A real-life invisibility cloak, a London-to-Sydney flight in 3 hours, manufacturing in zero-gravity space, and worm-like robotics for disaster recovery, these are just some of the 50 emerging technologies that could shape our future.
The 50 Emerging Technologies report from Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency – brings together ”the most exciting new technological breakthroughs that could be part of our everyday lives”, says the group.
All of the technologies, from tiny nano-materials, to quantum computing, and brain-machine interfaces that allow you to control machines with your mind, are in development right now. While only in their infancy, they’re described in the report as having major potential to transform our lives.
The report is designed to inspire innovative businesses to consider how these technologies, or combinations of them, could become the commercial products of the future. The technologies identified underpin the importance of the Government’s 5 key technology areas, and the potential for these to address global challenges and drive UK economic growth in the process.
The technologies reported on are compiled in seven groups, all of which are important to the UK economy:
- AI, digital and computing
- Advanced materials and manufacturing
- Electronics, photonics and quantum
- Energy and environmental
- Health and medical
- Robotics and space.
Indro Mukerjee, Chief Executive Officer of Innovate UK, said: “Innovate UK are supporting businesses across the country to be at the forefront of developing and adopting the technologies of tomorrow. These will help solve global challenges, create skilled jobs and economic growth in the coming decades. This report is one way we’re achieving this, by analysing and encouraging some of the most exciting future technologies that could change our world. We hope it will inspire and encourage you to work even closer with Innovate UK”
Head of Horizon Scanning at Innovate UK and report author, Simone Boekelaar, explains: “As we enter an era of unprecedented technological change, our new report offers a glimpse into a future where the impossible becomes possible. From anti-ageing drugs to sustainable energy solutions, these technologies could change everything, and we are excited to see the impact they will have on society in the years to come.
“Take Brain Machine Interface (BMI) technologies for example. The premise is that if you can connect the brain with a computer or machine, you can translate thoughts into commands that can control external software or hardware, such as a computer or robotic arm. Advanced BMI technologies are being trialled in prosthetics for people with motor or sensory impairments. They could allow people who are paraplegic or quadriplegic to regain limb control. Those missing limbs could have direct control – from brain to device – of their prosthetics.
“Meanwhile with our energy bills at record levels, could room temperature superconductors provide the answer to lower electricity prices? Current superconductor technology requires very high pressures or very cold temperatures to work. Discovery of new superconductors working in normal conditions could allow zero-waste, low-cost electricity production, radically changing the economics of the energy market.”
Read the full report to find out about 50 emerging technologies that will shape our future. Be part of the next edition by sharing your thoughts and expertise with Innovate UK, find out more by going to www.ukri.org/publications/insights-report-innovate-uks-50-emerging-technologies/.