List of emerging technologies

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Emerging technologies are those technical innovations which represent progressive developments within a field for competitive advantage.[1]


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Agricultural robot[2] Research and development, trial projects
Closed ecological systems[3][4][5] Research and development, working demonstrators (e.g. Biosphere 2) Agricultural science Agriculture, scientific research, space colonization Greenhouse, Biosphere 2, Eden Project, Bioshelter, Seawater greenhouse, Perpetual harvest greenhouse system
Cultured meat Research and development[6][7][8] Animal husbandry, fishing[8] Humane, resource-efficient, healthier and cheaper meat[8] New Harvest
Precision agriculture Research and development, diffusion
Vertical farming Research, development, experiments, and diffusion[9][10][11] Industrial agriculture Crop and meat production


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Micro air vehicle Mostly prototypes Covert indoor reconnaissance, "fly-on-the-wall" espionage, operation in confined human-inaccessible spaces Unmanned aerial vehicle, biomimetics
Neural-sensing headset (trans-cranial neural sensing and characterization) (by Honeywell).[12] Research and development Conventional headsets Assisting pilots Brain–computer interface, neuroprosthetics


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Claytronics Hypothetical, experiment 3D printing, traditional manufacturing methods and tools
Four-dimensional printing Research and Development 3D printing, traditional manufacturing and tools
Molecular assembler Hypothetical, experiment 3D printing, traditional manufacturing methods and tools Replicator (Star Trek), Von Neumann universal constructor
Utility fog Hypothetical, experiment


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Arcology Research, development, commercialization
Domed city In progress in Dubai[13] in the Mall of the World project that is being scaled down Weather-controlled city, colonization of other bodies

Materials science[edit]

Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Aerogel Hypothetical, experiments, diffusion, early uses[14] Traditional Insulation, Glass Improved insulation, insulative glass if it can be made clear, sleeves for oil pipelines, aerospace, high-heat & extreme cold applications
Amorphous metal Experiments Kevlar Armor
Bioplastic Some products developed Fossil fuel plastics
Conductive Polymers Research, experiments, prototypes Conductors Lighter and cheaper wires, antistatic materials, organic solar cells Jacquard weaving
Cryogenic Treatment Research, experiments, prototypes Metals, metal matrix composites, glassy metal hybrids and B4C Oil and gas Blowout preventers (BOP), jet engines, power turbines, locomotives, electric vehicles, gears and bearings
Fullerene Experiments, diffusion Synthetic diamond and carbon nanotubes (e.g. Buckypaper) Programmable matter
Graphene Hypothetical, experiments, diffusion, early uses[15][16] silicon-based integrated circuit Components with higher strength to weight ratios, transistors that operate at higher frequency, lower cost of display screens in mobile devices, storing hydrogen for fuel cell powered cars, sensors to diagnose diseases, more efficient batteries[17]
Lab-on-a-chip Some commercialization Analytic laboratories
High-temperature superconductivity Cryogenic receiver front-end (CRFE) RF and microwave filter systems for mobile phone base stations; prototypes in dry ice; Hypothetical and experiments for higher temperatures[18] Copper wire, semiconductor integral circuits No loss conductors, frictionless bearings, magnetic levitation, lossless high-capacity accumulators, electric cars, heat-free integral circuits and processors
Magnetorheological fluid developed and researched Shock absorber Magnetorheological damper heavy motor damping, operator seat/cab damping in construction vehicles, seismic dampers positioned in building absorbing detrimental shock waves and oscillations within the structure making them earthquake-proof, enhance body armour fluid bullet resistant, Humvees, and various other all-terrain vehicles employ dynamic MR shock absorbers/dampers. Magnetorheological finishing was used in the construction of the Hubble Space Telescope's corrective lens, shock absorbers of a vehicle's suspension are filled with magnetorheological fluid. Electrorheological fluid
High-temperature superfluidity Superfluid gyroscopes already exist but work at very low temperatures Mechanical gyroscope, flywheel High-precision measure of gravity, navigation and maneuver devices, possible devices to emit gravitomagnetic field, frictionless mechanical devices
LiTraCon Experiments, already used to make Europe Gate Glass Construction of skyscrapers, towers, and sculptures like Europe Gate
Metamaterials Hypothetical, experiments, diffusion[19] Classical optics Microscopes, cameras, metamaterial cloaking, cloaking devices
Metal foam Research, commercialization Hulls Space colonies, floating cities
Multi-function structures[20] Hypothetical, experiments, some prototypes, few commercial Composite materials mostly Wide range, e.g., self health monitoring, self healing material, morphing
Nanomaterials: carbon nanotubes Hypothetical, experiments, diffusion, early uses[21][22] Structural steel and aluminium Stronger, lighter materials, space elevator Potential applications of carbon nanotubes, carbon fiber
Programmable matter Hypothetical, experiments[23][24] Coatings, catalysts Wide range, e.g., claytronics, synthetic biology
Quantum dots Research, experiments, prototypes[25] LCD, LED Quantum dot laser, quantum dot display, future use as programmable matter in display technologies (TV, projection), optical data communications (high-speed data transmission), medicine (laser scalpel)
Silicene Hypothetical, research Field-effect transistors
Superalloy Research, diffusion Aluminum, titanium, composite materials Aircraft jet engines
Synthetic diamond Research Silicon transistors Electronics
Time crystals Research experiments[26] Current quantum computers Quantum computers with stable qubits
Hypereutectic alloy Research, commercialization Casting Metals Hypereutectic piston
Super-plastic alloy Research, commercialization Casting Metals Superplasticity


