Ten emerging technologies for 2013

20.02.2013 - 13:29

The World Economic Forum has identified the top 10 most promising technology trends that during this year might help to tackle new challenges in times when global population and material demands on the environment continue to grow rapidly.

Online electric vehicles, carbon dioxide (CO2) converted and available for humans, fourth-generation nuclear reactors or three-dimensional printing, are some of the ten technologies included on World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies.

OLEV (OnLine Electric Vehicles) is the name for the next generation of electric cars. These vehicles will be moved by wireless technology installed under the car floor and will have a battery which needs only a fifth of the capacity of a standard electric car.

Currently, 3D printers are being used by several scientists, architects or engineers, but during this year its creations will begin to be more solid and the “copies” will be available in plastic, metal and other materials.

However, one of those materials is not the self-healing, which in 2013 will be chosen by manufacturers in order to generate goods with longer lifetimes. Self-healing is a non-living structural material that has the capacity of heal itself when cut or broken.

New technologies and techniques will transform undrinkable water to be used in agriculture, cities and even for human uses. Besides, carbon dioxide will be converted into liquid fuels or chemicals, with low-cost, modular solar converter systems.

“Even in developed countries millions of people suffer from malnutrition due to nutrient deficiencies in their diets”, says the World Economic Forum. Modern techniques will identify the most proteins for humans and will produce them to deliver health benefits such as muscle development, managing diabetes or reducing obesity.

In addition, a big number of new sensors in the human body will be used for medical reasons, such as heart rate, blood oxygen and blood sugar levels. In some cases, these sensors may give a medical response, like insulin provision.

Also in the medical area, nanoparticles adhered to diseased tissue will allow micro-scale delivery of therapeutic compounds while minimizing their impact on healthy tissue.

Finally, according to the report, organic electronics, which is the use of organic materials such as polymers to create electronic circuits and devices, will reduce costs in contrast to traditional materials, like silicon. And, fourth-generation nuclear reactors will reduce the volume and long-term toxicity of wastes, as well as radioactivity.