Gene editing, fully autonomous markets and interactive 3D touch may sound like the plot of a sci-fi movie, but the future is now. Here are the five innovations we’re most looking forward to seeing in 2018.
Nanotechnology redefines Kodak moments
The photography industry already has been flipped upside-down by digital media. But cameras still rely on bulky lenses and glass diffraction to take the perfect picture. However, researchers at Harvard University intend to replace these glass lenses with wafer-thin metalenses. Metalenses use nanofins—teeny tiny pieces of titanium dioxide—to bend light toward the focal point, allowing the full spectrum of light to pass through.
Facial recognition goes transactional
By now, almost all smartphones are equipped with facial recognition. But the next big thing is paying for goods and services with your face. In China, companies are already using face-recognition technology for payments, restricted access, monitoring and criminal tracking.
Surveillance and convenience are the name of the game for companies looking to innovate in (and profit from) a variety of fields. From banks to courts to ride sharing, shopping and more, facial recognition is now accurate enough, popular enough and advanced enough for everyday use. The question is, will countries like the United States follow suit?
Gene therapy gets the green light
Gene therapy has been around for decades, with its share of disappointments and successes. But scientists have paved the way for critical success in 2018 by solving instrumental problems related to curing genetic disorders. Blindness, hemophilia and rare diseases are among the targeted issues gene therapy seeks to reverse.
Scientists don’t intend to stop at rare diseases, either. Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart failure, cancer and even aging are among the issues they’re looking to cure. But don’t reach for the Fountain of Youth yet—we’re far off from tackling them. It’s harder to create treatments for complex genetic cases than to target a specific genetic malfunction. However, gene therapy is real and already helps patients with rare genetic diseases.
A screen that’s true to touch
Winner of the highest honor at CES’s 2018 Innovation Awards, the world’s first 3D touchscreen is on its way in 2018. The A/V system, to be included in vehicles, is intended to decrease distracted driving by allowing the driver to use touch-sensitive 3D elements when setting volume, temperature or other settings. The system uses touch feedback to tell drivers where their fingers are located on the screen and senses different levels of touch to indicate whether a driver is making a selection.
Now, drivers won’t have to take their eyes off the road when operating their vehicle’s system. It may not be Smell-O-Vision, but the first interactive 3D touch display is here. (Source: https://www.continental-corporation.com/en/press/press-releases/2018-01-04-3d-touch-display-118076)
Artificial intelligence meets supermarkets
Buying bread or milk soon won’t be the same. Fully autonomous shops, with no line, no checkout and no cashiers, are on the market. Downloading an app to your phone allows you to pick up items and walk away. The app then charges you and provides a receipt when you exit the “store.”
Then, the system does an inventory scan that tracks all sales and provides projections. It also can detect expired products and predict each shopper’s preferences, directing you to where the item is in the store. No more searching high and low for that mango chutney you need for tonight’s recipe. Plus, your secret cookie habit is safe and sound—AI won’t tell on you. (Source: https://www.aipoly.com/)