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
3D displays Research, commercialization[27][28] other display technologies, CRT, LCD Television, computer interfaces, cinemas Autostereoscopic display, stereoscopic display, volumetric display, Holographic display, Light Field display, Nintendo 3DS, HTC Evo 3D
Ferro Liquid Display Some commercial products
Field emission display Research
Holography (Holographic display, Computer-generated holography) Diffusion[29][30][31] Display technologies
Interferometric modulator display Development, commercializing[32] Other display technologies, CRT, LCD, plasma, e-paper Non-emissive displays with fast response times and potentially the most realistic colours of all display technologies Interferometric modulator display, comparison of display technology
Laser video displays first commercial Laser TV in 2008, Mitsubishi LaserVue TV LCD and plasma displays Displays with very wide colour gamut Laser TV, Comparison of display technology
OLED displays Diffusion, commercialization[33][34][35] LCD and plasma displays Displays, lighting OLED TV, Comparison of display technology
Phased-array optics Hypothetical[36][37] Conventional display devices (e.g., television) Mass production of 3-dimensional imagery
Screenless display (Virtual retinal display, Bionic contact lens, EyeTap, Google Glass) Hypothetical, experiments[38] Traditional displays Augmented reality, virtual reality, EyeTap could allow the user to reference the blue prints like in a construction yard, in a 3D manner, Delivers the user constant up to date information on the stock market, the user's corporation, and meeting statuses, visual disabilities Head-mounted display, Head-up display, adaptive optics
Telescopic pixel display In development
Time-multiplexed optical shutter Commercialized
Volumetric display Working prototypes 3-dimensional imagery Swept-volume display


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Biometrics Diffusion Keys and ID documents
Digital scent technology Diffusion Smell-O-Vision, iSmell
Electronic nose Research, commercialization[39][40] X-ray and MRI scans for detecting cancer Detecting spoiled food, chemical weapons and cancer
E-textiles Research, diffusion[41]
Flexible electronics Research, development, some prototypes[42][43] Flexible and folding electronic devices (such as smartphones), Flexible solar cells which are lightweight, can be rolled up for launch, and are easily deployable Nokia Morph, Flexible organic light-emitting diode
Memristor Working prototype[44][45] Some current integrated circuits, many other electronics devices Smaller, faster, lower power consuming storage, analogue electronics, programmable logic,[46] signal processing,[47] neural networks,[48] control systems,[49] reconfigurable computing,[50] brain-computer interfaces[51] and RFID,[52] pattern recognition[53]
Molecular electronics Research and Development
Nanoelectromechanical systems Research and Development
Spintronics Working prototypes[54] Mechanical magnetic hard disk drives Data storage, computing devices MRAM
Thermal copper pillar bump Working prototypes in discrete devices Conventional thermal systems, heat sinks, bulk thermoelectrics Electric circuit cooling; micro-fluidic actuators; small-device thermoelectric power generation Ultra high definition holographic disc, Metal–insulator transition
Three-dimensional integrated circuit In development, commercialised Integrated Circuits Memory and data processing


