The field of algorithms and machine learning is focused on using advanced software to study pattern recognition. Programmers create algorithms that learn from given data and are capable of making predictions based on that information. Machine learning is useful in a number of fields, including programming, criminology, medical diagnosis, and financial analysis.
Artificial intelligence involves creating software that is capable of exhibiting intellectual thoughts and behaviors. Artificial intelligence has been defined as a system that is capable of understating its environments and working to maximize its own success. Artificial intelligence is one of the most divisive areas of technology today due to concerns over the ethics of creating intelligent machines.
Augmented reality (AR), is a way of augmenting or supplementing the physical environment by viewing it through a device such as a smartphone. The device augments the environment in real time and with semantic context. For example, an architect can view a site through a tablet and see the blueprints projected onto the work in progress.
Biochips are a type of miniaturized laboratory used in molecular biology. These chips can perform thousands of biochemical reactions simultaneously, providing researchers with a way of screening a large amount of data for disease diagnosis, poison detection, or countering bioterrorism. The biochip uses a microarray and transducer that sends signals to a processor, which generates the output.
Block chains are a type of distributed database that continuously expands to accommodate a growing amount of data. These data records are protected against revision and tampering, even by those with access to the data. The most common use of block chains keeping records of transactions made with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum.
Cloud computing uses remote servers to store, process, and manage data. This allows users to store information off site, providing a backup in the event of lost data. Remote servers also allow users to access their data from any location. These cloud servers are among the most secure and have a number of built in redundancies to ensure data is always available.
A cryptocurrency is a type of payment or exchange that uses cryptography to create a very secure transaction and to limit the amount of the currency created. They make use of a decentralized control system as opposed to most banking systems. Cryptocurrencies are often digital currencies or a type of alternative currency. The first and most famous cryptocurrency is Bitcoin.
Gamification is the method of applying elements generally found in games to other activities. These elements include things like scoring points, following specific rules, and engaging in competition with others. Gamification is often used as a way of increasing user engagement, learning, and productivity by offering users some kind of reward, even if that reward is a valueless achievement or meaningless points.
The Internet of things consists of all physical objects that are capable of connecting to the internet or other networks. While this does include computers, tablets, and smartphones, it also includes things like smart TVs, medical monitoring devices, pet microchips, smart thermostats, GPS, and any other device with network capability. Experts predict that by 2020, the internet of things will contain 50 billion devices.
Mobile payment technology allows vendors to take credit and debit card payments anywhere they can connect to a mobile phone network. Vendors either plug small mobile card readers into smartphones or tablets to swipe cards, or use near field communication (NFC) wireless connections to perform transactions. Well known mobile payment systems include Square, PayPal, and Apple Pay.
A natural interface is any user interface that is controlled by the user’s voice, gestures, or even gaze. This type of interface is much less conspicuous because it involves no use of artificial input devices such as a keyboard, mouse, or so on. Examples of natural interfaces include Apple’s Siri, reacting to voice commands, and the Xbox Kinect, a device controlled by performing gestures in front of a camera.
Novel computing is an umbrella term for any new, innovative type of computing. Many technologies begin under the novel-computing category before becoming standard. These technologies cover a wide range of industries, and many focus on taking concepts previously considered science fiction and making them a reality. Current novel computing areas include bio-computing, nanotechnology, wearable technology, and optical computing.
Online education consists of students and professors meeting in a virtual classroom setting. Using chat, multimedia, whiteboards, and video teleconferencing, students from many different locations come together with the professor in an online setting rather than attending class in a physical classroom. Online education has been used for all grade levels, and some universities offer degree programs that are taught entirely, or mostly, online.
The discipline of quantum computing looks at how computer systems can use quantum mechanics to operate. It applies theories such as entanglement and superposition to create computers that are not limited by today’s systems. This would allow them to process data at a much higher rate, for example to be used in cryptology. To date, a limited number of quantum operations have been executed, but a true quantum computer has (probably) not been built.
