We asked our regular contributors through e-mail What’s a relatively unknown technological invention that will have a huge impact on the future? We got many interesting responses. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way.
1. Did you know that they have developed implants that can grow with you? Meaning that kids with faulty heart valves or damaged organs that require a synthetic element can undergo just one surgery as they’re young and never have to have further surgeries for replacement as they grow.
My housemate is a chemical engineer and she told me all about it I thought it was interesting.
2. Low-pressure solar-powered drip irrigation systems.
3. Gene therapy is no longer science fiction. My girlfriend got “Luxturna” surgery and the results have been amazing (she used to be unable to see at all at night and now she can guide herself without a cane). More treatments like that are going to keep coming and be standard before we realize it.
4. Realistically, the use of carbon grids to reproduce the catalytic effects of Rhodium metal, commonly used in catalytic converters. Rhodium metal is currently trading at $13,000/oz after a huge spike due to worldwide emissions restrictions that took effect in 2020.
Long story short there is only 2 places on Earth to effectively find the stuff and it is going to run out, well before fossil fuels and other important building materials do. Replacing Rhodium with Carbon in catalytic purposes would save global manufacturers hundreds of billions a year and make many consumer goods much more affordable.
5. The invention of hypersonic missiles is starting an arms race not seen since the Cold War and nobody seems to care.
6. Printed human skin and organs.
7. My bet is on CRISPR, a genetic technology that enables DNA modification on live organisms, at a very low cost.
Sadly I cannot predict whether the impact will be positive or not.
8. Lithium-Sulfur batteries are in development right now that could make battery storage much cheaper than current lithium-ion, and lithium polymer batteries. Lower cost batteries mean more people can afford to use them, and that’s more internal combustion engines, replaced with electric motors.
While I’m at it, battery recycling. Every element in a battery can be extracted, and recycled into new batteries, especially lithium. A former founding member of Tesla has actually already opened a plant to do just that.
9. Research into bacteriophages (bacteria targeting viruses) could cure antibiotic-resistant bacterium such as MRSA.
10. Wireless EKG machines.