September 8, 2009

Watch out for these 5 technologies


The ingenuity and perseverance of the human race never stop amazing me. We live in times of exponential evolution, which has been further accelerated by the interconnectedness brought about by the Internet. Hip and new technology is always interesting to look at, but few can be genuinely used to leverage a business or industry to benefit the public in a meaningful way – even more so for a 3rd world country like South Africa.

However, there are some technologies that I see making a rather large impact in the next 2 to 5 years, which are listed here.

  1. Wireless Electricity

    Recently researchers at MIT discovered a very clever way in which electricity can be sent wirelessly over short distances. A tech startup soon purchased the patent, leading to the formation of Witricity.

    With wireless electricity, we would never again need to manually charge our cellphones, laptops or other electronic devices. As soon as you enter the wireless charging zone, they would all charge automatically. Cables in the home and office will eventually be done away with, leading to more pleasing aesthetics, more space and less hassle.

  2. Nanotechnology

    Imagine a world where millions of microscopic robots are used for anything from killing HIV cells to cleaning the rust off of metal. This is indeed the future, and nanotech is soon about to become a multi-billion dollar industry. MIT is at the forefront of nanotech research, and has created some very neat discoveries recently, including the possible detection of cancerous cells in the human body.

    Although the world of tiny robots isn’t exactly here just yet, we are finding tremendous uses for nanotech research in Carbon nanotubes. These are carbon molecules that resemble a cylinder made out of chicken wire one to two nanometers in diameter. They were only discovered in 1990 but they promise to have applications in making more efficient and environmentally friendly batteries, building better, faster and cheaper electronics and creating cheaper solar panels for renewable energy – check it out. You can’t tell me that doesn’t amaze you!

  3. GPU Computing

    Many people don’t know of this, but GPU computing is silently taking the world by storm. What is it you may ask? Its the idea of taking advantage of the tremendous computing power in a PC’s graphics card and using it for massively parallel computation. In plain English, you can do some things up to 200x faster for the same cost if you utilize graphics cards instead of normal CPU processors. This will tremendously bring down the cost of heavy applications – such as weather prediction, searching for extraterrestrial life and, most importantly, using people’s computers and graphics cards to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s .

  4. Microsoft Surface

    Admittedly, this is more of an eye-candy concept at present – especially if you watch the video. However, advanced touch screen technology powered by a corporation that has the financing to make it a brilliant product surely has potential. We are already seeing helper touch screens in malls and airports – this is surely going to extend to touch screens which can recognize faces and gestures – and even load data off of your phone or laptop as shown in the video.

    The applications are really limited to one’s imagination, and can be used in almost any publicly accessible area where people would like more information or an easily accessible web service.

  5. Geosocial networking

    This one is really a no-brainer in this country. With Internet penetration rates in SA still below 12% and mobile penetration of almost 100%, services and applications for the mobile sector are already exploding.

    The use of geosocial networking – that is the concept of using your physical location in a social application – is still relatively new.Imagine a world where you know which of your friends are nearest to you, which shops / clubs / events are happening close to where you are, and even where you can locate the nearest hospital or police station, relative to where you are! Services like these would add huge value to the South African public and are just waiting to be fueled by like-minded businesses.

Well there you have it. If businesses harness and market these technologies effectively in the future, they can break open new markets in this country – stimulating the economy and enhancing our infrastructure and overall quality of life.

What do you think of the list? Which technologies do you think are going to become big in South Africa in the next few years? Post below and share your thoughts.

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5 Comments

  1. Chavonne September 9, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Reading this, it is so cool! My favourite is the wireless electricity!! That would be awesome!

  2. ceo September 9, 2009 at 10:18 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed it :) My personal favourite is Microsoft Surface, but they’re all very exciting technologies with huge potential!

  3. Vladimir September 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Im lovin the posts! this stuff are crazy! cant keep up with technology anymore! nice one prof!

  4. Chavonne September 17, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    O wow! To be honest I didn’t watch the video of Microsoft Surface till now. That’s incredible! Thanks for sharing. :)

  5. Selin February 29, 2016 at 9:26 am

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