Smart dust makes use of microelectromechanical systems composed of robots, sensors, or other devices that can detect vibration, light, temperature, chemicals, or magnetism. These devices are controlled wirelessly and are often distributed across the target area to perform a variety of tasks. Smart dust must have a powerful controller antenna because the actual devices are too small to maintain communication over long distances.
Speech-to-speech translation makes use of a computer program to translate what one person is saying into another language and to recite the translation to another person. It is often used for long distance conversations when no human translator is available at one end or both. Due to difficulty translating some idioms and phrases, however, these programs often offer a literal translation instead of a more accurate transliteration.
A terabit optical network is a next generation computer network that will be faster and more secure than current networks. These optical networks will be a multi-service platform capable of supporting commercial, residential, mobile, and special applications. Due to current bandwidth needs and their anticipated increases, any next generation network will most likely require speeds of at least terabit level.
Virtual reality technology simulates an environment in three dimensions around a person. Current virtual reality involves the user wearing a special set of 3D goggles to view the environment and special gloves to interact with it. While early attempts at virtual reality were fairly crude, today, technology has improved to the point that very realistic simulations can be created.
Wearables, or wearable technology, is a category of technology that includes any device that has been micronized to the point that it can be worn on the human body comfortably and (almost) without notice. This includes workout and medical monitoring, communications, and computing devices. Two early examples of wearables include Google Glass and the Apple watch.
The concept of widespread global internet access is about creating a world in which all individuals have access to the internet, regardless of where they live or their individual resources. It would allow for greater worldwide collaboration, bring education to those who do not have these opportunities, and allow businesses to market to a truly global audience.
3D scanning and printing allows an object to be scanned into a computer, then recreated using a 3D printer. This technology makes it easy to replicate items without the need of more expensive manufacturing equipment. 3D scanning can also be used to digitize any object, while 3D printing can be used to create a wide variety of shapes, components, and products, some of which cannot be manufactured using other techniques.
Advanced materials are materials that have been created to help advance technology. These materials are designed at atomic level by materials scientists who design each one for a specific purpose. An advanced type of metal, for example, may be designed for incredible durability, while an advanced type of plastic may be designed with improved flexibility.
Autonomous or self-driving vehicles use computers, sensors, GPS devices, and maps to transport people or items safely from one point to another without the need for a driver. The exterior is lined with sensors that detect objects and automatically stop the car before a collision. Several autonomous vehicle projects are undergoing testing with impressive results and the technology is advancing quickly.
A drone is a remote controlled vehicle, generally an air vehicle, that has long-range capabilities. Drones may be autonomous and controlled via computer or may be piloted by an operator. Drones have a number of uses, including surveillance, delivery of materials, and military capabilities. Short-range drones are available to the general public, while long-range drones are in use by the military.
High power storage systems are a critical component of advanced energy storage systems. They have the capability to store a high rate of energy very quickly from a variety of sources, including renewable sources. They also discharge power quickly and can supply energy within a second. These storage cells do not lose energy as quickly, allowing for long-term storage of power. As a result, these systems are ideal for emergency backup systems.
Nanobots are microscopic programmable robots that can be used in a variety of different ways. These robots can interact with objects on a nanoscopic level, entering molecules, human cells, and technology. Potential uses include using nanobots to destroy cancerous cells, detect chemical spills, and repair microchips. Nanobots capable of replication may be used to build entire pieces of equipment with the correct programming.
The field of new energy solutions looks at ways of reducing or eliminating our dependency on fossil fuels while making energy production, storage and use more efficient. Some areas of this field look at using renewable resources such as solar, wind, and hydro power, while others focus on designing new fuel cells and engines that require less energy to operate.
Smart robots are robots that make use of evolving and learning algorithms in order to improvise. These robots are designed to learn how to use objects around them to complete various tasks. They do not have to be programmed to use specific objects for specific functions, but instead build a program themselves based on trial and error with objects with which they interact or have previously encountered.
A brain transplant, sometimes referred to as a whole body transplant, is the process of removing the brain from one body and transplanting it into the body of another organism. Only the brain is transferred, not the entire head. This technology is in its infancy, and a successful brain transplant has yet to be completed.