Technology Development Stage Replacing Aim Related articles
Airborne wind turbine Research[55][56][57] Fossil fuels Producing electricity KiteGen
Artificial photosynthesis Research, experiments[58] growing interest in a macroscience global project[59] Fossil fuel or 'archived' photosynthesis Improve natural photosynthesis, so roads buildings and vehicles convert sunlight and water into hydrogen and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates Sustainocene, Renewable energy, Nanotechnology
Concentrated solar power Growing markets in California, Spain, Northern Africa[60] Fossil fuels, photovoltaics Producing electricity DESERTEC, BrightSource Energy, Solar Millennium
Cryogenic Treatment Subsea and deep water oil and gas exploration; wind and fossil fuel electric power generation, nuclear power Metals, metal matrix composites, glassy metal hybrids and B4C Oil and gas Blowout preventers (BOP), jet engines, power turbines, locomotives, electric vehicles, gears and bearings Emerging Technologies Science Foundation
Electric double-layer capacitor Diffusion, continued development[61] Chemical batteries Regenerative braking; energy storage: generally faster charging, longer lasting, more flexible, greener
Energy harvesting Experiments Batteries Constant energy source for mobile, wearable and ubiquitous devices Humavox
Flywheel energy storage Some commercial examples
Fusion power Hypothetical, experiments Fossil fuels, renewable energy, nuclear fission power Producing electricity, heat, fusion torch recycling with waste heat ITER, NIF, Polywell, Dense plasma focus, Muon-catalyzed fusion, Wendelstein 7-X
Generation IV reactor Research, Experiments Traditional nuclear power reactors, fossil fuels Producing electricity, heat, transmutation of nuclear waste stockpiles from traditional reactors
Grid energy storage Increasing use
Home fuel cell Research, commercialisation[62][63][64] Electrical grid Off-the-grid, producing electricity Autonomous building, Bloom Energy Server
Lithium-air battery Research, experiments[65] Other energy storage methods: hydrogen, chemical batteries, some uses of fossil fuels Laptops, mobile phones, long-range electric cars; storing energy for electric grid
Lithium iron phosphate battery Commercialization
Lithium–sulfur battery Research and Development
Magnesium battery Early commercialization Lithium-ion battery
Molten salt reactor Research, Experiments Traditional nuclear power reactors, fossil fuels Producing electricity, heat
Nanowire battery Experiments, prototypes[66][67] Other energy storage methods: hydrogen, chemical batteries, some uses of fossil fuels Laptops, mobile phones, long-range electric cars; storing energy for electric grid
Nantenna Research[68][69][70] Fossil fuels Producing electricity
Ocean thermal energy conversion Prototype
Smart grid Research, diffusion[71][72][73] Smart meter, SuperSmart Grid
Space-based solar power Hypothetical
Thorium fuel cycle Research started in the 1960s, still ongoing Uranium based nuclear power, fossil fuels Producing electricity, heat
Vortex engine Chimney, Cooling tower, Solar updraft tower Power generation.
Wireless energy transfer Prototypes, diffusion, short range consumer products[74] Power cords, plugs, batteries Wirelessly powered equipment: laptop, cell phones, electric cars, etc. WiTricity, resonant inductive coupling
Zero-energy building Expansion Electrical grid and power plants All homes Passive house


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Computer-generated imagery Developing Photomodels, all film-related jobs (including public service announcements, music videos, viral videos, commercials and pornography), except for directors, screenwriters and graphic designers[75] Films, photos
Immersive virtual reality Hypothetical, limited commercialization Consensus reality An artificial environment where the user feels just as immersed as they usually feel in consensus reality. Virtusphere, 3rd Space Vest, haptic suit, immersive technology, simulated reality, holodeck (fictional)
Ultra-high-definition television Commercialized High-definition television

IT and communications[edit]

Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
5G cellular communications Research and development
Ambient intelligence Hypothetical
Artificial brain Research[76] Treatment of neurological disease, artificial intelligence Blue Brain Project, Human Brain Project
Artificial general intelligence Hypothetical, experiments; limited uses in specialized domains[77][78][79] Human decision, analysis, etc. Creating intelligent devices and robots; AI can counsel (or even take charge) in scientific projects, government, army, corporate governance, film and books creation, inventions etc. Progress in artificial intelligence, technological singularity, applications of artificial intelligence
Atomtronics Hypothetical
Augmented reality Diffusion Google Glass, Windows Mixed Reality, Mixed reality, Smartglasses
Blockchain or distributed ledger technology[80] Diffusion Professional intermediaries Eliminating or lowering transaction costs; distributed, open and transparent record keeping; non-hierarchical networked systems; cryptography[81] Bitcoin, Digital currency, Cryptocurrency, e-democracy
Carbon nanotube field-effect transistor Research and development Silicon-based transistors Extending moore's law
Civic technology Research and development, projects Smart cities, more responsive government Civic technology, Smart city, e-democracy, open data, intelligent environment
Counterparty (technology) Diffusion Bookmaker, stock exchange, central banking Decentralized financial instruments,[82] betting, free market Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Digital currency
Cryptocurrency Diffusion Central banking Money supply, World reserve currency Bitcoin, Digital currency
DNA digital data storage Experiments Mass data storage
Exascale computing Projects
Gesture recognition Diffusion Mouse, keyboard, touchscreen
Internet of Things Diffusion
Emerging memory technologies In development Current memory technologies T-RAM, memristor, Z-RAM, TTRAM, CBRAM, SONOS, RRAM, Racetrack memory, NRAM, Phase-change memory, FJG RAM, Millipede memory, Skyrmion, Programmable metallization cell, 3D XPoint, Ferroelectric RAM, Magnetoresistive random-access memory, nvSRAM
Emerging magnetic data storage technologies In development (HAMR, BPM); diffusion (SMR) Greatly improved storage density compared to current HDDs, can be combined SMR, HAMR, BPM, MAMR, TDMR, CPP/GMR, PMR, Hard disk drive
Fourth-generation optical discs (3D optical data storage, Holographic data storage) Research, prototyping[83] Some mass storage methods/devices, magnetic tape data storage, optical data storage Storing and archiving data previously erased for economic reasons Blu-ray Disc, Optical storage
General-purpose computing on graphics processing units Diffusion of non standardized methods CPU for a few specialized uses Order of magnitude faster processing of parallelizable algorithms
Exocortex Diffusion of primitive amplifications; working prototypes of more; Hypothetical, experiments on more substantial amplification Libraries, schools, training, pocket calculators
Li-Fi Demos, requires standardization Wi-Fi network
Machine translation Diffusion[84][85] Human translation of natural languages, in areas where misunderstanding is non-critical and language is formalized Easier and cheaper cross-cultural communication
Machine vision Research, prototyping, commercialization[76] Biotic vision and perception, including humans Biometrics, controlling processes (e.g., in driverless car, automated guided vehicle), detecting events (e.g., in visual surveillance), interaction (e.g., in human-computer interaction), robot vision Computer vision, pattern recognition, digital image processing
Mobile collaboration and e-learning Development, commercialization[86] Transport of humans, traditional video-conferencing systems Extends the capabilities of video conferencing for use on hand-held mobile devices in real-time over secure networks. For use in diverse industries such as manufacturing, energy, healthcare.[87] Telework
Nanoradio Research & Development, diffusion Traditional radio transmitters & receivers
Optical computing Hypothetical, experiments; some components of integrated circuits have been developed[88] Many electronics devices, integrated circuits Smaller, faster, lower power consuming computing
Quantum computing Hypothetical, experiments,[89] commercialization[90] Atomtronics,
Electronic computing, optical computing, quantum clock
Much faster computing, for some kinds of problems, chemical modeling, new materials with programmed properties, Hypothetical of high-temperature superconductivity and superfluidity
Quantum cryptography Commercialization[91] Secure communications
Radio-frequency identification Diffusion of high cost[92][93][94] Barcode Smartstores - RFID based self checkout (keeping track of all incoming and outgoing products), food packaging, smart shelves, smart carts. See: potential uses
Semantic Web or answer machine Research, limited use Web 2.0 Making the web machine-readable by annotating data on the web based on its meaning Corporate Semantic Web, Semantic Web Services, Semantic Web Stack, Web 3.0
Smart speaker Commercialization Smartphones, computers Home automation, communication with people and machines Amazon Echo, Google Home, HomePod
Software-defined radio Development, commercialization Traditional, frequency-specific radio circuits, dedicated signal processing hardware Cognitive radio, Mesh networks, Software defined antenna GNU Radio, Universal Software Radio Peripheral
Speech recognition Research, Development, Commercialization Mechanical input devices
Subvocal recognition Research, Development, Commercialization
Virtual Reality Diffusion Entertainment, education Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Artificial uterus Hypothetical, research Incubator, in vivo pregnancy, including host motherhood space travel, extracorporeal pregnancy, Reprogenetics, same-sex procreation
Body implants, prosthesis Trials, from animal (e.g., brain implants) to human clinical (e.g., insulin pump implant), to commercial production (e.g. pacemaker, joint replacement, cochlear implant) Various fields of medicine, warfare Brain implant, retinal implant Prosthetics, prosthetics in fiction, cyborg
Cryonics Hypothetical, research, commercialization (e.g. Cryonics Institute) Cemeteries Life extension
De-extinction Research, development, trials Animal husbandry, pets, zoos Recreating the woolly mammoth species
Genetic engineering of organisms and viruses Research, development, commercialization[95][96] Other medical procedures (including aesthetic medicine and contraception), traditional warfare (genetically modified soldiers, ethnic bioweapon),[97] traditional animal husbandry and plant and fungus breeding, tattoo artism and fitness clubs and cosmetics and nutrition (because of new genes humans will be able to change on demand their look), gardening (because of new genes there will be no need to nurture plants), species-saving efforts (because of new genes they can adapt to new environments), traditional fuel production[98][99] Creating and modifying species (mainly improving their physical and mental capabilities), bio-machines, eliminating genetic disorders (gene therapy), new materials production,[100] healthier and cheaper food, creating drugs and vaccines, research in natural sciences, bioremediation,[101] detecting arsenic[102] Biopunk, Genetically modified food, superhuman, human enhancement, transhumanism, gene doping, designer baby, genetic pollution
Hibernation or suspended animation Research, development, animal trials[103] Surgical anaesthesia Organ transplantation, space travel, prolonged surgery, emergency care
Immunotherapy - immuno oncology Commercialized, Research and Development Conventional cancer therapy - chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery Oncology - cancer therapeutics (mono and combination cancer therapy) using targeted and innate immune responses. Checkpoint inhibitors (anti-pd-1, anti pd-L1, ctla-4), CAR-T, IDO inhibitors, Oncolytic Virus / Virotherapy (see below)
Life extension, Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence Research, experiments, animal testing[104][105][106] Existing treatments for age-related diseases[106] Increased life spans[106] Immortality, biological immortality
Nanomedicines Research, experiments, limited use[107][108]
Nanosensors Research and Development
Oncolytic Virus Human trials (Talimogene laherparepvec, reolysin, JX-594), commercialisation (H101) Cancer therapy, imaging Oncolytic virus
Personalized medicine, full genome sequencing Research, experiments[109] Non-personalized medical procedures, including aesthetic medicine Personalized medical procedures, genome sequencing during drug trials Personal genomics
Plantibody clinical trials
Regenerative medicine Some laboratory trials[110] Life extension
Robotic surgery Research, diffusion[111][112][113] Surgeons untrained in robotic surgery
Stem cell treatments Research, experiments, phase I human trial spinal cord injury treatment (GERON), cultured cornea transplants[114][115] Other therapies Treatment for a wide range of diseases and injuries Stem cell, stem cell treatments, Skin cell gun,
Synthetic biology, synthetic genomics Research, development, first synthetic bacteria created May 2010[116][117] Chemical industry, petroleum industry, process manufacturing Creating infinitely scalable production processes based on programmable species of bacteria and other life forms BioBrick, iGEM, synthetic genomics
Tissue engineering Research, diffusion[118][119][120][121] Organ printing, Tooth regeneration
Tricorder Research and Development Medical examinations Diagnosing medical conditions Medical tricorder
Virotherapy Research, human trials Gene therapy, cancer therapy Virotherapy, Oncolytic Virus
Vitrification or cryoprotectant Hypothetical, some experiments[122] Ischemic damages Organ transplantation, cryonics


