Our exponential technological growth spurt over the past decade seems to be accelerating faster and faster showing no signs of slowing up anytime soon. Keeping up with the latest tech trends is no easy task these days when something new pops up every week offering to change the way we do things. Ten years of the smartphone and we find our lives have been enhanced, our children are growing up smarter, and access to information has never been so easy. The big question is where will technology take us humans next?
Entrepreneurs, visionaries, scientists, engineers, they're all looking at ways to develop new technologies that will enrich our lives just as much as the smartphone has over the past decade. Many of them are looking towards bio enhancements to help humans become superhuman and achieve immortality. Right now in the labs across the planet, great minds are working on mixing hardware with biology to enhance our lives in ways we didn't think were possible. Here are some of those emerging technologies that you can expect to see in the very near future.
We’ve seen Tom Cruise wear one and kick some ass in the futuristic movie “Edge Of Tomorrow”, but that of course was just science fiction. However, in the next decade you can expect to see the exoskeleton being used for a number of different scenarios, in particular the military. Any soldier wearing one of these on the ground would be a real-life Iron Man and have a serious advantage over the enemy and navigating difficult terrains.
Exoskeletons will replace Forklift trucks around the workplace, and lifting heavy goods will never be so easy. Laborers will have added strength lifting materials around construction sites, and it wouldn't be a surprise if they were used around the home by those who struggle with back problems and disabilities.
Bionic eyes are already being used to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A small mounted camera fixed to a pair of glasses sends light to electrodes attached to the eye retina. This technique is still being developed but restores vision for those suffering with AMD.
When it comes to technological body enhancements, the eyes are a big deal. Bionic eye technology will likely be the most popular body enhancement people will purchase in the future. Anything from smart HUD’s showing the distance and velocity of moving objects, to super magnified long distance night vision would be available. Ocumetics Technology Corp are currently testing a bionic lens that aims to restore clear vision at distances which they claim will be three times better than 20/20 vision.
BCI’s - Brain Computer Interfaces
Plugging your brain into a computer is nothing new, people are already using forms of brain interfaces to interact with machinery, drones and neuro-prosthetic limbs. This technology is currently used to communicate with patients suffering from locked-in syndrome, a condition where sufferers are unable to communicate vocally due to complete paralysis of nearly all muscles.
The tech could be used to communicate telepathically between BCI’s by simply thinking about what you’d like to say to someone. There’s already talk of capturing thoughts on computers so they can process actions like send emails or uploading pictures to social media.
The possibilities for Brain Computer Interfaces are never ending as we look to merge the biological with the non-biological. Driving vehicles, ordering takeaways, turning on electrical appliances at home, it’s all going to be possible with just a simple thought and a computer processor.
3D Printed Organs
3D printing technology is already in full swing and the market is saturated with smart modelling printers. Dubai showed off the world's first 3D printed office building last year which cost a fraction of typical modern construction methods. The most exciting area of this technology lies in printing biological body parts. Scientists believe 3D printing will branch into human organs within the next decade. Scientists have already successfully grown bladders in labs before implanted them in humans, so 3D printing yourself a new liver after years of partying will be a doddle in the year 2030.
Cybernetic Prosthesis Limbs
The research and development of mind controlled cybernetic prosthetic limbs has made giant leaps forward in the past few years. Losing a limb might not be such a bad thing in the future knowing that the worst that can happen is you end up looking a bit like Luke Skywalker. We may well find people opting to skip the gym and trade in their weak skinny limbs in favor of a super fast, super strong robotic upgrades.
US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have already produced a mind-controlled prosthetic robot arm that lets you actually feel what you touch with it. The robotic arm uses wires that link up to the brain’s “motor cortex” which controls muscle movement. They also connect to the "sensory cortex" which identifies the sensations from touch. The robot arm is fitted with pressure sensors that connect back to the brains sensory cortex, similar to how biology works.