Brain or mind uploading involves uploading an individual’s entire personality, memory, and attributes to a computer network or other type of artificial containment system. This hypothetical process would effectively allow humans to live forever by uploading their brains to computer networks, robotic bodies, or even cloned biological bodies. It may also be possible to create complete clones using a copy and transfer method of uploading.
A brain-computer interface is an interface that directly connects the brain to a computer device. Research into these interfaces has been done since the 1970s, leading to breakthroughs in the areas of vision, prosthesis, and motor control. Brain-computer interfaces can allow those with a disability to regain all or partial functionality, plus they may be capable of enhancing human capabilities.
Neurobusiness is taking the concepts and theories of neuro-science and applying them in a business context. This is done to gain insight into customer needs and satisfaction. Much of this insight is based on analyzing why people do things instinctively and learning how to use these reactions in marketing, decision-making, and other business related areas.
Neurotechnology is any type of technology that allows us to understand how the brain functions. It includes looking at higher brain activity, thought and consciousness. This technology can be used to improve brain function in a number of ways, including regulating brain activity and stimulating areas that are no longer active, for example the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
3D bioprinting takes the concepts and techniques used in 3D printing and applies them to living cells. It allows for the creation of spatially controlled cell patterns that function like natural cells. This technology is capable of printing tissues that could be used for reconstructive surgery and, in the future, may even be capable of creating organs for transplant patients.
Biometrics is the use of biological characteristics such as a fingerprint, voice, retina pattern, facial structure, vein pattern, or other type of characteristic to authenticate the user. These biometrics are unique to the user and cannot easily be copied, which means biometric security is much stronger than relying on a username and password combination.
Genetic characterization is the process of taking various genetic sequences and comparing them against one another. It has been used in public health to identify viruses and track their evolution. By lowering the cost so that genetic characterization can be performed on individuals on a regular basis, it will be possible to track mutations and may lead to a solution for genetic illnesses.
Cloning is the act of taking the DNA from one plant or animal and duplicating it. In this manner, everything from a single cell to an entire living organism can be cloned. Cloning a live animal was successfully done in 1996 when Dolly the Sheep was created from adult somatic cells. Cloning has a number of potential medical uses, including creating cloned organs for transplant patients.
e-health is the combination of healthcare and electric communications, processing, and record keeping. The exact definition of e-health is varied, with many organizations having their own unique idea of what it entails. Generally, it involves any use of technology in the healthcare industry and may include anything from electronic health records to cyber-medicine and self-monitoring apps and other devices.
Genetic modification is the act of manipulating an organism’s genome to change the makeup of that organism’s cells. It often involves inserting, removing, or replacing DNA via artificially engineered nucleases such as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR). CRISPRs have been used in immunization, disease research, agriculture, and may be invaluable in the treatment of illnesses such as cystic fibrosis.
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism that has had its genetic material altered in some way. Creating GMOs involves inserting, deleting, or changing the genes of the organism and may include adding genes from a different organism into another’s DNA. GMOs are most commonly associated with modified plants and crops, although genetically modified animals have been created.
Human augmentation or enhancement is the attempt, either temporarily or permanently, to change the human body naturally or artificially. This includes modifications that both improve upon existing human capacities and create new capacities that are currently beyond humanity. Cosmetic enhancement, prosthetics, medical implants, neurostimulation, and even using technology that makes life more efficient can be considered forms of human augmentation.
The term longevity is often defined as life expectancy, but it is also often used in discussions on extending human life. Work in the area of longevity extends across a number of disciplines and looks at ways of eliminating disease, slowing down ageing, and repairing or regenerating damage to the human body.
The concept of quantified self is the concept of breaking a person’s daily life down into sets of data using technology. This allows a person to see exactly what they have consumed, their moods, their performance levels, and even things such as the quality of the air they have been breathing. It may also be referred to as life logging, and it often makes use of a number of wearable technologies.
Synthetic biology is a specialization that involves biology, computer engineering, biophysics, and genetics. It focuses on designing and creating artificial versions of biological systems or using technology to repair damaged organisms via created organs, blood, and other natural substances. Examples of synthetic biology include sequencing DNA, synthesizing genomes, and designing proteins.