Here is a list of the top seven ambitious technologies that could really change the world, as published in techgig, a major technology website:
In developing countries, the phone is more important than computers. Phone location data can be useful in dealing with natural disasters or improving public transport. In Africa, cell phone tower data is used to map people’s movements – and that mapping can help track diseases such as malaria and identify patterns of transmission.
2. Digital imaging
Imaging technology is improving by leaps and bounds. In the medical field, imaging technology enables doctors to look inside patients with unprecedented levels of detail.
3. Mind-controlled prosthetics
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the US agency responsible for the development of new technology calls this prosthetic Targeted Muscle Re-innervation (TMR). TMR makes brain-controlled prosthetic limbs almost as responsive as real ones, providing sensory feedback that enables prosthetic users to riffle through a bag or grab an object without having to look at it.
4. 3-D printing
While 3-D printing is being notoriously projected for its use for making guns and drugs, its uses are far less sensational and far more useful. It will help revolutionise manufacturing by slashing research and development costs. In the long term, we could simply print products at home instead of ordering them online and waiting for couriers to deliver.
5. Solar technology
Nanotechnology will help revolutionize solar technology by countering the biggest issues of solar technology – solar panels are hefty, pricey, and inefficient. Nanotechnology can effectively make panels much less reflective, much cheaper to produce, and much more efficient. Other ideas include tiny antennae on devices that capture solar energy and instantly convert it to power and nanotech paint that turns entire buildings into solar energy collectors.
Synthetic biology is an emerging experimental discipline that involves genetically engineering organisms to do useful tasks. However, hacking into nature’s systems is in a bit of a controversy. The ‘Glowing Plant’ project’s plans to engineer glow-in-the-dark plants have some experts worrying. Distributing those plants around might foster a negative public perception of synthetic biology. Friends of the Earth International’ has called for a global moratorium on the release of synthetic organisms until the proper regulations and safety mechanisms have been put in place.
7. Genetic scanning
Full genome analysis could have profound implications if it becomes more affordable. (The prices of DNA sequencing has dropped from $2.7 billion per person to $5,000 in 10 years.) We could discover if we are prone to particular kinds of cancer, or if we have higher than average risks of various unpleasant conditions. Angelina Jolie’s recent preventive surgery was an example of DNA sequencing in action: Jolie has the BRCA1 gene, which means she has a high risk of developing the breast cancer that killed her mother.