15 Emerging Technologies that Will Change the World


15 Emerging Technologies that Will Change the World

technology is progressing faster than ever with groundbreaking new ideas being explored every day from floating farms to edge computing here are the 15 most incredible emerging technologies number 15 spin launch there's been a lot of focus in recent years on private space companies and their quest to develop vehicles that can take paying customers into orbit but the reality is that especially with the pollution that traditional space flight creates these advances won't make a difference to people other than billionaires for quite some time there is however a lesser-known company that's making huge strides at making space technologies far cheaper greener and easier to access it's just that their focus is on satellites and not on human travel known as spin launch the concept is actually rather simple although it is of course extremely complicated to put into practice founded in 2014 and funded by large companies such as airbus and google they are building a kinetic energy launch system to insert satellites into orbit instead of relying on chemical rockets to do this they have designed a vacuum sealed centrifuge that will spin objects around before releasing them into space at speeds of up to 5000 miles per hour and once they reach a sub-orbital height a traditional rocket booster can take over this concept significantly reduces the amount of fuel that needs to be burned and to make it even better all of the energy used to power the centrifuge is derived from green sources such as solar and wind the company has even proved that most traditional satellite components are able to withstand the 10 000 g's that they'll be subjected to during a launch and even projects that it will cost less than half a million dollars to send one into space as opposed to the tens of millions it currently does with the test version already built and conducting launches they hope the full-size device will be ready within a few years this could permanently revolutionize satellite launches number 14 graphene industry is continually looking for new materials to offer stronger and more reliable performance but the next game-changing development is expected to be graphene it's a substance that's long been theorized to exist but has proven to be so complicated to manufacture that it's taken until now to become feasible as the name would suggest it is derived from graphite which is the material you'll be familiar with that's used in pencils made entirely from carbon atoms graphite is a three-dimensional structure but the exciting thing about graphene is that it's two-dimensional what this means is that the carbon is arranged perfectly in a hexagonal honeycomb formation that's only 0.3 nanometers thick and there's just 0.1 nanometers between each of the atoms in practice this new arrangement offers huge benefits that are only just starting to be fully understood graphene can conduct electricity far more efficiently than copper for example it's also 200 times stronger than steel but six times lighter it's almost completely transparent because it only absorbs two percent of light and it's impermeable to gases even the lightest ones and it can also have chemical components added to the surface to alter its properties researchers see graphene more as a platform that developers will be able to arrange in a way that plays to their needs it could for example revolutionize touch screen technologies be incorporated to make lighter composite materials and has a number of uses and electronics too the possibilities are truly endless and it's expected to be possible to produce it in commercial quantities within the next decade number 13 gps 3 first beginning in 1973 and completed in 1993 the american gps satellite network was the first global navigation system and revolutionize the way that everyone determines where they are on earth at first the benefits were envisaged for militaries but the technology has now had an impact on all of our lives from the way certain electronics works to satnav systems and location-based tracking the problem with gps though is that the original 24 satellites along with further ones that were subsequently added don't provide a perfect resolution and are only accurate to within a few feet they also don't provide full coverage around the world as anyone who has tried to use location tracking in mountainous areas or dense urban environments will know and the signals are actually relatively simple to block which is a constant threat for military use there is therefore huge demand for improving the system and the technology has already been developed to do this known as gps3 and built by lockheed martin the satellites are already being launched and are expected to have fully upgraded the network within a few years when the project is complete the signals will be far more precise than now and eight times stronger so they can't be blocked resulting in improved safety signal integrity and far greater accuracy number 12 floating farms as the world's population continues to grow one of the biggest problems we face right now is how to produce enough food to satisfy everyone's needs amazingly an estimated 30 percent of the global land surface is dedicated to agriculture and a third of that is used for crops and the remaining two-thirds is used for grazing livestock and this not only restricts the potential areas for inhabitation but also encourages large-scale deforestation and habitat change to create more farmland some companies are looking for alternatives to this and while you may have heard of vertical farms that look to improve the yield for the same size plot of land others are looking at far more radical solutions one is the idea of floating farms which can involve building huge complexes that sit on the surface of the ocean can be moved to where they're needed and crucially are temporary they make use of areas that wouldn't be used for anything else and turn it into a profitable commodity incredibly one of these has already been in operation for several years in the port of rotterdam in the netherlands where a company called belladon has built a floating platform designed to farm 40 muse rhine isle cows that are all milked by robots by producing the product as close to the end consumers as possible they're reducing transport costs too they also plan to be able to install floating farms in regions that have suffered from disasters to get food production up and running far quicker than would otherwise be possible number 11 edge computing the way we use computers has changed significantly in the past few decades and so has the way technology is designed to give us the best service at first everything was done on a singular device in our homes and now we mainly use cloud computing whereby most activities from our emails to documents and virtually everything else is held online and our devices are essentially windows that grant us access to this the problem with cloud computing however is that most companies rely on the infrastructure of just a few cloud