Technology plays a major role in our lives and society in general. From income inequality to climate change, technology aids us in finding solutions to different challenges that humanity faces today.
The top 3 emerging technologies that you will discover below are human innovations that benefit the world as we know it. These technologies will disrupt the existing and coming order, attract researchers into developing these further and are expected to achieve significant scale in the following years to come.
Let us begin with:
1 – Social Robots
Most robots use AI (Artificial Intelligence) and this enables them to act accordingly when they receive the information via their inbuilt sensors.
The advanced use of AI has enabled designers to translate neuroscientific and psychological insights into algorithms that allow robots to recognize vocals, emotions, facial expressions, interpret speech and gestures and adapt to individual’s needs by learning or evolving through feedback, rewards and criticisms.
In some continents, these robots are being used to assist or take care of the elderly, educate children or take on the responsibility of a task that it’s assigned to do.
2 – DNA Data Storage Systems
As we know, DNA is life’s information storage material and is being researched till this day. DNA consists of long strands of the nucleotides A, T, C and G and data is stored in the sequence of these letters, which in effect turns DNA into an advanced form of information technology. The fascinating part of DNA is that it’s already read, written and copied and this happens with every second of the day, hence life!
DNA Data Storage Systems are the alternative to hard drives. DNA can accurately save massive amounts of data and in a highly advanced way, exceeding the density of any supercomputer built today.
In technical terms, according to calculations in the Nature Materials by George Church of Harvard University,
The simple bacterium Escherichia coli has a storage density of about 1019 bits per cubic centimetre… at that density, all the world’s current storage needs for a year could be well met by a cube of DNA measuring about one meter on a side.
With this in mind, a number of companies like Microsoft are working to advance DNA storage technology and develop an automated system for writing, storing and reading data encoded in DNA.
3 – Storage of Renewable Energy
In the last decade especially, electricity generated by renewables in the US alone has increased two-fold. Primary sources are wind and solar installations because these will be the fastest-growing sector of the electricity portfolio in the next few years.
A way to store this energy is needed, for when the sun does not shine and the winds are calm. The need has increased interest in energy storage technology, particularly in lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries will probably become the dominant technology for the next decade. If improvements continue this will result in batteries storing up to 8 hours of energy, which is long enough to enable solar-generated power to meet peak evening demand.
This innovation is still under development but progress is being made by different research centres around the world, including the US, China and South Korea.
4 – Super Internet Speeds
We’ve come a long way since the 28.8K Modem back in the ’90s. What’s really pushing technology even further is the faster internet connection speeds. This has become a major demand for businesses and private users around the world today – quick response time.
Super internet speeds mean the transformation of many aspects of our lives, whether it’s purchasing food, clothing or electrical devices from an online shop or your weekly transaction at a bank. Upon implementation of these speeds, it will increase the efficiency of workers and will provide reliable communication tools for organisations that rely on workers that work remotely.
Furthermore, NASA has recently upgraded the ISS’s internet connection to 600mbps, effectively doubling download and upload speeds. We are to expect such speeds sometime in the near future, making things like bank transaction or online purchases and sales fast and cost-effective.
5 – Heart Monitors
Technological advances and of course regulatory approvals have made it easy for people to monitor their heart with a device that’s wearable on the wrist.
For instance, Apple ECG (Electrocardiogram) smart watches are now made available and offer the convenience of a wearable device and is almost as precise as the actual medical ECG. The Apple Watch can detect atrial fibrillation which causes blood clots and strokes and has been cleared for release from the FDA since 2017.
These wearable devices only have 1 sensor to detect certain heart issues, whereas an actual ECG usually has 12 sensors. No wearable currently can detect a heart attack as it’s happening but innovation will allow this to happen sooner than later. The American Heart Association received preliminary results from AliveCor on an application and a system with 2 sensors that can detect 1 form of a heart attack.