Can you imagine life without the Internet?
There are equally revolutionary technologies that are emerging today. When we look back 20 years from now, what things will be impossible to imagine living without?
Here are a few technologies to follow as our advancement continues to accelerate:
This wonder material of the 21st century is revolutionizing life as we know it, transforming power generation, and changing the way we develop electronics. It can even distill alcohol. No wonder governments, scientists and investors alike are rushing to find as much supply as they can.
Two hundred times stronger than steel and light as a feather; tougher than a diamond, but stretches like rubber; able to conduct electricity and heat better than a copper wire, graphene -- the very ingredients in the substance of your No. 2 pencil is changing the world.
Need an artery replaced for surgery? New cartilage for your knee? Or even a new jaw? Just hit print.
Doctors in the Netherlands did, printing a lower jaw for an 83-year woman. And its success only makes this trillion-dollar technology even more appealing for both doctors and patients around the world. And if that weren't enough, the technology could be used to print out skin, ears, bones and organs.
We already know 3D printing is primarily used with industrial design, aerospace and engineering, but its revolutionary applications are changing the medical space, as we know it, too. In fact, one company - Organovo - is preparing to print out a human liver for the laboratory setting this year, potentially saving drug makers and perhaps consumers millions.
We're excited about 3D printing for the same reasons every one else is. It'll cut down on time and cost, and allow for greater innovation.
LED (light emitting diodes)
It was December 2007 when President Bush inked an 822-page energy measure that included a future ban on 100-watt incandescent bulbs in 2012. That made way for bulbs that use 25 percent to 30 percent less energy, lopped an estimated $18 billion off annual U.S. electric bills, and cut consumer electricity usage by 60 percent.
Before long, it will likely replace all sources of lighting.
Solar windows can power entire buildings. New Energy Technologies Inc., the developer of a revolutionary see-through SolarWindow technology that generates electricity on glass and flexible plastics - converting both natural and artificial light into energy to power building - is working with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The federal government estimates the United States can save $40 billion annually by reducing energy use in commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020. Under development for eventual deployment in the nation's estimated 85 million commercial buildings and detached homes, the Solar Window will change everything.
Maxwell Technologies' ultracapacitors are leading the "charge" in energy storage and delivery devices that offer "up to a million times the capacitance of traditional capacitors," says the company. "They deliver rapid, reliable bursts of power for hundreds of thousands of duty cycles - even in the most extreme conditions."
They serve as temporary energy storage units that can charge just about everything - like electric vehicles and power supplies.
Meet one of its biggest fans: Elon Musk, CEO of the disruptive Tesla.
In 2011, Musk knew the future of transportation would greatly change, betting that capacitors - not batteries - would deliver a major breakthrough for transportation. "If I were to make a prediction, I'd think there's a good chance that it is not batteries," said the CEO, as quoted by Gigaom. He knows the days of batteries are greatly numbered.
Analysts from Piper Jaffray agree, believing a Maxwell-Tesla partnership is possible. "We do believe the strength is justified," according to Piper analyst Alexander Potter in a new research note today, as reported by NASDAQ. "Elon Musk's affinity for ultra-capacitors could result in a partnership between the companies."
Twenty years from now, we'll say, "How did we ever live without it? If you liked this list - and have more to add - please let me know by sharing this article and your comments below.
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