How well can we predict the future? I grew up in an Victorian house and we had a huge barn that we used as our garage. I always loved playing in the barn because there was so much history in the building itself. It had cool secret hiding places and odd contraptions on the walls. One time, my brothers and I came across an old newspaper article which described what the world would be like in the year 1980. It was laughable. Check out this wonderful tumblr Vintage Future for some great “future posters” from our past.
Yet, nowadays technology is literally jumping forward by leaps and bounds every minute of the day. As the New Year quickly approaches we all will begin to look forward to 2012 to see what’s to come. This week a friend shared the article 23 incredible new technologies you’ll see by 2021 by Jason Wire. Below are a few of my favorite predictions:
2012: The paralyzed will walk. But, perhaps not in the way that you’d imagine. Using a machine-brain interface, researchers are making it possible for otherwise paralyzed humans to control neuroprostheses–essentially mechanical limbs that respond to human thought–allowing them to walk and regain bodily control. The same systems are also being developed for the military, which one can only assume means this project won’t flounder due to a lack of funding.
2014: The first around-the-world flight by a solar-powered plane will be accomplished by now, bringing truly clean energy to air transportation for the first time. Consumer models are still far down the road, but you don’t need to let your imagination wander too far to figure out that this is definitely a game-changer. Consider this: it took humans quite a few Milenia to figure out how to fly; and only a fraction of that time to do it with solar power.
2015: The world’s first zero-carbon, sustainable city in the form of Masdar City will be initially completed just outside of Abu Dhabi. The city will derive power solely from solar and other renewable resources, offering homes to more than 50,000 people.
2016: The sunscreen pill will hit the market, protecting the skin as well as the eyes from UV rays. By reverse-engineering the way coral reefs shield themselves from the sun, scientists are very optimistic about the possibility, much to the dismay of sunscreen producers everywhere.
2017: Portable laser pens that can seal wounds – Imagine you’re hiking fifty miles from the nearest human, and you slip, busting your knee wide open, gushing blood. Today, you might stand a chance of some serious blood loss but in less than a decade you might be carrying a portable laser pen capable of sealing you back up Wolverine-style.
2020: Crash-proof cars have been promised by Volvo, to be made possible by using radar, sonar, and driver alert systems. Considering automobile crashes kill over 30,000 people in the U.S. per year, this is definitely a welcome technology.
P.S. Being the movie buff I am, I cannot resist posting this movie clip: