Recently, the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies came out with their list of the Top Emerging Technologies of 2015. Some of the world’s leading technologists were involved in the panel that came out with the list. Let’s discuss the some of the most fascinating emerging new technologies for 2015 from this list.
Fuel Cell Vehicles
While it is true that oil prices have fallen by quite a bit this year, this hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm for fuel cell vehicles at all. Fuel cell vehicles are designed keeping in mind long-term sustainability goals, as peak oil is never quite far away. Although the technology is still in its nascent stages, already there has been a pronounced drop in operating and maintenance costs of these vehicles.
Next –Generation Robotics
The new age of robotics is upon us and robots are expected to be used widely to automate manufacturing assembly lines, performing tasks so far done by skilled technicians, and creating advanced assemblies, subassemblies and advanced products. Smartphones and tablets are used to control the robots, especially in applications that require greater human interaction. For example, in Japan, robots are used in hospitals to help out nurses.
Recyclable Thermoset Plastics
Recyclable thermoset plastics are the new big thing in the move towards eco-friendliness that has become such a priority for most countries around the world. These recyclable plastics should help reduce landfill waste considerably in the future, especially because plastics are the biggest contributors to the load at landfills.
Genetic Engineering Techniques
Genetically engineering is known to offer high crop yields, and recent research that uses RNA interference has proved to be highly effective against viruses and fungi. Genetic engineering also reduces the need for pesticides as genetically engineered crops have a very high resistance to pests and insects. However, there are many ethical questions regarding the use of genetically modified crops, so the technology hasn’t quite taken off as fast as expected.
3D Printing, which was first made popular by popular writer Chris Anderson’s book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, has today become all too real, from being just a concept just a few years back. Essentially, 3 Printing begins with loose material, liquid or powder, and then builds it into a 3-dimensional shape, using a digital template. 3D products, this designed, can be uniquely customized to suit the specific needs of each customer, which mass manufacturing processes can never do. This makes 3D Printing a technology to watch out for in 2015.
Emergent Artificial Intelligence
Much has been talked about artificial intelligence, but this 2015, it has been liberated from being just something from a science fiction book to being real – especially with IBM’s new, super smart Watson. Watson can potentially have thousands of real world applications as it can absorb and analyze all the information in the world within seconds. So far, it is used in oncology to help with diagnosis and offer highly personalized treatments for cancer patients.
Drones are no more just playthings for hobbyists. Companies such as Amazon are already using drones for same day deliveries. Autonomous drones are capable of remote sensing, which allows them to avoid electric power lines and other obstructions and deliver supplies safely, whether in crowded cities or in remote regions of the world.
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Raghav Hegde, Bangalore
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