Wow, it feels like the pulse and excitement from the 1800’s has come back! There is one announcement after another about new inventions, innovations and discoveries. It has become a challenge to keep up.
Before we look into the future, let’s first take a glance into the past. Envision just the last 100 years of US history!
In 1910 the average workday had twelve hours and six days a week. The average life expectancy was 53.1 years and more than 95% of births took place at home. Tuberculosis and syphilis were rampant. The average home had no central heat or air condition, only a few had a bathtub and some didn’t even have running water. There was no TV yet, music was mostly home made, only a few had a phonograph. Cars were just appearing, bicycles were very fashionable and mostly ridden by adults. Toys were very limited and largely made by hand.
Today, the average workday is eight hours five days a week. Life expectancy is 78.3 years, children are mostly born in hospitals and the top threatening diseases are now heart attack, stroke and cancer. The average household has central heating, air conditioning, two bathrooms with a bathtub and/or shower, a refrigerator, freezer, microwave, washer, dryer, TV, telephone, and computer. Cell phones, even for children are the norm. Toys are abundant, many of them being electronic. The average household has two cars, travelling by plane has become a normality.
Narrowed down to the last ten years, the comparison of Christmas gifts given each year points out very clearly the huge leap of technological advancement. The most bought Christmas gift in 2000 was a Razor Scooter, in 2010 it was the Apple iPad.
The Kiplinger Business Forecast (1/2011) and Mashable, a tech publication (1/2011), list the following innovative technologies that will change our future in 2011 and beyond:
1. Biometrics: To highten security, fingerprint, voice and face recognition systems will be integrated. Many laptops and smartphones already have embedded cameras.
2. Self-Driving and Folding Cars: The all-electric City Car of the future can change it’s size to fit in any parking spot.
3. Personal Barcodes: This is a new venue especially for retailers, restaurants and such to interact with their customers.
4. Genetically Modified Critters: The “Enviropig”, for example, which produces less polluting and ecologically harmful manure.
5. Farm-Raised Pharma: One example is a genetically altered pig to grow pancreas tissue for a less risky implantation in humans.
6. New Cancer Treatments: Highly sensitive tests which will in addition allow to decide on treatments.
7. New Drug Therapies: Personal genetic information will allow to find the most likely successful therapy.
8. Novel Solar Roofing Systems: Shingles with embedded solar chips as one example.
9. Flashing Pill Bottles: To reduce the higher health costs due to half of Americans not taking their prescription, product developers came up with a pill bottle cap that lights up when its time for a dose, followed by a beep, and as a last measure a phone call from the pharmacist.
10. Robots: For multiple tasks and even in human shape, able to talk and show manners.
11. Wireless Power: Special sleeves to recharge smartphones, cameras and MP3 players will become history.
12. Nintendo 3DS: A device that allows to create 3D graphics without glasses.
13. Android-Powered Phones and Tablets: All kinds of apps to upgrade phones and tablets.
14. Smart Shopping Carts: A GPS like system that flashes discounts and suggests purchases based on a customers shopping history.
It is going to be an exciting year! Many of these inventions and innovations will impact your and my live. Many of them will shape our life style, they will change the way we work and operate and even extend our life expectancy . And many of them will bring along a flood of new products and services.
Are you ready for these accelerated changes? And what inventions and innovations were you hoping to see in 2011?
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