The world is changing rapidly and it can be difficult to keep up with all the different technologies being developed at the same time. From agriculture to medicine to energy, advances are being made every day and some of them will change the world as we know it.

Learn a little about these 10 new technologies that could directly impact your life over the next few years.

In Vitro Meat

in vitro meat

Regardless of your stance on vegetarianism or meat eating, there is no denying the fact that our current meat purchasing system is unsustainable. A large amount of resources is spent on feeding, slaughtering and transporting animals — and this leads to the waste of huge amounts of water and energy. The animals we breed also produce large amounts of methane, which is a significant contributor to climate change.

In addition to the environmental implications, there is also the ethics of handling farm animals. Many animals are kept in cramped, enclosed spaces for life and are never allowed to roam. Whatever you say about the ethics of killing animals for food, the conditions in which many animals grow up must be terrible for everyone.

However, it is unrealistic to imagine a future in which people do not eat meat. Humans are diverse eaters and we certainly could survive without meat, but in most parts of the world there is a culture of meat that cannot be erased. To answer this, there is meat in a test tube.

In vitro meat is meat that is grown in a laboratory. Now, before you say «Phoo» and ignore the rest of this section, try to think scientifically. Meat is made up of atoms, and if you can recreate those atoms in a precise way — but in a different way — it’s still meat. If you were given two cuts of beef, one in vitro and one from a cow, and you couldn’t tell them apart by taste, texture, or whatever, would that still be rude?

The answer is that lab meat doesn’t have to be a coarse curd. We can create meat that is identical to the current meat. It’s not gross — it’s a practical replacement. Professor of molecular biology at Stanford University Pat Brown said this in an interview with The Guardian:

I’m not interested in making new food just for vegans. I cook for people who are comfortable eating meat and want to continue eating meat. I want to reduce the human footprint on this planet by 50 percent.

Also, meat in a test tube is never alive, so it never dies. From an ethical standpoint, this makes more sense. Ecologically, growth requires fewer resources. However, from an economic point of view, the price of in vitro meat is still too high for mass production. And with the big farm lobby in the US and other countries, there can also be a legal barrier.

These high production costs may be the biggest hurdle for consumers of in vitro meat products. We hope that advances in this area will continue to bring down the price. Companies like New Harvest and Modern Meadow are working to make in vitro meat a reality. Or, who knows, maybe we’ll 3D print our meat. ?

This technology may be years away from mass production, but when it arrives, it could change everything.

Powered exoskeletons

Wheelchairs, while the best we have at the moment, are extremely limited. They find it difficult to get in and out of themselves, put disabled people physically below their peers, and they cannot climb stairs.

All this could change if powered exoskeletons become a reality. As with many new technologies, production cost is currently a big issue, but the price of exoskeletons should come down in the future. Right now ReWalk is the best alternative to a wheelchair, but there are many others like Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) and Tek RMD.

In particular, ReWalk allows paraplegics to stand and walk, providing more exercise, a healthier lifestyle and the ability to see their peers. Larry Jasinki, CEO of ReWalk Robotics, had this to say about his company’s technologies:

This revolutionary product will have an immediate, life-changing impact on people with spinal cord injuries. For the first time, people with paraplegia will be able to take this exoskeleton technology home, use it every day, and maximize the physiological and psychological benefits we have seen in clinical trials.

In addition, the larger and more durable type of power exoskeletons have much more applications. Emergency responders can use exoskeletons to increase their strength, allowing them to lift large amounts of debris and rescue survivors from collapsed buildings or rock slides, or allow them to lift larger patients on their own.

The US military is also funding a host of exoskeleton ventures designed to help soldiers go further and carry more.