providers amazon microsoft google and ibm with amazon alone accounting for 47 of the market quite simply everything that can be moved onto the cloud has pretty much been done so already and there's very little room to grow in that space so others have been looking at the so-called edge of the cloud what this really means is that they're exploring ways to bring the processing and storage of the cloud geographically closer to where the user is in order to improve the experience rather than just relying on a few data centers it will see more work done locally and the idea is that this will significantly reduce latency will also improve privacy and security and will help reduce the bandwidth being used so the infrastructure doesn't buckle under the pressure of increased usage in many ways it may seem as if it's going back on the idea of cloud computing but it's really harnessing it to fuller effect if fingerprint or facial authorization is dealt with directly by your smartphone rather than waiting for a server to reply you'll be able to access your online content much easier similarly self-driving cars are currently the best example of edge computing rather than waiting for a server's response it can function independently but at the same time needs to be centrally controlled so it's automatically updated and so the algorithms can be improved number 10 self-healing concrete concrete is one of the most important construction materials that's used around the world and is second to water in terms of the most consumed material amazingly twice as much concrete is used in construction than everything else combined this works out to be the equivalent of more than three tons per person in the world each year the problem is that even though it's a tough and durable material it's susceptible to wear and tear and can develop cracks and holes that affect its stability in the long term this means that it either needs to be maintained or replaced to avoid disaster which can be a costly endeavor but researchers have come up with a new solution self-healing concrete by adding bacterial spores to the concrete mix along with a food source like yeast extract an amazing thing happens when the concrete cracks the bacteria are exposed to oxygen and water and begin to consume the food and multiply and then produce calcium carbonate or limestone as a byproduct this in turn seals the crack again and if done right means that you won't even be able to see where the crack had formed in the first place for small openings the process can be completed with around 14 days and it'll prevent them from widening and becoming a greater problem soon it's expected that virtually all concrete will incorporate technology like this and the days of potentially dangerous faults will be over number nine hydrogen fuel cells the automotive industry is going through its biggest change in living memory with virtually every manufacturer trying to develop their own technologies to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and while electric and battery concepts seem to be the way forwards they certainly aren't a magic bullet there's concerns surrounding the provision of green electricity to all that need it and the fact that our electrical grids simply aren't designed to handle the loads that will be required even if this was sorted there's also the fact that batteries are relatively very heavy for the amount of charge that they can hold and while they may be suitable for cars they're not yet at a place where they're viable for larger trucks ships or planes that's why another solution is needed and the most likely candidate is hydrogen fuel hydrogen itself can be produced by a range of methods such as natural gas nuclear power biomass and even other renewable energies and when it's used the only by-product is water in the uk a concept train has already been fitted with hydrogen cells and it's undergoing tests while aircraft manufacturers such as airbus see this as a far more viable target in the near future than full electrification and car companies too are looking at how it can be used the technology is approaching the stage where it's possible across a range of applications and it's only a matter of time until it's commonplace number eight satellite constellations as the cost of launching satellites into orbit reduces and with the improvement in component design and the potential uses of space technology a number of big tech companies are now exploring the feasibility of creating their own satellite constellations the idea of a network of satellites to perform a role isn't exactly new after all there are already six different navigational satellite constellations like gps and a number of one-way and two-way communication satellite constellations but these have traditionally only used a few dozen nodes to operate recently spacex has been creating a constellation of its own called starlink which will when it's completed provide internet access across most of the planet amazingly this involves positioning as many as twelve thousand in orbit to give optimal coverage and while the company may be paving the way it's not the only organization looking at doing this boeing oneweb and amazon are also looking to develop their own constellations to provide internet access and this is just scratching the surface of what they can be used for if you look up when it's dark you might just be able to see some of these satellites already and if progress continues at the current rate the night sky may soon be full of them number seven gpt-3 tech companies around the world are in a race to develop the first full artificial intelligence but there are steps along the way that arguably are going to be far more impactful on the technology around us and how we live our lives one of these concepts is the idea of deep learning whereby computer algorithms can analyze past behavior and automatically find solutions to improve performance one of the most interesting forms of this is called gpt-3 developed by openai it's the third generation of a language prediction model and the idea is that based on learning by itself it's able to write text in the same way as a human does it's one of the most difficult types of human imitation and this latest attempt is almost unbelievable based on initial studies it's virtually impossible to differentiate between something written by gpt3 or by an actual person and companies like microsoft have already begun to incorporate it into their products described recently as being one of the most interesting and important ai systems ever produced gpt-3 will further blur the lines of reality and you may well find yourself reading news articles or even novels that haven't had any human involvement whatsoever number six connected homes throughout history inventions have helped us save time on basic tasks so we can dedicate ourselves to more complicated ones and this progression is continuing into the 21st century while the concept of connected homes isn't in itself a new one the increasing presence of the internet of things and technological advancements means that it's going to become