Reviewing my predictions on the future and recent Gartner predictions

Here is another update to my March 2006 technology predictions.

Prediction: Real-time biomarker tracking and monitoring 2008-2012

Progress: Cheap less than $100 USB gene tester

Old mockup of the cheap gene tester. The device is now much smaller than size of a shoe-box (USB stick size) with the optics and supporting electronics filling the space around the microchip.

Prediction: Real-time personalized disease treatment 2008-2012

Progress: The above gene tester can be used to test within minutes for adverse drug reactions which are a major problem in health care. By running a quick genetic test on a cancer patient, for example, doctors might pinpoint the type of cancer and determine the best drug and correct dosage for the individual.

Prediction: 80-200mpg cars – mainstream, batteries, ultracapacitors 5-10 times better 2008-2012

Australian ultraBattery has a life cycle that is at least four times longer and produces 50 per cent more power than conventional battery systems. It’s also about 70 per cent cheaper than the batteries currently used in HEVs

EEStor ultracapacitor expected for mid-2008 and will be used in Zenn Motors electric and hybrid cars

AFS Trinity has what it calls Extreme Hybrid (XH) technology which employs a proprietary dual energy storage system that combines Lithium-Ion batteries and ultra capacitors with control electronics. They showed their 150 mpg hybrid SUV at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Prediction: Customized cells 2010-2014

Progress: Synthetic life- custom cell with completely synthesized DNA likely in 2008.
A 582,970 base pair sequence of DNA has been synthesized.

Prediction: Gecko mimicing wallcrawling suits for military and enthusiasts 2008-2012

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed an adhesive that is the first to master the easy attach and easy release of the reptile’s padded feet. The material could prove useful for a range of products, from climbing equipment to medical devices.

Prediction: Wireless superbroadband (50-1000Mbps) 2009-2012

List of deployed wimax networkks

Whitespace modems continue to be tested and could provide 50-100Mbps or faster speed

More on whitespace modems

Prediction: Fiber to the home (100Mbps-1000Mbps) 2010-2015

Progress: Various groups in the USA are pushing for national broadband policy to be passed in 2008 to encourage 100Mbps or faster connections Japan has 93.7 Mbps average download speeds in October 2007.

Fiber to the premises deployment history by country at wikipedia

Prediction: Advanced plastic circuits, computing, monitors and energy gathering-walls, roofs, desktops 2009-2012

Progress: Printable electronics catching up to speed of CMOS electronics. Several of the technologies are suitable for printing electronic displays in a method similar in speed and cost to how newspapers are made now. (reel to reel printing of large areas)

Prediction: One billion digital video cameras posting online realtime; personal privacy is history 2008-2012

Progress: Over 1.24 billion cellphones will be shipped in 2008. Over 1 billion of those will be camera phones. As of Q2 2007, there are over 131 million UMTS users (and hence potential videophone users), on 134 networks in 59 countries. Camcorder sales are 4.5 million to 5.8 million per year in the United States Camcorders, are under 100 million total shipped as of 2007 The key to this prediction is if most new cellphones shift over to videophones. As over one billion cellphones will ship in 2009.

Prediction: 10 petaflop computer 2012-2013

The Blue Gene/P machine at Argonne is supposed to reach one petaflop — 1 quadrillion sustained operations per second — in 2008. It should have a peak speed of three petaflops by the end of 2008.

Turek said IBM’s goal was 10 petaflops by 2011 and 20 petaflops by 2017. The Japanese have announced their intent to reach 10 petaflops by 2012.

The Sun Constellation compute speed is estimated at 1.7 petaflops, and it will store up to 10 petabytes of data.

Fujitsu expects to build a supercomputer that can perform 3 quadrillion calculations per second, or petaflops, in 2011

Prediction: Optical interconnects connect CPUs directly at 100 Gbps+ 2012-2018

Progress: IBM reveals core-to-core optical dream in progress.

IBM researchers have created a modulator that’s one hundred to a thousand times smaller than other prior modulators and is theoretically capable of using light pulses to transmit data between cores, rather than relying on traditional wires. Chip-level optical routing would allow cores to communicate much faster than even the best wired connection (IBM estimates its nanophotonic technology would be 100 times faster) and would almost certainly eliminate any bandwidth-related bottlenecks within a single core.

Prediction: DNA nanotechnology creates nanotools and parts 2010-2015

Progress: Synthetic biology is making DNA for mechanical and electronic purposes DNA to assemble millions of three dimensional nanoparticles, and all molecular programmable DNA construction.

Progress: Two artificial DNA “letters” that are accurately and efficiently replicated by a natural enzyme have been created by US researchers. Adding the two artificial building blocks to the four that naturally comprise DNA could allow wildly different kinds of genetic engineering, they say. This combines with the previous articles about using DNA to assemble millions of three dimensional nanoparticles, being able to synthesize strings of DNA over 500,000 base pairs long and all molecular programmable DNA construction.