However, power sources continue to be a problem in exoskeletons. How do you carry something compact enough to fit in an exoskeleton that’s also powerful enough to drive it all? Advances are being made by many groups, including NASA, but the technology is still a few years away. We have included exoskeletons in our list of emerging technologies that could change the world. a few years ago, and today they are even more relevant.

brain-controlled computers

Yes, that’s right, computers and devices that you control with your brain. A mind-controlled computer could allow those without arms or legs (or the ability to use their arms or legs) to properly control a prosthesis, exoskeleton, or other device. This is just one of the many ways humans try to improve as a species.

For a prime example of how this can benefit people, think of Stephen Hawking and others who suffer from ALS and gradually lose the ability to move their bodies. Brain-controlled computers, combined with other technologies, could change all of that. Even a single brain-controlled computer without connected prosthetics could allow users to surf the Internet, play games, or watch movies—something that many of us take for granted.

Back in 2004, scientists successfully connected brain-controlled computers so that users could play pong with their minds. Much work needs to be done in this area before practical results can be seen in the real world, but it could change the lives of millions of people with disabilities. There are some scary aspects though, such as being able to hack your brain. brain brain

rapid transit

Remember Hyperloop? This is Elon Musk’s lofty goal to create super fast vehicles. Theoretically, it can take passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 35 minutes — a trip that typically takes six hours. This theoretical system has a top speed of 760 mph, and designs have been developed for both passenger and passenger vehicles, with cost estimates for the Los Angeles to SF route of $6 and $7.5 billion, respectively.

So it’s clearly an expensive system. But Hyperloop and other ideas like it are part of the high-speed transport trend. Since the world has become global, people need to move from one place to another faster than ever, and flights from one end of the world to another can take up to 14 hours, and even more if you need connecting flights.

Another popular system that many hope will be introduced in the near future is the Frictionless Air Transport System, which essentially puts people in a tube and shoots them off at their intended destination. It can reach speeds of up to 4,000 miles per hour and get you from New York to Los Angeles in 45 minutes (typically a six-hour flight), while using significantly less fuel and resources than air travel.

With the right funding and support, we could see ET3’s ETT roll out in the next few years, but it all depends on how many people are willing to invest in our future transport infrastructure. Even if this is implemented, it will likely be some time before costs reach low levels of consumption.

Whether it’s ETT, Hyperloop, or some new technology, you can bet humanity has something better than regular air travel.

genome editing

dna genome

So many diseases come from faulty genes — but what if we could just replace those faulty genes? This is the idea of ​​genome editing that has gained momentum in recent years. With this technological advancement, there is a great opportunity to eradicate tons of genetic diseases.

Many biotech companies are successfully raising funds to research this possible treatment, including Bluebird Bio, which recently had a $116 million IPO, and Juno Therapeutics, which has raised $120 million in venture capital.

The ability to edit or replace certain genes depends on modified viruses, such as adeno-associated virus (AAV), which can enter the human body and replace faulty genes with good ones. Another method is to remove some of the cells, treat them with the modified virus, and then re-insert the cells back into the patient’s body. All of these methods can be quite expensive, but as more companies invest in them, the price should come down.

Genome editing — or gene therapy as it’s also called — is slightly different from genetic modification, although more in purpose than application. Both change genes in an organism’s genome, but genome editing seeks to correct defective genes while genetic modification seeks to change well-functioning genes to improve the organism. This is great for increasing nutrition or making food taste better, but when it comes to people, the «improvement» ethic scares them.

As long as we’re in the business of treating disease rather than «improving» ourselves genetically, this new technology is amazingly exciting.

solar energy

solar panels

Since we’re running out of gas, alternative energy sources are a place many companies are starting to invest in. This is an area of ​​growth and this is where our future lies. Solar energy is perhaps the most prolific of alternative energy sources.

Solar panels have been around for a while, but they are not very efficient. The most efficient solar panels of 2014 achieve 44.7% efficiency, but most mainstream solar panels are even lower than that. There is huge room for improvement and this is really starting to boom. Many experts, such as Professor David Mills, who is the co-founder of Ausra Inc., believe that solar energy can compete with fossil fuels in the near future. In an interview with Scientific American, Professor Mills said:

With the right tax policies, such as a carbon pricing mechanism, there is no reason why solar thermal cannot be competitive with fossil fuels in the near future.

