5 Technologies That Are Going to Change the World

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In case you hadn’t noticed, the future is pretty much here. While life doesn’t look exactly like an episode of The Jetsons, we are nonetheless living in an age where technology is enabling us to do things we could never have even imagined just a few decades ago. Or even a few short years ago, in some cases. If you take the definition of progress to mean making it easier and more efficient to do things that need to be done, then these five technologies are like progress on crack. Except it’s a special good kind of crack in this case.

5 Going Way Up?

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It almost sounds like a joke, doesn’t it? A Space Elevator, just think of that! Well, lots of scientists and engineers already have, and they think the concept is viable. In fact, there is even an International Space Elevator Consortium devoted to finding the right way to lift a station into geocentric orbit which will be connected to the surface of the planet. This setup would give us a permanent connection to space through which man and material could be shuttled, only without any shuttle! We’re guessing plural terrible movies would be made about aliens taking it over, likely with titles like Going Down.

4 Size Does Matter

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Nanotechnology could change everything from energy production to medical science. In fact, it will change those things, we just don’t know exactly how yet. We do know that it is entirely possible that we could someday have advanced “molecular self-assembly,” whereby a number of miniature particles are “programmed” to act in concert, and can self-assemble into anything from a chair to a working computer, much the same way cells in your body become hair, skin and liver cells.

3 Donors Need Not Apply

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In the old days, if you needed, say, a kidney transplant, you had to find a donor, they had to have major surgery to remove their healthy kidney, then you had to have major surgery to have it implanted into your body, then you had to spend your life taking medicines to stop your body from rejecting it, yadda yadda. In the future, doctors might just be able to use 3D printing techniques mixed with synthetic tissues to whip up a brand new replacement organ in no time! You’ll still need some surgery to get ‘er popped in there, but hey, one operation ain’t half bad!

2 The Electric Spaceship

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Move over, Saturn V rockets: the ion thruster is here. And actually, we’ll still need rockets to get to space for the foreseeable future, but once there, ion propulsion is about the most efficient method of generating thrust in the weightlessness of space. An ion thruster propels charged ions (go figure) using an electric charge, thus pushing the object to which the thruster is attached in the opposite direction. This type of propulsion system requires very little stored propellant material, so it is highly efficient, though slow to produce velocity.

1 Bionics: Darth Vader IRL

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Mind-controlled bionic limbs: now if that’s not something straight out of science fiction, nothing is! Except that you can drop the word fiction, because that technology already exists and is being refined every day. In the most stunning example of this technology, a quadriplegic woman who has no control of her body below the neck used her mind to control a bionic arm wired directly to her brain to feed herself and shake hands. Yes, bionic armies of doom are coming soon enough, but for now we have a beautiful example of someone reclaiming a piece of their life.

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