Everyone gets smarter backed up with advancements in technology, and quite evidently, the empowerment of people is the secret to technological progress. Every fall, since 2001, MIT Technology Review releases a list of 10 most important technological breakthroughs. Moreover, the epicenter of all innovation is convenience, which undeniably decides the pace and advent of newer technologies. The fact that simplicity and accurateness of a system determines the interest of customers, is now an established phenomenon. MIT unveils this year’s the top 10 breathtaking scientific and technological advances that have the potential to change our lives in dramatic ways. MIT Technology Review’s editors also review why these technologies matter, what factors make them a ‘breakthrough’ innovation, and when they can be commercially available.
Here’s the final list of super-techs that will have the greatest long-term global impact on consumers:
3D metal Printing
3D printing has been the “next big thing” for over a decade now. For hobbyists and designers in the manufacturing industry, 3D printing is largely seen as a prototyping technology rather than a substitute technology actually produce things. Major tech-giants, including NASA, use metal printing to create individual components, but these laser-based systems are gigantic and have limited applications. A wide-range of analytical reports highlight the use of various 3D printing materials (polymers, metals, ceramic, and others) for various industry-specific end-users (aerospace & defense, automotive, healthcare, education). However, printing objects with anything other than plastics—metal, particularly—is very expensive and painfully slow. The technology is yet to advance beyond the industrial niche and markets fanatics.
2018 promises a technology that can create sturdier, lighter parts, and complex shapes that aren’t possible with the traditional metal fabrication methods. Following are some driving novelties which makes our vision realizable:
- A 3-D printing method for manufacturing stainless steel parts that are twice as sturdy as the traditionally made ones was developed by the researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
- A team of researchers from Washington State University came up with a one-step process to print structures made of two different materials using 3-D printing. This advancement would reduce manufacturing steps and utilize only one machine to make complex products with multiple parts in one operation.
- 3-D printers that can fabricate metal parts quickly enough at low cost to make the technology practical for widespread use in product design and manufacturing.
- A software that generates designs ready for 3-D printing. Users feed the specs of the object in the program, and the software produces a computer model suitable for printing.
Companies that are developing and selling these technologies are Markforged, Desktop Metal, and GE. GE aviation, the top aircraft engine suppliers, has a test version of the faster metal 3D printer to make large parts. The company plans to commercially sale the printer in 2018.
The intricate science of artificial embryos amazes us as we read that; “Without using eggs or sperm cells, researchers have made embryo-like structures from stem cells alone, providing a whole new route to creating life,” cited by MIT Technology Review. To treat genetic and fertility issues and assist with conception, science has developed many complex series of procedures and techniques. Who knew, that one day, the embryologists at the University of Cambridge in the UK would celebrate a technological breakthrough that redefines the natural way of creating life. The scientists have grown a realistic-looking mouse embryo using only stem cells−no eggs, no sperm−plucked from another embryo. This means that in the near future, mammals could be born without an egg at all.
University of Cambridge, University of Michigan, and Rockefeller University are major contributors to this technological breakthrough. This advancement has just recently been made and will allow researchers to observe the complexities of the initial stages of birth.
It’s an enthralling example of human ingenuity: A sensing city equipped with smart sensors that can help businesses and city planners be more efficient and more effective, which in-turn renders to dollars and sense. The resulting data can then be integrated with one or the other key city attributes, like air quality, traffic flow, or water pollution. A key success factor is the freedom of access to data–from an “open” data store–where it can be tapped into by city officials and citizens alike. The market has tremendous growth potential due to increasing adoption of predictive analysis, automotive IT, and green infrastructure.
Waterfront Toronto has launched a new project, called Quayside, which is about rebuilding an urban neighborhood from ground up around the latest digital technologies. One of the key attributes of the plan is all vehicles in the city will be autonomous and shared. Moreover, robots will roam around doing menial chores like picking up parcel or delivering the mail. Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs is working alongside Waterfront Toronto to realize this vision by 2019.
AI for Everybody
When a technology has its breakthrough, its vibe resonates far and beyond. In the case of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the penetration of the technology in the market is inevitable. From as tech-savvy as automotive and transportation to as nimble as media and advertising, AI is everywhere. Surprisingly, the BFSI segment dominated the AI market in terms of revenue past year and is projected to continue its dominance through 2017-2023.
AI has so far been mainly dominated by tech giants like Google, Amazon, Baidu, and Microsoft, as well as some well-funded startups considering the high cost overheads involved. For many industry players, AI systems are too expensive in creating efficiencies and producing new products and services.
A cloud-based machine learning platform could bring AI to a far broader audience. The tech pioneers are aiming to make it cheaper and more accessible. Up till now, Amazon dominates cloud AI with Amazon Web Services, while Google is striving to compete with TensorFlow and Cloud AutoML. Microsoft, which has its own AI-powered cloud platform, Azure, has teamed-up with Amazon to provide, an open-source deep-learning library, Gluon. The technology uses a collection of pre-built, optimized neural network components that provides a clear, concise API for defining machine learning models.