the idea of deep learning, whereby computer algorithms can analyze past behavior and automatically find solutions to improve performance. One of the most interesting forms of this is called gpt-3.
Developed by open, it’s the third generation of a language prediction model, and the idea is based on learning by itself. It can write text the same way as a human does. It’s one of the most challenging types of human imitation. This latest attempt is almost unbelievable based on initial studies.
It’s virtually impossible to differentiate between something written by gpt3 or by an actual person. And companies like Microsoft have already begun to incorporate it into their products, described recently as being. one of the most exciting and essential ai systems ever produced gpt-3 will further blur the lines of reality. You may find yourself reading news articles or even novels that haven’t had any human involvement whatsoever.
Connected homes throughout history inventions have helped us save time on basic tasks so we can dedicate ourselves to more complicated ones, and this progression is continuing into the 21st century. While the concept of connected homes isn’t new, the increasing presence of the internet of things and technological advancements means it will become far more commonplace, reliable, and functional in the coming years.
In 2013 the market in the u.s alone was worth almost 6 billion dollars, and it’s estimated that 37 percent of households in the u.s have an intelligent device in their home right now. These are usually in the form of doorbells, heating light bulb speakers, and voice-activated assistance.
But there are so many ways technology can be incorporated that things will look very different in a few years. From connected fridges to power sockets, bathroom appliances, and even furniture, virtually everything that’s electrically operated could have a chip installed that’ll make it worthwhile from a smart device or simply by your voice. Furthermore, with so much of it being automated, our homes will care for themselves and allow us to focus more on our interests and family.
Lithium metal battery
Lithium metal batteries, there’s a focus right now on moving away from energy that produces emissions. One of the best ways to do this is by converting everything we use to run on electricity. As long the electricity comes from green sources. Significant strides have been made in the past couple of decades, but one of the most critical limiting factors is the capability of batteries currently.
The most reliable and cost-effective design that’s used is a lithium-ion battery. But these have limits with how much they can charge and how quickly this can be done, as well as some concerns about their safety. if they’re damaged. A company called quantum scape. However, developing an alternative is, instead of having liquid parts like a lithium-ion battery, solidly known as a lithium-metal battery.
The results from the company’s early tests have suggested these could increase the range of an electric vehicle. By as much as 80 percent and can be recharged in just a fraction of the time. Right now. The prototypes are too large to be fitted to cars. Still, they’re expected to become much smaller in the coming years. so much so that quantum scale has already signed an agreement with VW to start selling electric vehicles with the new batteries from 2025.
3d printing has had a varied history since it was first used in the 1980s. Even recently, feeding liquefied material into a chamber has only been helpful for specific tasks. Applying layer upon layer, being able to create a 3d object, it’s a technique that’s mostly been known for producing small plastic objects or replacement components for specific devices as our understanding of materials has improved through 3d printers.
Increasingly, making objects out of different substances is becoming seen as the future of manufacturing, from clothing and food to medical devices and the ability to prototype new designs rapidly. The possibilities are endless, but the most exciting area is how it’ll change large projects. Several buildings worldwide have already been built from 3D-printed parts.
And this will become even more common instead of needing to ship all the different types of bricks. Other factors are required to build a house.
All that’s needed is a supply of the primary material. A printer and everything can be manufactured on-site, it’ll reduce transport needs wastage and increase efficiency and could mean new homes can be built in a fraction of the current time.
There are two main reactions when people hear of blockchain: they start telling you about the best new cryptocurrencies to invest in or switch off from boredom. However, while blockchain technology underpins the operation of these new decentralized currencies, this is just the beginning of how useful and integrated into our lives it will become.
Put, a blockchain is a list of information linked together by a cryptographic technique, and once a block has been added, it can’t be changed and acts as a permanent record. To begin with, this was used to prove who owns a particular currency coin or, more recently, pieces of digital art, but some companies are exploring how much more expansive.
There are examples of how blockchain is being used to enable energy trading and various other transactions. Still, the most important use is that it can track the history of individual products. The food industry can benefit hugely by proving where and when ingredients were harvested or cooked. Brands will also be able to use blockchain to establish whether an item is an original or a forgery.
Fighting fire with sound. With our changing climate, wildfires are becoming more common and challenging to control. For example, in California alone, five times the area is burning each year now compared to what happened in the 1970s. This is only expected to increase. Traditionally the way to extinguish or at least limit the spread of fire would be to use huge quantities.
Of water or foam but with water shortages and the reluctance to drop chemicals onto the land, an alternative can’t come soon enough. Luckily a solution was first revealed in 2015 and has continued in development to the point where it’ll soon be deployed on a large scale.
First designed to put out small fires in kitchens, the acoustic extinguisher uses sound waves to push oxygen away from the source of a fire and spread it over a wider area. This cuts off the fuel of the fire and, if maintained for long enough, will cause it to fizzle out.
There have been attempts to do this before. But now that the optimal frequencies and techniques have been figured out, this will likely become one of the leading fire control methods in the coming decade.
Quantum computing, we all rely on classical computers for everyday tasks. Still, there’s a point at which, no matter how many powerful chips you connect, they become impractical to perform highly complicated roles computer scientists from around the world have since the 1980s been pursuing.
The subsequent significant development was the creation of a quantum computer, which is now closer than ever. A quantum computer is different from a classical one in the way that it stores and handles information in a classical computer.
You’ll be familiar with bits that can either be one or a zero, but in a quantum computer, they use qubits that can be in a one or a zero quantum state or a superposition of both. What this means is that a quantum computer.
It can solve any problem a classical one can and vice versa, and in some situations, we’ll be far more efficient. One of the more interesting things about quantum computers is that they will only sometimes be the better choice, and researchers are still exploring the situations when they will offer an advantage. Still, the biggest hurdle is building a large and stable enough.