Prediction: Protein engineering creates artificial ribosome 2014-2022

Progress: A 582,970 base pair sequence of DNA has been synthesized. This is twenty times longer than the previous record DNA synthesis of one strand. A ribosome has 2.3 million base pairs.

Prediction: High resolution direct visual feeds to retina, able to fool viewer for short periods of time 2012-2020

Displays on contact lens and on glasses that project into the eye.

Prediction: Superconducting engines on ships and planes, less than 1/3 the weight

Progress: All-Electric Ship Could Begin to Take Shape By 2012

March 29, 2007:
American Superconductor Corporation, a leading energy technologies company, and its strategic partner, Northrop Grumman, announced today the successful completion of factory acceptance testing for the world’s first 36.5 megawatt (49,000 horsepower) high temperature superconductor (HTS) ship propulsion motor at Northrop Grumman’s facility at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center.

Comparison of superconducting engine to regular engine

Prediction: Magnetic rail guns, with over 20 times the speed and power of
conventional guns 2013-2018

Progress: Railgun on track for 2012 deployment trials on US warships. The railgun program’s goal is to demonstrate a full capability, integrated railgun prototype by 2016-2018. a 10.6 Megajoule shot reached a speed of 5,673 mph.

Prediction: Military lasers on fighters, ships and tanks able to destroy other
vehicles 2012-2018

100kw solid state lasers being assembled in 2007

Prediction: Breakthrough in handling or reducing long term waste from nuclear
fission – makes nuclear fission “clean” 2010+

The Molten Salt Reactor can generate 1000 times less uranium and plutonium waste and everything else that is left over has a halflife of less than 50 years.

Fissile fuel burnup of at least 50% should be achievable with adequate design of the Hyperion Power Generation uranium hydride reactor. 50 times less nuclear waste would be left over. This reactor could be ready 2012 and appears to be funded.

Prediction: Develop useful power generation from forms of nuclear fusion 2020+

Progress: Bussard’s inertial electrostatic confinement fusion WB-7 prototype activated 2008. EMC2 Fusion has built an upgraded model of Bussard’s last experimental plasma containment device, which was known as WB-6. This work is very important because we could have commercial fusion in as little as 5 years if the work is successful.

Prediction: Develop useful space propulsion from nuclear fusion 2015+

Progress: If the Bussard inertial electrostatic confinement fusion is successful, then it would make it 40 to 1000 times cheaper to get into space.

Prediction: Cellular life found on Mars 2010

New Analysis of Viking Mission Results Indicates Presence of Life on Mars. Phoenix mission in May 2008, could help to resolve some of these issues.

The Phoenix mission will land a telerobot in the polar region of Mars in May 2008. One of the mission’s two primary objectives is to look for a ‘habitable zone’ in the martian regolith where microbial life could exist, the other mission being to study the geological history of water on Mars. The lander will have a 2.5 meter robotic arm that is capable of digging a 0.5 meter trench in the regolith. The arm is fitted with an arm camera that will be able to verify that there is material in the scoop when returning samples to the lander for analysis – this overcomes an important design flaw in the Viking landers.

Gartner Predictions [not my predictions, but a couple overlap with what I believe]:
Gartner, Inc. has highlighted 10 key predictions of events and developments that will affect IT and business in 2008 and beyond. Here I list a few that I found interesting and in general agree with.

Through 2011, the number of 3-D printers in homes and businesses will grow 100-fold over 2006 levels. Printers priced less than $10,000 have been announced for 2008, opening up the personal and hobbyist markets.

I have been following the rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing industry for several years. I have noted the falling prices, increasing capabilty and increasing popularity of the various 3D printers back in October 2007

The Desktop Factory 3D printer $4995 will be available in 2008. Their goal by 2011 is to have their 3D printer below $1000.
1. sales of hundreds of units in 2008 to a plan of 3500 in 2009.
2. In 2010, a price point of roughly $2,000 and somewhere between 20,000 – 30,000 units.
3. In 2011, with a price below $1000 and enter the consumer space. They believe they will sell over a 100,000 units a year

By 2011, Apple will double its U.S. and Western Europe unit market share in Computers. Apple’s gains in computer market share reflect as much on the failures of the rest of the industry as on Apple’s success.

I had covered the likely increase in Apple’s market share January 2008

By 2012, 80 per cent of all commercial software will include elements of open-source technology

By 2011, early technology adopters will forgo capital expenditures and instead purchase 40 per cent of their IT infrastructure as a service.

By 2010, 75 per cent of organisations will use full life cycle energy and CO2 footprint as mandatory PC hardware buying criteria.

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