Seven Emerging Technologies You Should Know About

 
 
By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 07-31-2014 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Cognitive Computing Aids Decision-Making
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    Cognitive Computing Aids Decision-Making

    Cognitive computing systems learn and interact with people to enhance what they and machines do independently. They improve human experts' ability to make better decisions with the help of big data.
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    Too Little Data, Not Too Much
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    Too Little Data, Not Too Much

    Contrary to what many people think, we have too little data, not too much, according to the report. "More data gives us better context to understand what's important," notes the report, which says that data-centric systems are needed to process and make sense of massive amounts of data. In the future, for example, IBM's Watson computer may bring computation to data instead of bringing data to the computation engine.
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    Miniaturization of Machines and Interfaces
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    Miniaturization of Machines and Interfaces

    Unlike IT, multi-, micro- and nano-scale devices will not be shrunken versions of previous ones, so the challenges to building them and their interfaces are different and will create opportunities for small companies. Graphene researchers, for example, are creating flexible electronics that can be inserted into the brain or painted on skin.
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    Data to Improve Manufacturing Efficiency
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    Data to Improve Manufacturing Efficiency

    Thousands of sensors in factories will measure temperature, humidity, air pressure and other relevant factors. Machine's operational data, for instance, will alert workers so that they can prevent machine malfunctions and adjust work processes.
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    Additive Manufacturing With 3D printers
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    Additive Manufacturing With 3D printers

    Additive manufacturing is making complex products more affordable. Examples include parts for jet engines, hearing aids and dental implants. But parts must be designed differently and "brilliant" factories must be built, offering challenges to engineers trained in subtractive manufacturing.
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    Robots Working Alongside Humans
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    Robots Working Alongside Humans

    Baxter, the robot made by Rethink Robotics, works safely next to humans in factories. Its arms have seven joints, each hand has a camera and accelerometer, and the robot interfaces with a factory equipment's programmable logic controls. "Workers like the robot because it takes over the unappealing jobs," says inventor Rodney Brooks.
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    Open Source Robots
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    Open Source Robots

    Loosely defined tasks require highly complex software too challenging for one lab or company to develop alone. The Open Source Robotics Foundation is developing a Robot Operating System to facilitate collaborative authoring of robotics software with flexible middleware and a library of common robotics tasks.
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    Biotech: Genes Affecting Life Span
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    Biotech: Genes Affecting Life Span

    Biotechnology researchers have discovered a gene called DAF-2 that codes for a hormone receptor that controls aging in worms. The gene resembles human hormone receptors for insulin and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) and may control the rate of aging.
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    Indoor GPS Helps Consumers
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    Indoor GPS Helps Consumers

    People spend 80% of their time indoors, but GPS can't penetrate most buildings. Electronic mapmaker Micello builds indoor maps of shopping malls, stores, hospitals, garages, business campuses, movie theaters and more, enabling customers to reserve seats at AMC movie theaters or quickly find new deals at Wal-Mart.
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    Introducing Location-Based Services
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    Introducing Location-Based Services

    This fall, consumer electronics firm CSR will unveil a location platform for handsets that will report a location to within a few meters. Likewise, an app could enable asthma sufferers to pinpoint locations where they've had to use their inhalers.
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    More Years for Moore's Law
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    More Years for Moore's Law

    With materials and new micro- and nano-scale structures, Moore's Law may applicable for 20 to 30 more years. For instance, the first carbon nanotube computer was demonstrated in 2013 and is expected to transform the industry. And researchers have made progress in harnessing Germanium, an element that resembles silicon, and are overcoming its stumbling block, which is light emission.
 

Last fall, the CTO Forum gathered leading scientists and technologists for a two-day conference on disruptive technologies that have the potential to transform business and society. Keynote speakers and panelists from industry and academia discussed the state-of-the-art and what the future holds for cognitive computing, materials science, manufacturing, biotechnology, robotics, indoor location-based services and semiconductors. But there was not always consensus, especially when it comes to computer chips and Moore's law. "For the last 50 years we have adhered to the von Neumann architecture," says Kerrie Holley, an IBM Fellow. "We believe this model has come to its natural end of life. So has Moore's law. We need data-centric systems to process and make sense of massive amounts of data." However, Arista Networks' Chairman and Chief Development Officer Andy Bechtolsheim believes conductor breakthroughs will enable engineers to exploit Moore's Law for up to another 30 years. For the free, 174-page e-book, "Rethink Disruption: Emerging Technologies Transforming Business and Society," click here

 
 
 
 
 
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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