there are five technologies - actually applications that utilize lots of different enabling technologies - that are already here today and have the potential to dramatically alter the way we live.
Smart infrastructure. Japan had smart highways decades ago and America’s just now getting around to digital power meters. Still, the world is becoming too complex to physically monitor everything. Wireless sensor networks that enable the remote management of assets, systems, buildings, even cities, are just beginning to take off. And they’ll make everything that matters easier and more efficient.
Robotics. From cleaning our homes to taking care of our rapidly aging population, from medical procedures to industrial factories, robots of every shape and size are slowly but surely changing the way we work and live. Yes, it’s an evolutionary process, but the core computing, communications, sensor, and mechanical technologies are continuing to advance at a rapid pace. There are robots in your future.
Motion sensing. It’s starting with video games, of course, but the applications for technology that allows us to control electronics without having to touch anything is virtually limitless. When combined with speech recognition and other related technologies, just imagine a world where you can interact seamlessly with computing and communications devices that are essentially invisible.
Smart cars. The technology for self-driven cars is being developed and tested as you read this, but its broad usage is still a long way off. In the mean time, however, cars are becoming more and more aware of what’s going on inside and outside the vehicle. In terms of keeping us safe from each other and ourselves, and making cars more reliable and efficient, there’s a lot of good stuff under the hood.
LED lighting and OLED display technology. One of the most consistent aspects of just about every depiction of a future world is amorphous lighting that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere. Not only can ultrathin LED lights be embedded in almost anything, but organic LED or OLED technology enables ultrathin displays that can, get this, be rolled up and formed into all kinds of shapes.
Put all this together and you may wake up one day in a world where our critical infrastructure is smart, safe, and optimized; robots make our lives easier; we can control everything through speech and motion; lights and displays become part of the walls and furniture, and you can get from point A to point B almost without thinking about it. And this isn’t future stuff. It’s here now.