Google Glass may have run aground, but we’ve compiled a list of ten scientific advancements that may be the technological talk of 2070. Spoiler alert: no hover-boards.
#1 Lie detection glasses.
The Silent Talker system, developed by scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University, predicts that by 2070 border control, police interviews and interpersonal relationships will be micro-gesture enhanced, leaving no leeway for those little white lies.
#2 ‘Bacilla-Filla’ Pavement Maintenance.
‘Bacilla-Filla’ references the Bacillus bugs that could one day fill cracks in concrete by crawling into the crevices before quietly expiring and generating calcium carbonate (an ingredient in cement) in the process. This is founded in Synthetic Biology – or ‘Synbio’ – an emerging field of research focused upon re-engineering already existing living systems.
#3 Growing Skyscrapers
Research in the field of Molecular Technology – small things building big things – is developing to the extent that one day, we could plant the seeds of a grow-your-own skyscraper. Not only would they grow but, according to Prof. Susan Stepney at The University of York, they would continue to evolve. Thus, the controlled molecular machines take on the role of construction worker and tenant, working from raw materials to modify the building throughout its lifetime.
#4 Human Snail Trails.
Imagine that wherever we went, we left a pheromone trail that was visible to others. Termites communicate with pheromones, and according to Prof. Seth Bullock of the University of Southampton, it may be possible for humans to use synthetic pheromones to do the same. We could also use these trails to teach our cities to respond to changing group behaviour (stigmagy); for example, free-form transport networks that re-route themselves to reflect our changing destination choices.
#5 Immersive, Empathic Computer Games.
As virtual reality simulations continue to develop, we may well be able to enter another level of gaming whereby players can (literally) see through the eyes of the characters. Micah Rosenkind, from the University of Brighton, says that virtual reality simulations can have a profound effect on a human’s empathic abilities, with the potential to tackle prejudice, and engender sociopolitical change.
The home of the future could be full of self-automated ‘robject’ devices. Stephen Dunne from Starlab, Barcelona, is interested in developing computer-brain interfaces (CBI) which would allow robjects to interact with their physical environment, each other and – through the use of wireless (terahertz) interface – with humans too.
#7 Bactogarden Haute Cuisine.
Prof. Martyn Amos suggests that prize-winning gastronomy could well be a new form of creativity associated with synthetic biological research. A bacteria garden could potentially supply a kitchen lab, serving up cuisine such as alphabet soup – where neon dots move around to spell words within the broth i.e Will you marry me? How romantic.
#8 Reading Minds.
According to German Terrazas of the University of Nottingham, new Neuroscience technologies are being developed where the capturing, decoding, transporting and interpretation of brain signals are used in order to communicate information between brains. Soon we’ll be doing Google searches on other people’s minds, sharing memories and telepathically contacting one another from across the globe.
Ever wondered what it would be like to be a robot? Prof. Alan Winfield, of the University of West England, states that if a camera were to be attached to the head on a robot, and a synced visual realities headset could be attached to the operating human – along with with high definition stereo and haptic gloves – then anyone could potentially enter the robotic world. They may not be able to go as far as thinking the same thoughts, but their sensory experience of the world would be transformed.
#10 Personal Fabricator Technology.
Replacing PCs, the personal fabricator will look like a technologically advanced 3D printer that has the ability to control both top-down fabrication (which is possible today) and bottom-up micro fabrication (which is currently a research area). According to Prof. Steen Rasmussen, of the University of Southern Denmark, given the appropriate raw materials the personal fabricator, in theory, should be able to create anything if properly encoded.
These predictions of the year 2070 are from Beta Life: Stories from an A-Life Future (published by Comma Press), in which 19 writers pair-up with scientists at the top of their field to write fictional stories set in 2070.
Images © Steve Moyler & Comma Press