Many of the technologies in their early stages of development today will be the technologies of choice tomorrow.
Believe it or not, we can print organs for transplants, sleep while “driving” a car and see computer-generated content in our own reality. Check out these 10 technologies and see where they are heading in our future.
1. 3D printers
If you have a spare few thousand dollars, you can get yourself a 3D printer from manufacturers, such as MakerBot. It will read a digital file and print out an actual object. These objects can be simple, like children’s toys and coffee mugs, or revolutionary, like a fully-functional gun, food and human organs.
In February 2014, certain 3D printer patents will expire — allowing others to advance this technology. Eventually, this could be a common household item becauses there is a potential low-cost 3D printing technology called “laser sintering” in the works.
2. Semiautonomous cars
Google is one company that has tackled the futuristic idea of self-driving cars. The company has equipped various cars, including a Prius, a Lexus and an Audi, with this technology so the human drivers have little to do to drive safely throughout the country.
Other companies are now taking up the challenge. Cadillac has already performed road tests for semiautonomous cars. Others, such as Tesla and GM, have semiautonomous cars in the works to sell them by the end of the decade. Eventually, fully autonomous cars could be a reality.
3. Augmented-reality technology
This technology combines reality and computer-generated content into one. With Meta, a spinoff of Google Glass, you can see more than what the eye can see. A tiny projector will display images out of the frames. Lego has begun to use augmented-reality technology that shows children digitally what they could build, before they even open the box.
Tomi Ahonen, a mobile analyst, predicts that one billion users will adopt this technology by the end of the decade. Although the future is unknown, there is no doubt that augmented-reality technology will be incorporated into far more than glasses and Legos.
4. Fiber-optic Internet
Gone are the days of slow dial-up Internet — well, at least for some people in the United States. While the average Internet speed in the U.S. is 7.4 Mbps, some residents can get speeds of up to 500 Mbps. The speeds of fiber Internet allow users to connect all their devices without any slowdown.
Scientists are already working on greater speeds. Graphene can offer speeds 100 times faster than normal Internet speeds. Currently being researched is “the grid” which may be 10,000 times faster than ordinary broadband.
5. Blu-ray discs
Blu-ray discs allow us to watch our favorite movies and shows in high definition. Since Blue-ray beat out HD DVDs, they’ve continued to expand the titles offered and lowered the prices.
3D movies in theaters are popular, but they haven’t been a hit in the home. In addition to the high price, 3D TVs at home can cause nausea, the glasses are bulky and there is little content available. 3D TV technology is advancing however, and with it comes 3D Blue-ray players. If 3D TV makers get it right, 3D Blue-ray players could become incredibly popular.
6. Biometric identifiers
These days, some laptops, such as the ThinkPad T430u, offer fingerprint readers. With the swipe of a finger, users can log onto their computer. The newest iPhone 5S also has a fingerprint scanner on the home button, so you can unlock the device without any password.
With passwords frequently hacked – oftentimes because the passwords themselves are inadequate – biometric ID could change the world of security. This technology that uses your biology as a password is advancing and could be incorporated into almost every technology.
7. OLED televisions
There are plenty of homes that are forgoing a 3D TV in order to get the latest OLED, organic light-emitting diode, TV. Both LG and Samsung offer these curved TVs that have a better image than both LCD and Plasma TVs. For approximately $10,000 you can get your own OLED TV.
These prices, like most technologies, could go down over time as more companies offer and advance the technology. Eventually, OLED TVs could be as common in households as LCD and Plasma TVs are — or they could lead to a TV even more advanced.
8. 4G wireless Internet
Internet technology has come a long way since the days of the Ethernet cable. With 4G wireless Internet, the best thing since 3G, users can log online just about anywhere.
4G is significantly faster than 3G and this wireless Internet should only get faster over time. The wireless industry is already working on 5G, which will be faster and allow more users without slowing speeds.
9. Voice commands
Just a few years ago, touch-screen technology seemed revolutionary. There were tablets, phones and computers that you could tell what to do with your fingers. New technology doesn’t even require touch — simply use your voice.
Apple products’ Siri and Google Glass both offer voice command technology. Future technology could offer voice commands for more than high-tech glasses and Smartphones – it could be available for TVs, security systems and more.
Moore’s law says that, over time, technology will improve and the hardware will decrease in size. This proves true with cellphones and computers which, when combined, essentially creates a smartphone. Smartphones have been significantly transformed in the past decade, now providing as a GPS, MP3 player, camera and so much more.
The future of Smartphones is in the hands of those leading the industry: Samsung, Apple and other competitors. Smartphones are guaranteed to continue to advance and provide greater technology for tomorrow.
Originally published on examiner.com