Many technologies have the potential to change the game, including nanoparticles, transparent solar panels, and sprayable solar cells. and advanced computer predictions. As with many of these technologies, prices are dropping rapidly and soon the average homeowner will be able to install solar panels in their home and become completely energy independent.



We are running out of fresh water. I know it sounds strange in a world that is mostly water, but unfortunately all of our oceans are salt water. Desalination has been around for a while, but it was expensive and not viable as a reliable source of water. But — you guessed it — that’s changing!

When salt water turns into fresh water, the brine remains. This brine is full of salt, but also contains many different kinds of metals, and although it is usually considered waste, all new «waste» may use new methods to extract metals from the brine. If it becomes economically feasible to extract the metals from the desalination brine rather than mine them elsewhere, the benefits of doing so may offset the costs of desalination.

Imagine we get fresh water and more metals for our batteries and electronic devices — it’s a win-win.

Real Tricoder

If you’ve ever seen Star Trek, you know about the tricorder. It is a medical device that can check all the patient’s vital organs and diagnose various diseases. Qualcomm is currently running a $10 million top prize competition to develop a real tricorder. To win, the device must monitor a patient’s blood pressure, oxygen saturation, heart rate, temperature and respiration, and diagnose 12 different diseases on the spot, including whooping cough, HIV and shingles.

This is quite an ambitious goal, but it could advance the medical field significantly, especially if it becomes cheap enough to be distributed in developing countries where funds and doctors are short. It may have been fantasy, but it may soon become reality.

Aezon, the youngest team in the competition, is thrilled to be developing something so revolutionary. Their team leader Tatiana Rypinski, a student at Johns Hopkins University, said the following about her team in an interview:

As we are new to the field, we are not bound by the status quo in healthcare and as a result we are ready to come up with very creative solutions. … Our technologies can really change the way consumers think about their health. So if they feel bad, they can immediately know if they need to worry about it.

With so many determined teams looking for a solution, this innovative new device should be a reality soon.

Agricultural Drones

agricultural drone

Farming is hard work. It requires a lot of effort with relatively low and unreliable returns, but drones are changing that.

Now, you don’t think about military style cars. They are more like flying cameras. They’re getting relatively cheap, thanks to falling prices for processors, cameras, and GPS devices—places like DIY Drones even have open source drone software.

These drones can self-steer from takeoff to landing and take extensive pictures of the farm for later analysis. Infrared images can show unhealthy areas of crops that are difficult to see from the ground, and can also show farmers problems with irrigation or pests. To increase yields and use fewer resources, drones are an integral part of the next generation of agriculture.

And with so many people on this planet, agriculture should be as efficient as possible.

Electricity storage on a large scale


It is difficult to store large amounts of energy. This has been one of the main problems for alternative energy sources that generate energy at different times. For example, solar panels generate a lot of power during the day but not at night, and wind turbines generate power at an extremely random rate. Sometimes there is too much energy from these sources, and sometimes too little. But for these sources to replace coal and oil, they need efficient storage.

There are many ideas to be found here, including conventional batteries and solid-state batteries, but the most exciting new technology is even the newer graphene supercapacitors. These supercapacitors can store large amounts of energy and dissipate it quickly, well ahead of our conventional electric batteries, and graphene makes this an environmentally friendly and relatively economical material. Development is ongoing, but research is promising.

Anything we missed?

There are many incredible technologies out there. Is there something we missed? What would you put on this list?

Let us know about it in the comments!

Image credit: Earth via Shutterstock, Solar panel on a red roof reflecting the sun and cloudless DNA background, Lab-grown meat, Part of a desalination plant in Lanzarote, Professional coal drone with GPS, and Capacitor bank from Shutterstock.

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