In the future, genetic sequencing will speed up the development of vital new drugs; they'll be tested on 'virtual' patients and the 'microneedle' used to administer them means you won't even feel the injection.
Those are three of the 10 technological innovations that a group of experts highlighted in their report on the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2020 as ones that are in the early stages now but could have a huge impact in the next three-to-five years.
Have you read?
The two people who chaired that group - convened each year by the World Economic Forum and the US-based magazine Scientific American - talked about all 10 innovations for a special episode of Science Talk and The Great Reset pocasts.
Mariette DiChristina, Dean of the College of Communication at Boston University and former editor-in-chief of Scientific American.
Bernie Meyerson, Chief Innovation Officer at IBM.
Read their blog.
These are the 10 technologies in the 2020 list:
Digital Medicine - Apps and bots that can enhance traditional medicine and provide support to patients with limited access to healthcare.
Whole-Genome Synthesis - The ability to write our genome will inevitably help doctors to cure genetic diseases.
Virtual Patients - The use of computer models could make vaccine trials quicker and cheaper and would significantly reduce the number of human subjects needed for experimentation.
Microneedles for Painless Injections and Tests - These tiny needles promise pain-free injections and blood testing. Microneedles do not touch nerve endings. Since the process does not require costly equipment or a lot of training, they can be used in areas that do not normally receive cutting-edge medical technologies.
Electric Aviation - Electric propulsion motors would eliminate direct carbon emissions and could reduce fuel costs by up to 90%, maintenance by up to 50% and noise by nearly 70%. Electric planes could have a real market in short-haul flights.
Lower-Carbon Cement - If cement production were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter after China and the US. Researchers are working on lower-carbon approaches by changing the recipe, using different materials, and using carbon capture and storage technologies.
Sun-Powered Chemistry - This approach uses sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into needed chemicals currently manufactured with fossil fuel. It could reduce emissions in two ways – by using unwanted gas as raw material and using sunlight as the source of energy instead of fossil fuels.
Green Hydrogen - Current methods of producing hydrogen are not environmentally efficient. Green hydrogen uses renewable power in the electrolysis process that splits water molecules.
Quantum Sensing - Quantum sensors enable autonomous vehicles that can 'see' around corners, underwater navigation systems, early-warning systems for volcanic activity and earthquakes, and portable scanners that monitor a person’s brain activity during daily life.
Spatial Computing - 'Spatial computing' will allow technical advances in sensors and robotics to provide much quicker and more precise interactions between humans and the objects around them.
Read the report here.
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