50 Emerging and Disruptive Technologies

Recently analyst firm Frost & Sullivan celebrated its 50th anniversary (happy anniversary!) by releasing a list of the 50 emerging technologies most likely to make a meaningful impact on the world. The firm boldly predicts that their list of technologies will change industries, research agendas and even how we live.

Bold stuff for a list of 50, but after eyeballing the list (and having to look up a few terms) it does seem to be solid. I am most excited about:

  • Wearable sensors (Star Trek is here!),
  • Personalized medicine therapeutics (I’m over 40),
  • Nanoviricides (Had to look it up, again 40+), and
  • Carbon-fixing technologies (Do I need to say why?).


Now let’s take a look at the other side of the coin. I am most worried about the following:
  • Wearable sensors (Think about it),
  • Artificial photosynthesis (Not sure why but seems like something we should not mess with, i.e. Jurassic Park but with plants),
  • Energy harvesting (Can you say Matrix? I saw what Keanu Reeves when through), and
  • Inductive wireless power transfer (I would worry about walking to a wireless “third rail” and getting an unexpected and unwanted jolt of energy).


Seriously, from the list below what excites or worries you…and what did the smart folks at Frost & Sullivan miss?

1. Accelerated carbonation technology

2. Biomass-to-renewable oil conversion technology

3. Microchannel process technology

4. Carbide-derived carbon (CDC) technology

5. Breathable antibacterial coatings, products

6. Plastic conversion to oil by gasolysis

7. Algal-based platform for production of a wide variety of chemicals

8. Destagnation and destratification of water

9. Non-woven coating spray-on technology

10. Artificial photosynthesis

11. BPA-free epoxy lining of plastic bottles

12. Hydrogen storage technology

13. Production of liquid biofuel from industrial waste gases containing carbon monoxide

14. Mini-chromosome gene stacking technology

15. Nanoparticles for use as anti-viral agents or “nanoviricides”

16. Substitute pancreas for diabetics using stem cells

17. Wireless sensors and ubiquitous sensors

18. Energy harvesting

19. Wearable sensors

20. Fiber optic sensor for security

21. Structural health monitoring sensors

22. Intelligent robots

23. Flexible electronics

24. 3D integration

25. Smart grid networks

26. Mobile projection systems

27. Advanced storage technologies (MRAM/PCM)

28. Hyperspectral imaging

29. Haptics and touch technology

30. Energy-efficient lighting technologies

31. EUV for higher transistor density

32. Energy-efficient variable frequency drives (VFD)

33. Reconfigurable manufacturing systems

34. Micro and nano manufacturing technologies

35. Machine vision systems

36. Charging infrastructure for electric vehicles

37. Inductive wireless power transfer

38. 3D cell culture systems

39. Personalized medicine therapeutics

40. Dendritic cell therapy

41. Vaccines for infectious disease and cancer

42. High-throughput sequencing technology

43. The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solution

44. Quantum computing

45. Energy management and carbon accounting systems

46. Fuel cell technology

47. Sea water desalination technologies

48. Green building technologies

49. Carbon-fixing technologies

50. Medical imaging technology

By Mike Neumeier, APR – April 19, 2012

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