It is exciting to look into the future of technology. In an age of continuous innovation and invention, when the discovery of today loses its sheen tomorrow, it is not easy to pinpoint technologies that will transform our future.
Engineering and technical developments are everyone’s concern, as they will not be confined to industry, university classrooms, and R&D labs. Instead, they will make a tremendous difference in our day-to-day lives. Here I will attempt to identify some of the technologies that will revolutionize our lives and our values in the coming years.
1. Quantum Computers. Unlike current PCs, quantum computers will have switches that can be in an on or off state simultaneously. The mechanism that will make this possible is known as superposition, and the switches are referred to as quantum bits. The system will make quantum computers operate very fast. A basic quantum computer is likely to be operational by 2020.
2. Programmable Matter. Scientists are in the midst of creating a substance that can take a specific shape to perform a specific task. The substance is known as claytronics, and it consists of catoms. Individual catoms are programmed to move in three dimensions and position themselves so that they assume different shapes. This technology is likely to have numerous applications ranging from medical use to 3D physical rendering. It may take around two decades to become a reality.
3. Terascale Computing. Techies are working on a project that would make our PCs able to contain tens to hundreds of parallel working cores. The device will have the capability to process huge amounts of information. To create this technology, Intel is exploring the possibility of using nanotechnology and allowing for billions of transistors.
4. Repliee Robots. Repliee is one of the most advanced life-like robots ever created. Repliee, an android, is covered with a substance which is very similar to human skin. Sensors placed inside the robot control its movements and enable it to respond to its environment. Astonishingly, the robot can flutter its eyelids and replicate breathing. Repliee operates best in a static condition.
5. Organic Computers. To further advance the computing realm, techies need to create a hybrid CPU that is silicon based but contains organic parts as well. The most promising progress in information processing concerns a neurochip that places organic neurons onto a network of silicon or other materials. Future computers will be able to bridge the silicon and organic spheres to utilize processors that incorporate both of these elements.
6. “Spray-On” Nanocomputers. The “spray-on” nanocomputer would consist of particles that can be sprayed onto a patient. It would monitor the patient’s medical condition and communicate wirelessly to other machines.
7. Carrier Ethernet. Carrier Ethernet is a business service/access technology. It can serve as a transport method for both business and residential service. Ethernet will dominate the metro space in the future and will slowly displace SONET/SDH over the next 10 to 20 years.
Development sustains life. However, techies cannot afford to forget that technological advancement will remain inadequate in the absence of contributions from all branches of knowledge and will not flourish if it does not benefit society.