Over the past century, technological innovations have radically changed how people live, though most of them have become so commonplace that people living today hardly notice them-things like air conditioning, high speed travel, near instant distant communications, indoor plumbing, the list could go on for some time. More interesting perhaps, is technology being developed today that could have a similar impact in the near future.
One major new technology that is likely to change the lives of almost everyone is the micro-sensor-an embedded chip that will add “intelligence” to walls, toasters, schedules, etc. making our homes, cars and portable devices part of living experience. Sooner than we might expect, we’ll all have virtual personal assistants that live both in the cloud and in our personal space. We’ll be reminded to do things, offered tips or advice on-demand or have tasks carried out for us-all courtesy of a virtual network that exists courtesy of wireless sensor tracking our every move.
Another coming major innovation that will likely change our lives forever involves either batteries, alternative power sources or both. Imagine your phone battery lasting forever because it has a super battery, or better, derives its power from another source, such as from heat in the air, the movement of your body or via tiny hydrogen fuel cells. Many scientists are now predicting major breakthroughs in all these areas in just the next few years, which means, products they support could arrive as early as 2020.
Another less dramatic technological change might be the disappearance of technology we’re all so used to-the demise of traditional television, for example, as the Internet offers more options. The landline phone will soon be gone too as will things printed on paper. Both have been on endangered lists for quite some time, but the next few years will likely be the era of the disappearance of such dinosaurs.
Finally, there is, or will be 3D printing. This is a technology that is still it its infancy-it’s more for gadget freaks than ordinary consumers, but that is almost certain to change over just the new few years as more research is done, more money invested and more demand created. Imaging being able to print a phone adaptor if yours breaks, or printing cooking utensils, or a new wheel for one that breaks on your bed-that and more could be possible, as could printers that produce cooked meals, or clothes. At this point, it seems it might possibly be limited only by our imaginations.