What Will Be the Next Great Invention?
Refrigeration, the computer, the jet engine, mobile phones and the internet are just a few examples of technological advancements that helped to change the world. While many young people would have no idea of what life was like before the internet or mobile phones, few of us would know just how people got by before refrigeration was invented. Did you enjoy a holiday in a hot country recently, before the jet was invented such holidays would have been unthinkable for most and reserved only for the wealthiest among us.
Technology doesn’t stop advancing though and all the time we are finding new technologies that help to make our lives easier while also improving health and longevity. With so much new technology on the horizon it can be exciting to think of which next invention will help to change the world. Some developments that where once considered to be futuristic are a lot closer to becoming mainstream that we might even have imagined.
Being able to sit down next to and speak with somebody that is thousands of miles away? . It might sound like something from Star Trek, but we’re almost there already. Virtual reality is still in its infancy and is mostly limited to gaming and high-end 3D design but still it is available for sale and is present in many households. As the technology advances it will improve and become more affordable and there may well be a day when virtual reality sets are as common as TVs. Perhaps one day you could hold a board meeting with members located in different places in the world all sat around the same virtual table.
We see an example of nuclear fission every time we go outside or open the curtains in the daytime. The Sun is basically a gigantic nuclear fission reactor, and one that will continue to emit life giving energy for billions of years to come. If we can harness the power of nuclear fission then it could provide almost free energy, and we are getting closer to achieving it all the time. Such a development could be essential to so many people in poor countries for whom energy is an extremely expensive commodity. It could also help to significantly reduce the degree to which we are polluting our environment.
You’ve probably seen futuristic movies where people have tablet-like devices that simply fold up when not being used. Graphene is an incredible new material that promises the opportunity to do just that. Just one atom thick, yet strong and electrically conducting, a sheet of graphene can act as a screen showing whatever you want. It can be a watch on your wrist, a computer monitor or maybe a TV screen. Once you have finished using it, it can simply be folded up and put away. The potential applications for this material are very exciting indeed.
The quote “If you think you understand Quantum mechanics, you don’t understand Quantum mechanics” is attributed to scientist Richard Feynman and alludes to the weird and elusive nature of the Quantum world. While we are just breaking the surface of the Quantum world, we are beginning to use some of it to our advantage and Quantum computing is a prime example of this. One attribute of particles at the Quantum level is that they can take on multiple forms at the same time and the effect this can have on computer processors using quantum chips is astronomical. Once perfected to the point where quantum computing becomes widely available, it has the potential to increase computing speeds so much that it will change the way that we live considerably. Although still in the early days of development and too expensive to be practical, current quantum computers make even NASA’s supercomputers look like an electronic wrist-watch in comparison.
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