The World’s 10 Top Ranking Technologies of 2018
Technology is an agent of change. It comes to seal the loopholes for the problems facing humankind. But, this breakthrough comes with some risks. With the advancement in technology, humans are getting more and more connected. In fact, we are getting more used to the technology that we find it difficult to function without them. There is a high likelihood that you’ve been connected several times. Nowadays, there are many apps designed to achieve almost every goal.
When we want to keep up with the trends, web information is aplenty. Buying services online have never been this easy as the business aim to reach more people. Besides, interactions have also become digital. People no longer need to meet one on one. And that is not all. The technology is still advancing, and machines are getting smarter. Better architecture and platforms have to precede to support the new IT.
The Internet of Nano things
The internet of things (IoT) should connect over 30 billion devices by 2020. IoT-enabled devices are getting announced every day. It is now cheap to develop these devices with inexpensive microprocessors and microsensors. Right now, you can find any conventional device connected. They may include thermostats, locks on the door among others. With internet of things, it is possible to control a house remotely. It is possible to do every task like security, control of all electronics with the simple touch of a button. A heart tracker might notify the doctor when it discovers the heart failing.
One area that is of great focus today is on the nanosensors. Here, the scientists are working to shrink the sensors. The processors will now be in nanometer scale and not the usual microns and millimeters. The nanosensors will be small enough to circulate a living body. Moreover, it is possible to embed the on the construction materials. The internet of nanothings will transform agriculture, energy, architecture. Besides, the internet of things (IoNT) may bring changes in medicine.
Moreover, it may impact the manufacture of drugs. IoNT faces some hurdles in its implementation. First, there will be a need to integrate all the devices to detect any changes and to send the information to the web. Secondly, introducing nanodevices into the body might pose some severe immune reactions. Thirdly, people will spy on each other so much. We expect that IoNT will offer detailed pictures of every aspect of life.
Next Generation Batteries
Despite the fact that the solar and wind power capacity has shown a growing trend, it is still not reliable. The sun and the wind are unpredictable. The power from the wind and solar does not meet the global demand for electricity. In most countries, they have no technology to store excess energy. That regardless of ideal or no poor conditions. In most cases, they only left is to release the excess to the national grid.
But new generation batteries are capable of storing this energy. The batteries have the capacity of serving a whole factory, a town. Mini-grids connected to the remote rural areas could also benefit from this innovation. The batteries building materials are zinc aluminum and sodium. They have replaced the use of heavy metals and caustic chemicals used in the older cells. The new batteries are more affordable and also safe to use compared to the lithium batteries. This innovation will transform the areas not connected to the national grid with electricity. Thus, the residents will have access to more information. The technology is the solution to the development of the remote regions.
The Block Chain
Blockchain is the technology that aims to streamline the bitcoin currency. Here, the public ledger of transactions is secure. It belongs to no individual or company. Every user has access to the block chain at any time. They can convey funds from one account to the other. That transaction is then recorded in a secure encrypted manner. The transactions get recorded by use of public and private keys. Thus, they are unreadable to the human. As a result, the system is not easy to tamper with.
The users of the system are luckier as the intermediaries become eliminated. That means avoiding all the transaction costs that came with the brokers. With the use of this platform, individuals can now do most of the services on their own. You can even do those offered by the financial institutions yourself. For example, they can exchange money or buy insurance covers with no bank account. With this platform, it is possible to do transactions across borders. Also, you can also enter into an enforceable contract with a complete stranger. Not only that, it is possible to sell real estate, tickets to events, stocks and more. All those transactions are possible without the need for a broker.
The innovation promises a lot to customers who seek services. But it does not miss a few downsides. The technology will drop intermediaries. That is a pro on the side of the clients. All business fees that these intermediaries such as banks and attorneys pay may disappear. Already, investors have put over 1 billion dollars for business in the last year. Their aim was to chase after the opportunity. Blockchain promises more privacy, security, and freedom of data transfer. There will be honesty since the rules used to apply to all the parties involved.
In the modern age, we’ve had concrete, stainless steel, and silicon. Graphene is no longer the only single atom material. New single-layer atom materials have emerged. The materials have far much better potential and better known as two-dimensional materials. They include:
- Lattice-like layers of carbon (graphene)
- Boron (borophene) and hexagonal boron
- Nitride/ white graphene)
- Germanium (germanene)
- Silicon (silicene)
- Phosphorous (phosphorene)
- Tin (stanene)
The various 2-D materials can also combine with each other to make other materials. Graphene used to be damn expensive, even more than gold. But its cost has gone down and is now incorporated in water filters. That may make the treatment of sewage more affordable. Graphene can absorb carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides present in the air. In the garment industries, graphene has served to make flexible sensors. Combining graphene with polymers can give lighter airplane wings and also bicycle tires.
The above 2-D materials may take the direction of graphene. For example, lithium-ion batteries have shown improvement after combining graphene and hexagonal boron nitride. The mixture also improved supercapacitors. More energy gets packed into smaller volumes. As a result, the changing time reduces, and the battery life extends. That can save more energy in devices. The release of new materials into the environment poses profound risks due to toxins. Although no toxins have emanated from graphene, research is still ongoing. 2-D materials will technologist mix different materials to optimize them the way they want.
