Davos lists top 10 emerging technologies

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Feb 27, 2014 - 21:31
  • Updated : Feb 27, 2014 - 21:55
A visitor tests a Sony Corp. wearable viewing device during a technology preview at the MobileFocus event ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday. (Bloomberg)

The World Economic Forum announced Wednesday a list of 10 new technologies that could reshape society.

The list identified by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies includes superlight vehicles, brain-computer interfaces and new cancer treatments using microbes.

“These breakthroughs show the boundless potential for technology to have a positive impact on society, from finding cleaner energy to new cures for disease,” said Noubar Afeyan, chair of the Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies.

With global IT giants such as Google, Samsung and Apple already looking to cash in on health monitoring devices, the WEF said the recent wearable trend would shift to “body-adopted” electronics.

Tech experts think that the success factor for wearable products will be “device size, non-invasiveness, and the ability to measure multiple parameters and provide real-time feedback that improves user behavior,” according to the report.

The WEF selected brain-computer interfaces, which enable users to control a computer just by thinking, as one promising technology.

Recent research has shown the possibility of connecting different brains together by using bran-computer interfaces and implanting memories from a computer into the brain.

Thanks to smartphones, the quantified self movement is expected to continue to grow. The massive data recorded in mobile devices like a contact list, GPS and geotagged photos will be transformed into detailed and predictive models about users’ behavior.

The WEF said there were signs of an impending breakthrough in storing electricity that would allow the saving of surplus energy from renewable sources such as sun and wind within the electricity grid.

Nanostructured carbon composites will allow car manufacturers to produce lighter and eco-friendly vehicles.

“New techniques to nanostructure carbon fibers for novel composites are showing the potential in vehicle manufacture to reduce the weight of cars by 10 percent or more and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the WEF report said.

Nanowire lithium-ion batteries, a next generation battery that can be charged more quickly and produce 30-40 percent more electricity than lithium-ion batteries, will help electric car and mobile phone market.

Advances in human microbiome technology are seen as an important new avenue of treatment for serious diseases as well as for improving health care outcomes.

RNA, or ribonucleic acid, helps translate instructions from DNA to make proteins in the body. Now scientists are working on a new generation of RNA-based drugs to treat cancer and other diseases.

Acquiring metals that are dissolved in water is another area attracting much research attention. New chemical processes will enable to harvest valuable materials, including lithium, magnesium and uranium, from waste effluent or seawater.

Screenless displays, which will project 3-D images into space with a more realistic appearance, are under development. According to the report, MIT’s Media Lab produced a prototype holographic color video display in 2013.

By Park Han-na and news report