MOST OF THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES THAT CAN VISIBLY CHANGE OUR LIFE DOESN’T ARISE OUT OF NOWHERE ON ANY SPECIFIC DAY OR YEAR. THIS IS THE FRUIT OF THE LONG WORK OF MANY PEOPLE. BUT THERE ARE MOMENTS WHEN WE CAN SAY: “ALREADY HERE!” WHICH OF THEM ARE WE WAITING FOR IN 2022?
The field of technology has its own “Moore’s Law”. The synergistic effect of scientific research at the junctions of classical fields of knowledge, as well as their instant information accessibility, cause the effect of “time compression”, when each next stage of research is faster than the previous one. About a hundred years have passed from Bell’s phone to a mobile phone, but only 20 years have passed from a mobile phone to an iPhone, and then progress has exploded so that it is already difficult to keep up with it. Therefore, it is impossible to guess what kind of breakthrough 2022 will please us, but it will be interesting to look at the plans of companies at the forefront of progress and extrapolate some trends.
1. HYDROGEN RISES IN THE AIR!
The so-called “energy transition” – the rejection of non-environmentally friendly technologies for generating energy through the combustion of hydrocarbons – is perhaps the most anticipated technological event in the world. Alas, it is quite obvious that it will not happen next year – the world power system is too large and clumsy to be turned 180 degrees at full speed. However, we may well see several local technological innovations that will bring this energy transition closer, finally, “in hardware”. One of them is the hydrogen engine for aviation.
Unlike cars, long-haul planes are too heavy and energy-intensive to fly on electricity. It is one thing when there are ten kilometers horizontally to the outlet, and it is another thing vertically. Therefore, hydrogen is becoming one of the “non-carbon” alternatives. It is quite capricious and unsafe, but when burned, it gives only clean water. In 2022, hydrogen aircraft are to be tested at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, Californian Zero Avia and Universal Hydrogen.
2. “YOUR TAXI WILL ARRIVE IN FIVE MINUTES!”
Unlike long-haul planes, small aircrafts for one or two passengers are quite capable of taking off even with today’s not very perfect batteries. Electric vertical take-off and landing (extoll) planes are considered the future of urban transport, replacing boring “horizontal” taxis with their eternal traffic jams. This is such a promising area that many companies are working on it at the same time.
Next year, not prototypes, but commercial models were promised by Job Aviation, Volocopter, Hang, Lilliam and Vertical Aerospace.
3. PRINTED – LET’S LIVE!
3D printing of houses is a promising technology that lacks only mass application. All the necessary technical solutions have existed for several years, but so far they remain at the level of startups due to the fact that the construction business is a very conservative industry. Nevertheless, the process continues, and each next 3D project is better than the last. If not in the next, then in the coming years, a major breakthrough of technology is expected to the market.
In 2022, at least two really large projects await us, no longer 3D-printed houses, but 3D-printed villages! This is the block in Rancho Mirage, California, which is being printed by Mighty Buildings (a company with Russian roots) and ICON’s 100-home neighborhood near Austin, Texas.
4. THE POWER OF THOUGHT IS REAL POWER!
Neural interfaces – the ability to control technology with the power of thought, without using controllers and manipulators, is one of the most complex, but also very promising technologies. Since scientists have a fairly approximate idea of how our brain works, it is not necessary to expect that we will completely switch to mental control of gadgets next year (Try to think “OK, Google” – maybe it already works?). But very promising groundwork has been created.
Next year, Elon Musk’s Neural ink promises to conduct neuro-control experiments on human volunteers for the first time. This year they have already tried it on monkeys, and something worked out. In addition to Musk, the ready-made neural interface will be shown at the New York Synchrony Inc, which worries less about monkeys and more about people with disabilities, for whom neurocentral would be very useful.
Maybe scientists in the process will at the same time understand how we think, and how to think better. Or at least more often.
5. VIRTUAL IS REALITY!
VR technologies have burst into our lives so rapidly that no one has yet realized how much it can change life. In addition to the global projects of the Metauniverses, which are being promoted by Meta, Nvidia, Microsoft and a number of other major IT giants, we are waiting for many smaller projects, but with a closer deadline.