Top 10 Technological Discoveries in 2017 Part 1
Read the #top 10 #technological #discoveries and you will definitely have your jaw-dropped of how far we have come globally. Remember, there was a stone age once. Oh, my God. Read on!
1. Self-Driving Trucks
There will soon be human-less trucks on the highway soon. Inside the cab is a custom-built, liquid-cooled, breadbox-size micro-supercomputer that, Berdinis claims, provides the most computing muscle ever crammed into so small a package. It is needed to crunch the vast stream of sensor data and shepherd it through the guidance algorithms that adjust braking and steering commands to compensate for the truck’s load weight. Rounding out the hardware lineup is a drive-by-wire box to turn the computer’s output into physical truck-control signals. It does this through electromechanical actuators mounted to the truck’s mechanical steering, throttling, and braking systems. Two big red buttons in the cab—Otto calls them the Big Red Buttons—can cut off all self-driving activity.
Availability: 10 years
2. Playing with your face
Face++, a Chinese startup valued at roughly a billion dollars provides automatic access to the buildings. It can also be used to monitor my movements through each room inside. Touring the offices of #Face++ (pronounced “face plus plus”), located in a suburb of Beijing, a person’s face appears on several more screens, automatically captured from countless angles by the company’s software. On one screen a video shows the software tracking 83 different points on the face simultaneously. It’s a little creepy but undeniably impressive. Jie Tang, an associate professor at Tsinghua University who advised the founders of Face++ as students, says the convenience of the technology is what appeals most to people in China.
3. Reversing Paralysis
Scientists are making incredible progress at using brain implants for the freedom of movement that spinal cord injuries take away. Lab animals and a few people have controlled actual computer cursors or robotic arms with their thoughts in the recent years only because of brain implant wired to machines. Now’s the next step forward:
Reversing paralysis once and for all. Now we can wirelessly connect the brain-reading technology directly to electrical stimulators on the body, creating what Courtine calls a “neural bypass” so that people’s thoughts can again move their limbs. As complex as they are, and as slow as progress has been, neural bypasses are worth pursuing because patients desire them, Donoghue says. “Ask someone if they would like to move their own arm,” he says. “People would prefer to be restored to their everyday self. They want to be reanimated.”
Availability: 10 to 14 years
4. Practical Quantum Computers
What Is a Quantum Computer?
At the heart of quantum computing is the quantum bit, or qubit, a basic unit of information analogous to the 0s and 1s represented by transistors in your computer. Qubits have much more power than classical bits because of two unique properties: they can represent both 1 and 0 at the same time, and they can affect other qubits via a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement. That lets quantum computers take shortcuts to the right answers in certain types of calculations.
A Dutch research institute is responsible for some of the world’s most advanced work on quantum computing. At Delft University of Technology, space is devoid of people. Buzzing with resonant waves, it is cluttered by tangles of insulated tubes, wires, and control hardware erupting from big blue cylinders on three and four legs, as if occupied by a swarm of electric katydids.
Every year quantum computing comes up as a candidate for this Breakthrough Technologies list, and every year we reach the same conclusion: not yet. Indeed, for years qubits and quantum computers existed mainly on paper, or in fragile experiments to determine their feasibility. Now, a raft of previously theoretical designs are actually being built. Also new this year is the increased availability of corporate funding—from Google, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft, among others—for both research and the development of assorted technologies needed to actually build a working machine: microelectronics, complex circuits, and control software.
Until now, researchers have built fully programmable five-qubit computers and more fragile 10- to 20-qubit test systems. Neither kind of machine is capable of much. But the head of Google’s quantum computing effort, Harmut Neven, says his team is on target to build a 49-qubit system by as soon as a year from now. The target of around 50 qubits isn’t an arbitrary one. It’s a threshold, known as quantum supremacy, beyond which no classical supercomputer would be capable of handling the exponential growth in memory and communications bandwidth needed to simulate its quantum counterpart. In other words, the top supercomputer systems can currently do all the same things that five- to 20-qubit quantum computers can, but at around 50 qubits this becomes physically impossible.
Availability: 4-5 years
5. The 360 Degree Selfie
Opening a new era in photography and changing the way people share stories, inexpensive cameras that can make us see spherical images are now possible. Visitors can do more than just watch the feed; they can use their mouse cursor (on a computer) or finger (on a Smartphone or tablet) to pan around the image in a circle or scroll up to view the forest canopy and down to see the ground. If they look at the image through a virtual-reality headset they can rotate the photo by moving their head, intensifying the illusion that they are in the woods. Hufkens says the project will allow him to document how climate change is affecting leaf development in New England. The total cost? About $550, including $350 for the Ricoh Theta S camera that takes the photos. Because creating 360° content requires stitching together multiple images, doing it on the fly for live streaming represents an impressive technical achievement. Computer-vision algorithms have simplified the process so that it can be done on the camera itself, which in turn allows people to live-stream video with minimal delays. When you see 360°imagery that truly transports you somewhere else, you want it more and more.