The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Scientific American have recently joined forces and devised a list of the top ten most innovative technologies of the year. The way in which the results were determined was by each of the technologies potential ability to improve lives, revolutionize industries, and protect the planet. Following is a summary of those that made the top ten list.
1. 2D Materials: Graphene is the leading material to emerge in this category, but decreased production costs have also enabled other 2D materials to appear.
2. Optogenetics: Advancements in this field have enabled researchers to get a deeper understanding of the brain and how it functions which will hopefully lead to improvements in brain disorder treatments.
3. Perovskite Solar Cells: Sales involving these have boomed this year as people begin to recognise their flexibility, efficiency, and initial cost is much better than ever before.
4. Autonomous Vehicles: Although fully autonomous vehicles are still yet to come (i.e. those with no steering wheel or pedals), this area of technology is certainly one that is accelerating quickly and will continue to do so over the next decade.
5. Nanosensors and the Internet of Nanothings: Nanosensors allow us to measure, monitor, and quantify how a system functions while the Internet of Nanothings networks these sensors to give an interconnected overview of the system.
6. The Blockchain: Where the Bitcoin exceeded $1 billion in investment last year, the Blockchain technology that supports it got a big boost and is very likely to be a name we will hear more of soon.
7. Systems Metabolic Engineering: With recent scientific advancements, scientists can now recreate nature and use the renewable chemicals derived from the plants as a replacement for fossil fuels.
8. Artificial Organs: Biomedical research has taken a step forward this year as researchers have devised a way to make mini artificial organs allowing them to observe their mechanisms and behaviors without using any animals.
9. Next-generation Batteries: Energy storage methods have also leaped forward this year with batteries being produced using sodium, aluminum, and zinc that have the ability to power whole towns with energy.
10. Open AI Ecosystem: Smart robots are definitely on the rise this year with the introduction of digital assistants like Siri and Cortana, and following on from their success are sure to be others very soon.
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