Special Report

Technologies That Will Change the Way We Live

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11. Microchip implants

In 2017, employees of a Wisconsin-based technology company were given the choice to have a microchip the size of a grain of rice injected between their thumb and index finger that would allow them to enter the building and pay for lunch with a wave of a hand. This might sound creepy, but implanted microchip technology had already debuted in Sweden, and the technology holds promise in the field of health care. Despite its nefarious potential, like being able to track people’s movements, these implants can also be used in patients with chronic heart conditions or to monitor glucose among diabetics.

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12. Robotic exoskeletons

Today, exoskeletons are commonly known as a rehabilitative tool that helps paraplegics walk with the use of powered robotics attached to their bodies. But they’re also being used or tested by factory workers and soldiers to ease physical strain. While the most likely deployment of exoskeletons will continue to be in industry and health care, companies are working to develop the technology as a consumer-facing product for everyday heavy-lifting or walking-assistance needs.

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13. Smart traffic systems

Combining rapid wireless communication and artificial intelligence to analyse massive amounts of data could one day make traffic jams rare if not obsolete. The system uses cameras to monitor traffic flow and relay the data in real time to adjust traffic lights to optimize the flow of motor vehicles and pedestrians. These systems would become more accurate and effective as more vehicles become connected, especially with new technology that would link cars to connected infrastructure, like street lights or traffic relay signs on highways.

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14. Universal translators

One of the most intriguing applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and high processing power could help resolve one of humanity’s most enduring challenges: language barriers. Technologies like speech recognition and speech-to-text transcription have made momentous progress in recent years. Today’s portable translators are far from perfect. But the Tower of Babel dilemma may soon be resolved as portable, low-cost technology would evolve and be able to recognize and translate speech accurately and in real time.

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15. V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) technology

The automatic wireless exchange of information, like speed and position, between vehicles has been cited by U.S. auto safety regulators as an important development for reducing collisions. Giving cars this ability to “talk” to each other is one of the primary innovations in the rapidly evolving automotive industry and will be important in both self-driving and human-controlled vehicles. The vehicle-to-vehicle technology will likely be standard in all new cars in the near future.

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16. Zero-size intelligence

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore famously predicted in the 1960s that the number of transistors that could be crammed into the same space of a microchip would double about every two years. In recent years companies have produced small chips packed with billions of transistors, the building blocks of processing power. In computing lingo, zero-size intelligence means that the space a processor takes up is so miniscule that it allows immersive computing power to be packaged into virtually anything, which could advance everything from space exploration to processing massive amounts of data.

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