Tech in the next 20 years

By: Luis Cabanzo

Holographic interfases

During Microsoft's Windows 10 event today, the company introduced two new devices and a whole new application development model for the Windows platform: holographic computing.

Windows Holographic is a three-dimensional, environmentally aware application environment that will be supported in various ways on all Windows 10 devices. Holographic content will be put most spectacularly on display by HoloLens, a wearable computer that uses tricks of light to project three-dimensional virtual objects on top of the environment around the user, allowing them to interact with the "holograms" using voice and gesture commands.They're not really holograms, in the purely technical sense—there are no lasers involved, and the display is not using diffraction or interference to create a holographic projection. Instead, they use a high definition stereographic display and fool the eye into seeing things laid atop the real world, placed in the same context as real-world objects as if they were projected holograms.

Multi-touch holographic interface 'Electronic University' - APEC 2012

Bio Technology

Okay, it doesn’t let you crush rocks like you would think, BUT it does allow people without fingers to have fully functional hands that can pick up and handle delicate objects. It is completely controlled by the brain and requires no surgery. Touch Bionics, the company the produces the Pro Digits hand, is able to install the hand complete with “living skin,” a plastic covering resembling human skin, for under $50,000. A small price to pay for a new hand I think.

'Terminator' arm is world's most advanced prosthetic limb

Architecture

While Dubai is currently known for it’s ridiculous extravagance, developers in the region are building a tower that has fancyand extremely practical applications.

This beautiful building is going to be made of 59 independently rotating modules/floors so that inhabitants will have a constantly shifting view of the outside world. Each floor will rotate at approximately 6 meters per minute so that the inhabitants will not notice the movement. The independent rotations will also give the building an ever-changing exterior that can warp into very complex designs.

All of that aesthetic stuff is great and all, but the real innovation comes from the wind turbines built in between each floor. The resulting pollution-free energy will be enough to power the tower and several buildings in the surrounding area. Just Wow.

Modern Architecture

Computer Speed, Size and Usability

Most people tech-nerds know of Moore’s Law from 1965 (the number of transistors we are able to cheaply put in computer chips doubles every year, thereby doubling the speed). However, most people don’t know that Moore, himself, came out and said his law will most likely fail finally in 2020 where the number of transistors we can put on chips will be limited by the laws of physics. Does this mean the exponential rise in computer processing speed will come to a halt in ten years?

Not a chance, says Jim Tully, chief of research for semi-conductors at Gartner. “The technology which will replace this is a bottom-up approach, where chips will be assembled using individual atoms or molecules, a type of nanotechnology.”

Ray Kurzweil, a well-respected Futurist, stated in 2008 that when this molecular computing technology comes out in 2020, computers will have the intellectual capability of human beings. You might want to digest that for a minute before moving onto the next section.

Size and Usability

That Macbook Air is pretty damn thin. So thin, in fact, that it makes you wonder if physical computers will even exist in 2020. Well according to developers at Intel, the keyboard and mouse surely won’t. Who needs QWERTY when you can control a computer with your mind?

“We’re trying to prove you can do interesting things with brain waves,” said Intel researcher Dean Pomerleau. “Eventually people may be willing to be more committed … to brain implants. Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.”

Pomerleau and countless research groups around the world are working with brain scanning devices to map blood flow in the brain. They have found that when different individual focus on the same image, they have very similar patterns of blood flow in their brains. For example, one British group announced that they could discern where subjects where in a computer generated virtual environment by looking at where blood flowed in their brains.

Cars and Fuel

There are tons of different fuel-types for the “automobiles of tomorrow” but the only kind that seems to have any realistic chance of actually being used by the masses in the next ten years is electric. We still can’t figure out how to make hydrogen fuel cells efficient, safe and practical and hybrids/deisal cars are yesterday’s news. Fossil fuels are so 2009…

This is the Tesla Model S sedan that will be coming out in 2011 for the modest price of $57,000 (very good for a luxury, electric car).

Besides the sexy curves, you get 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge depending on the battery size you choose. And another small detail, it goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds while seating 7 people.

So despite all of the automaker’s best attempts at making alternative-fuel cars so hideous that no one would ever buy them, it looks like market competition will soon push some very attractive and efficient cars onto the market.