Top 10 Emerging Technologies for 2014

There are many emerging technologies that are expected to shape the future, and at Mode we like to keep our eye on what’s happening!

From super-light cars, to innovations in medicine, the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has identified the top 10 emerging technologies of 2014 that could reshape the society of the future.

The council is comprised of leading thinkers from academia and industry, and their selections are based on opinions from experts and industry leaders. Let’s take a look at the innovations that they believe have the potential for real and positive impact on the world.

1. Brain-computer interfaces
It’s already possible to type by monitoring the brain’s electrical activity, but as technology advances, it could be possible for people with disabilities to operate wheelchairs using only their thoughts.

2. Mining metals from desalination brine
As the global population continues to grow and developing countries emerge from poverty, fresh water is at risk of becoming the earth’s most limited natural resource. Large scale desalination is becoming economically feasible for the first time because of new chemical processes that enable the mining of metals from waste water, or brine.

3. Nanostructured Carbon composites
Emissions from the world’s rapidly growing fleet of vehicles are a massive environmental concern. New techniques to nanostructure carbon fibres for novel composites are showing the potential in vehicle manufacturing to reduce the weight of cars by 10% or more. Lighter cars need less fuel to operate, increasing the efficiency of moving people and goods and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

4. Grid-scale electricity storage
A fundamental breakthrough is close which would allow surplus energy from fluctuating renewable sources such as the sun and wind to be stored within the electricity grid.

5. Body-adapted wearable electronics
Whether worn on the body, embedded in clothes or even under the skin, these devices can track information such as heart rate and stress levels, giving people real-time feedback about their health.

6. Nanowire lithium-ion batteries.
New batteries based on tiny silicon nonwires can have longer life, quicker charge times and up to 3 times the power of existing batteries.

7. Screenless Display
A 3D image projected into space- a “screenless display” can convey information that a 2D image presented on a screen cannot.

8. Human Microbiome therapeutics
Drawing on knowledge gained from the human microbiome project in 2012 and other research, human microbiome technology is increasingly seen as an important source of treatment for serious diseases as well as a way of improving the healing process.

9. RNA-based therapeutics
RNA, like DNA, plays a part in protein synthesis and, to a lesser extent, the transmission of genetic information. Scientific advances are combining to enable a new generation of targeted, RNA-based drugs that could bring new treatments for cancer and infectious diseases.

10. Quantified self (predictive analytics)
Using data and specialised machine-learning algorithms, we can now build detailed and predictive models about people and their behaviours, which can help in areas of urban planning and medical diagnosis.

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This post was written by Anwen Haynes1

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