The motor industry has changed the way we conduct our daily affairs. Cars and truck have been the most common means of transport. All these have had human drivers. But, we are entering the age whereby a car will be moving alone. That is bound to come with a lot of changes. Google in collaboration with other companies has tested the automobile for quite a while. There is some notable progress. By use of GPS, the cars can navigate even the area with heavy traffic. The consumers are just beginning to adopt these kinds of automobile. More people will buy these vehicles as more smart features get introduced.
But there is an issue that needs addressing for the technology to continue. The various countries have to remove the legal and regulation barriers. Luckily enough, some states have allowed the use of the vehicles on their roads. More countries have the same plans. That will encourage the spread of this technology as more people come on board. The coming of these cars promises much safety than the driver-operated vehicles. Moreover, accidents recorded per year will reduce. The cars move at high speed. This may end the need to have parking areas. Congestion may also reduce. The downside of self-driven cars is they may develop bugs. However, the technology used is so sophisticated and such is a rare occurrence. Again, commercial drivers will lose their jobs. Security issues may also arise.
With this technology, you’ll no longer find human organs suspended in the labs. It costs a fortune to maintain an organ outside the human body due to technicalities involved. Using a full body organ for experiments is not sustainable.
This new technology promises to offer a solution. This technology will allow the growing of little functional human body parts on microchips. Researchers have managed to make models of lung, liver, heart, bone marrow and cornea. The size of an organ chip is approximately that of USB memory stick. Translucent polymer and microfluidic tubes are the materials that make it. Each of these measures is less than a millimeter in diameter. The scientists get human cells from the organ of study and embed on the chip. The cells replicate some functions of the living body when subjected to various variables.
Risky experiments such as studying the effect of a certain bacteria are now possible. There is no more need to risk the human life. This technology will be beneficial to the companies that manufacture different drugs. The overreliance on animal testing will reduce with this technology. A lot of animals get sacrificed each year on such experiments. Testing effects of biological and chemical weapons may be possible. That is if this innovation goes to the next level.
Perovskite Solar Cells
The silicon solar cells are commonplace, and they have limitations. The material that makes them does not appear in nature in its pure form. It comes in the form of silicon oxide. To get rid of this the oxygen, it requires a lot of energy. The manufacturers have to melt silicon oxide at high temperatures in a furnace. It demands temperature as high as 1500-2000 degrees Celsius. The energy need for such a furnace is a lot.
Making Perovskite is cheaper than silicon, and it gives out fewer emissions. This new technology also demands no furnace. The material made is light and flexible. Silicon material is thick and rigid. Perovskite has efficiency in power conversion. The efficiency has improved to an extent within a short period. The efficiencies right now stand at 20 percent. That is a five-fold improvement in a short span of seven years. That is also double the efficiency recorded two years ago. The initial production of perovskite solar cells may enhance lighting in the remote areas.
Open AI Ecosystem
AI here is an acronym for Artificial Intelligence. Technology is now linking everything in the recent years. This has enabled the creation of more powerful human-like digital assistants. That is the Open AI Ecosystem. You can now connect your cell phone or PC to this technology. That is through messages, contacts, bank, calendars and work documents. Besides, you can connect your car, wrist watch and more. Anything can get connected. When you get connected, you only need to interact with AI through spoken conversations. Also, you can access your personal information from anywhere, thanks to this technology.
By bringing all health data together, it means better health care and reduced costs of health. On finance, AI will reduce the number of errors and fraudulent activities. The same way a PA knows every detail about you, the AI has also shown such capabilities. Thus, it will save much money. The AI Ecosystem may develop. But that is if humans can trust their personal information with such devices. They might face compromises from vendors who might send targeted ads to the holders.
The brain is a complex organ difficult to understand. Neuroscientists have been looking to figure out in detail how the brain functions. That is why depression and Parkinson diseases have no cure to date. In 2005, neurogeneticists made the neurons respond to a spectrum of colors of light. Optogenetics is the name of the trick. Pigment proteins known as opsin genes get inserted into certain neurons of mice.
The scientists are then able to use a visible light either to turn on or off the neurons. Brain science has advanced with this invention. Minute microchips are on the test. The aim is to put the nerves under wireless control. Inserting the chips beneath the tissue with little damage is possible. Now, it is easy to study the brain disorders. Moreover, it is possible to trace chronic pains. Scientists can also investigate the cause of vision problems.
Systems Metabolic Engineer
It is environmentally friendly to make most the materials we use from living organisms. Right now, most of the materials are made from oil, gas, and coal. The technology involves the use of microbes, which may be less expensive. Here, instead of extracting raw materials from the ground, microorganisms are put in bioreactors. In the Bioreactor, the biochemistry of microbes gets manipulated. So, the most energy goes to the synthesis of essential chemical products.
Advances in synthetic technologies have made easy the production of chemicals. The products may have proven hard to make by the conventional means. The bio-based chemical production must proof cheaper to compete well with the conventional method. The variety of chemical products from metabolic engineering is still rising. The chemicals made from microbes can allow renewal forever. The green energy is also environmentally friendly as it emits less greenhouse gas. The con of this technology is land competition between land use and production of food. The genetically engineered microorganisms might also pose a threat to the environment. They need handling with much care; Users should keep them locked in the tank.
Technology advancement improves the living standards of people. It makes the life easier. Despite the benefits that it brings, it comes with many problems. Making silly blunders might result into inexplicable consequences. Generations may feel the impacts. Hence, it is paramount to adopt technology with much care.