far more commonplace reliable and functional in the coming years in 2013 the market in the u.s alone was worth almost 6 billion dollars and right now it's estimated that 37 percent of households in the u.s have a smart device in their home right now these are usually in the form of doorbells heating light bulbs speakers and voice activated assistance but there are so many different ways technology can be incorporated that things will look very different in a few years from connected fridges to power sockets bathroom appliances and even furniture virtually everything that's electrically operated could potentially have a chip installed that'll make it operate from a smart device or simply by your voice furthermore with so much of it being automated our homes will take care of themselves and allow us to focus more on our interests and our families number five lithium metal battery there's a focus right now on moving away from energy that produces emissions and one of the best ways to do this is converting everything we use to run on electricity as long as the electricity comes from green sources major strides have been made in the past couple decades but one of the biggest limiting factors is the capability of batteries currently the most reliable and cost-effective design that's used is a lithium-ion battery but these have limits with how much they can charge and how quickly this can be done as well as some concerns about their safety if they're damaged a company called quantum scape is however developing an alternative which instead of having liquid parts like a lithium-ion battery is solid known as a lithium-metal battery the results from the company's early tests have suggested these could eventually increase the range of an electric vehicle by as much as 80 percent and can be recharged in just a fraction of the time too right now the prototypes are too large to be fitted to cars but they're expected to become much smaller in the coming years so much so that quantumscape has already signed an agreement with vw to start selling electric vehicles with the new batteries from 2025 number four 3d printing 3d printing has had a varied history since it first started being used in the 1980s and even until recently it's only been useful for very specific tasks essentially feeding liquefied material into a chamber and by applying layer upon layer being able to create a 3d object it's a technique that's mostly been known for creating small plastic objects or replacement components for certain devices as our understanding of materials has improved though 3d printers are increasingly being able to make objects out of different substances and are becoming seen as potentially the future of manufacturing from clothing and food to medical devices and the ability to rapidly prototype new designs the possibilities are endless but perhaps the most exciting area is how it'll change large projects there's already a number of buildings around the world that have been built from 3d printed parts and this is going to become even more common instead of needing to ship all of the different types of bricks and other parts needed to build a house all that's needed is a supply of the basic material and a printer and everything can be manufactured on site it'll reduce transport needs wastage and increase efficiency and could mean new homes can be built at a fraction of the time they currently take number three blockchain there are two main reactions when people hear of blockchain either they start telling you about the best new cryptocurrencies to invest in or they switch off from boredom the fact is though that while blockchain technology does underpin the operation of these new decentralized currencies this is just the beginning of how useful and integrated to our lives that it will become put simply a blockchain is a list of information that's linked together by a cryptographic technique and once a block has been added it can't be changed and acts as a permanent record to begin with this was used to prove who owns a particular coin of currency or more recently pieces of digital art but there are a number of companies exploring how much wider the uses are there are already examples of how blockchain is being used to enable energy trading and various other transactions but perhaps the most important use is that it can track the history of individual products the food industry can benefit hugely from this by being able to prove exactly where and when ingredients were harvested or cooked and brands will also be able to use blockchain to prove whether an item is an original or a forgery number two fighting fire with sound with our changing climate wildfires are becoming more common across the planet and they're becoming even more difficult to control as an example in california alone five times the area is burning each year now compared to what happened in the 1970s this is only expected to increase traditionally the way to extinguish or at least limit the spread of fire would be to use huge quantities of water or foam but with water shortages happening too and the reluctance to drop chemicals onto the land an alternative can't come soon enough luckily a solution was first revealed in 2015 and has continued in development to the point where it'll soon be deployed on a large scale first designed to put out small fires in kitchens the acoustic extinguisher uses sound waves to push oxygen away from the source of a fire and spread it over a wider area this cuts off the fuel of the fire and if maintained for long enough will simply cause it to fizzle out there have been attempts to do this before but now that the optimal frequencies and techniques have been figured out it's very likely that this will become one of the main methods of fire control in the coming decades number one quantum computing we all rely on classical computers for everyday tasks but there's a point at which no matter how many powerful chips you connect together they become impractical to perform highly complicated roles computer scientists from around the world have since the 1980s been pursuing the next big development the creation of a quantum computer and they're now closer than ever essentially a quantum computer is different to a classical one in the way that it stores and handles information in a classical computer you'll be familiar with bits that can either be a one or a zero but in a quantum computer they use qubits which can be in a one or a zero quantum state or a superposition of both what this means is that a quantum computer is able to solve any problem a classical one can and vice versa and in some situations we'll be far more efficient in doing so one of the more interesting things about quantum computers is that they won't actually always be the better choice and researchers are still exploring the situations when they will offer an advantage but the biggest hurdle right now is building one that's large and stable enough to see how well it can perform watch our future playlist for more top 15 videos about the future sit back relax and binge watch all of our best future related videos