Top 8 Futuristic Technologies to Keep an Eye on
You may already be familiar with some of the most important technological advances to look forward to, including driverless cars and virtual reality. But there are plenty of other cutting-edge technologies that you’ve probably never heard of that will be just as game-changing once they hit the mainstream. Here are eight of the most promising ones you should keep an eye on in the coming years.
If you’ve ever seen Star Wars, then you know exactly what a hologram is. Holograms are images that appear in thin air, thanks to a technique called holography. Unlike 3D models, however, they can show up anywhere, with or without a device that’s projecting them. The most famous case of holographic projection was of course Princess Leia calling Obi-Wan Kenobi for help in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. But now we live in real world (don’t get me started on spoiler alerts) and have developed ways of actually producing light without it being confined by physical surfaces. We call these volumetric displays and currently have two types—rainbow volume and parallax barriers—that are used mainly for research purposes.
2) Virtual reality
Although it’s been around for a while, VR is still in its infancy. We have yet to see an affordable solution that doesn’t require a complicated rig or setup. With modern VR technology, though, you can step into 360-degree video and digital environments that are incredibly convincing and immersive. Applications span across gaming and entertainment, but also have practical applications for everyday use (i.e., real estate). If you want to learn more about how VR is evolving, check out our comprehensive guide on Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Which One Is Right For You?
3) Wireless communication
Wireless communication technology may be ubiquitous, but its capabilities are still growing. Near-field communication (NFC) will allow for fast payment processing, allowing you to hold your phone up to a reader at checkout and have money debited from your account—without pulling out your credit card. Wirelessly charge other devices: In 2017, we’ll begin seeing a lot more wireless charging stations—at airports, in malls and in our homes. So long as you’re within range of these charging zones while they’re powered on, you can recharge phones, watches and laptops without any cables required.
4) 3D printing
The future of medicine is here. As of last year, doctors were successfully able to transplant a patient’s own stem cells in the form of a 3D-printed ovary. The new organ was made possible through bioprinting, which will become more widely used in medical procedures over time. 3D printing allows tissues and organs, often too small for grafting and implantation, be enlarged to more easily fit in their host body. The current method is using photosensitive bioink that hardens as it’s exposed to light (specifically blue light). However, researchers from Ohio State University have been working on other methods—namely photo-thermal ink that solidifies when blasted with certain wavelengths of visible or infrared light.
5) Virtual assistant technology
It’s not hard to imagine a time when virtual assistants are just as ubiquitous as smartphones, or tablets. With smartwatches and Google Glass already making our voices more prominent, we can expect that conversation will continue across every platform we use. As computer systems get smarter, they’ll increasingly be able to understand our voice patterns and daily routines, allowing them to anticipate (and fulfill) our needs without any extra effort from us. It may seem like something out of Star Trek right now, but it’s just another example of how technology will do a lot of work for us in future years.
6) Space exploration
Space exploration is a topic that can get pretty far out there. According to many, it’s only a matter of time before humans are colonizing other planets, if not other star systems. That day is likely still a few years away, but it’s just one of several developments that could cause huge shifts in how we live and work. If you want to know more about what might be coming down (or up) the pipeline for space exploration, read on for eight technologies you should keep your eye on.
7) Automation technology in vehicles
Self-driving cars have been getting a lot of buzz, but they’re not quite here yet. However, new automotive technologies that let you drive more safely and with more peace of mind are here. For example, cameras can identify objects in front of and around your car so that you’ll know if there’s a child or animal about to dart out into traffic, and connected technologies can connect your car with your smartphone so that you’ll know when someone is trying to break into it while you’re away. These are just two examples of automotive technology that automates tasks behind-the-scenes so that you don’t have to spend mental energy thinking about them.
8) Smart home products and gadgets
Smart homes are here, and they’re going to change your life. These smart home products and gadgets will ease your daily chores, save you time and money, and even improve security in your home. With more sensors and applications becoming available every day, a lot of smart home options have emerged over time. However, not all of them live up to their promises or can make your life easier. So, if you want to invest in a smart product for yourself or someone else in 2018—or any year after that—start with these top eight smart home technologies