Science American’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies Inventory 2019

Recently, according tomedia reports, the popular science journal “Scientific American” and the World Economic Forum organization of leading technical experts of the international steering group, selected the 2019 “Top 10 emerging technologies.”

1. Environment: Bioplastics can solve serious pollution problems

According to the World Economic Forum, 311 million metric tons of plastic waste were generated in 2014 alone, and are expected to triple by 2050. However, less than 15 per cent of the plastic is recycled and most of the rest are incinerated, buried or discarded in the environment.

Biodegradable plastics can reduce pollution and help achieve the goal of a “recycled” plastic economy. Biodegradable plastics are derived from biomass and converted into biomass, and the production of plastics from cellulose or lignin (dry substances in plants) is the latest research trend.

2. Engineering: Social robots live in harmony with others

Advances in artificial intelligence have enabled robots to recognize sounds, facial expressions, and emotions, interpret speech, gestures, make eye contact, respond appropriately to complex verbal and nonverbal cues, and learn to adapt to people’s needs through feedback, rewards, and criticism.

Social bots fill a variety of roles, offering services like hotel stays, airport help, shopping help, and fast food checkouts. It can also play a role in alleviating diseases, caring for patients, etc. By the end of 2025, the robot market is expected to grow to $19 billion, with more than 65 million robots sold each year.

3. Engineering: Meta lens makes micro-optics possible

Scientists have discovered the possibility of a “metalens”. A “metalens” consists of a flat surface with a low micron, covered with a series of nanoscale bumpobjects. “Metalens” is very thin, can be stacked together one by one, but the overall volume will not increase significantly.

Researchers have shown optical devices stacked with “metalenses”, such as spectrometers and polarizers. These lenses can further reduce the size of microscopes and other laboratory tools, as well as consumer products such as cameras, virtual reality headsets and optical sensors for the Internet of Things.

4. Engineering: Medical and biotechnology, special proteins are the hope of cancer and dementia drugs.

Decades ago, scientists discovered “disordered proteins” (IDPs), and when they don’t work, disease spawns. Disordered proteins (including c-Myc, p53, and k-ras) that cause cancer have proven to be incurable because most drugs target stable structures.

But that is changing. Protein inhibitors for the treatment of multiple myeloma and small cell lung cancer are emerging with new drugs such as small molecules that disrupt the Alzheimer’s tau protein. Perhaps in the next three to five years, “disordered proteins” will eventually become targeted for therapeutic drugs.

5.Environment: Smart fertilization can reduce environmental pollution

In order to feed the world’s growing population, farmers need to increase crop yields. Traditional fertilization is inefficient and environmentally damaging, and fertilizers have been developed that can “control release” and allow them to precisely change the rate of nutrient release as soil temperature, acidity or moisture change.

In addition to combining data analysis, artificial intelligence, and various sensor systems, you can deploy autonomous vehicles to deliver nutrients in a specified number and location, increasing crop yields and minimizing the release of excess nutrients.

6. Computing: “Collaborative Remote” makes distance meaningless

Video calling apps such as Skype and FaceTime, as well as large-scale multiplayer online games, have fundamentally changed the way people interact on the Internet, and “collaborative remote rendering” could change the way people interact virtually in business and other areas.

Telecommunications companies are rolling out 5G networks that use advanced sensors to handle massive amounts of data to avoid delays. Innovators are refining technology that allows people to interact remotely, including tactile sensors.

7. Public health: food tracking will save lives and reduce waste

According to WHO, about 600 million people are food poisoning each year, of whom 420,000 die. When the disease breaks out, investigators can spend days or weeks tracking its source. During this time, more people will be poisoned, and large amounts of uncontaminated food may be discarded along with contaminated food.

Blockchain technology is beginning to be used to solve food tracking problems. New food packaging also provides new ways to determine whether food is stored at the right temperature and whether they start to deteriorate. Small sensors being developed to monitor the quality and safety of pallets, boxes or individually packaged food.

8. Energy: Safer Nuclear Reactors Coming

Controlling carbon in the atmosphere requires a combination of energy technologies, including nuclear reactors, but the technology is considered to be more risky. Now the risk can be greatly reduced, and manufacturers are accelerating the development of “accident-resistant fuels” that are less likely to overheat and produce little or no hydrogen.

Manufacturers are developing “fourth generation” models that use liquid sodium or molten salt instead of water to transfer the heat generated by fission, eliminating the risk of hydrogen production. China has fully mastered the core technology in this new field on the laboratory scale, and the relevant industrial chain is basically formed, and is expected to be the first in the world to achieve commercial applications after 2030.

9. Medicine and Biotechnology: DNA Data Storage Is Closer Than You Think

By 2020, the world will generate 1.7 megabytes of data per second per second, that is, assuming a world population of 7.8 billion, about 418 billion terabytes of information will be generated a year. Current magnetic or optical data storage systems can only hold this amount for a century.

A new approach to storage in place of hard drives has made new progress: DNA-based data storage. DNA is the information storage material of life, consisting of long-chain nucleotides a, t, c, and g. Data can be stored in the order of these letters, transforming DNA into a new form of information technology.

10. Energy: Utility-scale energy storage makes renewable grids possible

Wind, solar and other non-hydro renewable energy sources will be the fastest growing part of the power mix over the next two years. But the intermittent nature of these sources of energy means that power companies need a way to store energy when the sun doesn’t shine and calm.

This demand has increased interest in lithium-ion batteries. The battery’s power costs have fallen by 76% since 2012, and lower prices have allowed it to compete with natural gas-powered power plants. The lithium-ion battery energy storage market is expected to quadruple by 2020.

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