I don't like to make tech predictions, but I love thinking about them. I put this list down of technologies I have seen that seem to be making headlines and that will change the way we live. Enjoy!
1. Super materials
Want a jacket made of solar cells? Pants that don't get dirty? Plastics that are cheaper, tougher and lighter than steel? Materials science and nano technology can make all of this stuff happen. We may soon see a revolution of new materials that make everyday things orders of magnitude better. Most of these materials have already been invented and much of the work involve ironing out some remaining issues.
2. Self driving cars
Some people are not excited about this, but I am. I love driving around the countryside on a Sunday afternoon, but I hate sitting in traffic. If that part was automated imagine how different the experience of driving could be. Because it is safer less safety equipment may be necessary. You could sit in the back and have cornflakes and watch YouTube videos. No more screaming, hooting or suffering in traffic jams. In fact the only jam you might have would be on your toast.
So you plugged your phone in and it is charging. That is going to take about 3 hours to charge, so you do it everyday before you go to sleep so you can wake up with a fully charged phone. A battery runs on chemical processes that basically get reversed every time you charge them, but capacitors charge instantly. They can also discharge instantly. You can even hear the capacitor in a big camera flash charging up. The problem is that they can't hold all that much charge. Supercapacitors are the best of both worlds. They charge as quickly as capacitors but hold as much charge as batteries. You would be able to charge your phone really fast, maybe even in seconds.
4. Wirelessly transmitted power
We all know about charging pads, but there is another technology that allows you to pump power straight into a device from a distance. This could be Tesla's vision finally coming to pass. There are lots of challenges currently, but imagine your phone charging in your pocket simply because you walked into the front door. If you move between enough charging areas you would never need to charge your phone manually again.
5. 3D printed organs for the patient on the go.
So imagine you need a new kidney. Hard to come by right? Well maybe not all that hard if you just give your doc some of your cells and they grow those cells in culture and print you a whole new kidney from scratch! This technology could save millions of lives and extend our lives (and our quality of living) much further!
6. Augmented reality: FOR REAL THIS TIME
So imagine walking down the street and seeing a restaurant. You feel a little peckish, so you wonder what will be on the menu. You can check it out with your augmented reality glasses. A sample of the menu is read out to you and some reviews are picked. The prices are also available. You know there is a table available even though they are busy so you pre book it and walk in. Your augmented reality system draws a path on the floor for you to follow to your table. While you walk you order a drink. By the time you sit down your drink has arrived. Bon apetit!
7. Virtual reality: ALSO FOR REAL THIS TIME
You look down... it is a 500 meter drop. You never thought you would be base jumping but here you are. You run enthusiastically and hold your breath as the earth seems to open up beneath you. You feel a rush of adrenaline. You scream a little bit when you realise that you miscalculated and you are now falling to your death. JUMP FAILED flashes across your vision. You have just played a game that shows you what base jumping is like in a virtual reality world. This one is going to be lots of fun!
8. Vertical Farming
You go to the local fresh produce store, except that it is in the middle of a dense urban area, and it is a towering skyscraper covered in solar panels. All the produce sold is made in that very building to the highest quality in a clean environment. Robots harvest the cabbages and scurry them down into the sales area.