There is a world of flying cars, of teleportation devices, robots, and time travel. As (science fiction movie) cliché as these things sound, they may just be made possible. They say that no one can predict the future but with how the world and technology looks today, perhaps one can already say that that world is what our future holds.
Technology makes our lives a whole lot easier and a whole lot better. It was just 24 years ago when the first touchscreen phone, the IBM Simon, was made. Now, we call it a “smartphone” and almost everyone has one. Not only is it used just for communication purposes anymore but also for browsing the web, taking videos and pictures, reading books (e-books), listening to music, navigating through the use of GPS, taking down notes, finding good restaurants nearby, booking a taxi ride, emailing, shopping online, and so many others. The number of things we can do with it seems limitless and all these are at the touch of our fingertips. While this all sounds amazing, the smartphone is but one of the many inventions that revolutionized the world. The past year has brought us a whole new wave of technology – technology that, if not already doing so in the present time, will shape the future of the planet in the years to come.
The year 2015 marked the start of a few technological breakthroughs such as Project Loon, 3D printing, and Nanotechnology. Project Loon is a cost-effective social-engineering project created by Google. It aims to reach out to the 60% of the world’s population, around 4.3 billion people, who do not have access to internet service. This is done through launching large helium balloons containing solar-powered electronics into the sky. Once the balloons are up there, they make a radio link to a telecommunications network and give off high-speed internet connection to devices that cannot be reached by cell towers. With this, the 4.3 billion people may then be provided with the social and economic benefits that Google says they can get with internet access.
Imagine creating a 3D model of your face or even “printing” real and edible pizza. Both of these things are now possible through 3D printing. 3D printing is another cost-effective breakthrough in technology. Although it has been around since the 1980’s, it was only further developed on a larger scale in the 2000’s. 3D printing is the process of “printing” or making a 3D object from a digital file made using a 3D modeling program. To “print” or create the object, layers and layers of material are added onto each other, otherwise known as an additive process. This is done until the object is formed. Over the course of a few years, 3D printing has given birth to new techniques and processes that are now being used in medical (e.g. printing of body parts, organs, and human tissue), architectural, mechanical, engineering (i.e. prototypes), and other various fields.
We know for a fact that atoms make up everything around us. What better way is there to make everything better than to change or manipulate them at the most basic level? Nanotechnology is basically science and engineering on an extremely small scale. No matter how tiny this technology is though, it has numerous applications in science such as those in medicine, food, and material sciences. Nanotechnology in medicine for example, could work in the creation of nano cages. These nano cages could deliver cancer-killing medicine at a molecular level. In food, nanotechnology serves as nanosensors to detect salmonella, pesticides, and other contaminants during the packaging process and in material sciences, as additives to fabrics which make these bacteria growth and stain-resistant.
With the many advancements in technology created by brilliant inventors year after year, who knows? Who’s to say what is or what will be impossible? Maybe decades or centuries from now, the world would look exactly as we picture it. Maybe it won’t. Maybe not the way we expected it to but right now, one thing is for sure: We create the future.
Written by ZM