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Brain-computer interface Research and commercialization Video games, television, movies and current communication devices and transport of humans. Faster communication and learning and "more real" entertainment (generation of feelings and informations in brain on demand). Control emotions in the mentally ill[123] Experience machine,Neuralink
Brain-reading, Neuroinformatics Research[124][125][126]
Electroencephalography Research, diffusion[127][128] Keyboards and other interfaces Controlling electronic devices via brain waves BrainGate
Head transplant Success in animal experiments, including 2-headed result; human surgery as early as 2017 Cryonics Treat debilitating disease or horrible disfigurement Brain transplant, hand transplantation, organ transplantation
Neuroprosthetics Visual prosthesis, brain implant, exocortex, retinal implant


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Caseless ammunition Field tests and some niche markets Cartridges Lightweight Small Arms Technologies
Cloaking device Successful experiments cloaking small objects under some conditions[129][130] Camouflage[130] Cloaking microscope tips at optical frequencies[130] Metamaterial cloaking
Directed energy weapon Research, development, some prototypes[131] Firearms Warfare Laser Weapon System
Electrolaser Research and development Taser
Electromagnetic weapons Research and development[132][133] Firearms Warfare Coilgun, Railgun
Electrothermal-chemical technology Research and development Conventional ammunition Tank, artillery, and close-in weapon systems
Force field Hypothetical, experiments[134] Armor Military and law enforcement, space travel Plasma window
Green bullet Development Current ammunition Environment-friendly ammunition
Laser weapon Research and development, trials Missile defense, anti-drone defense Tracking and destruction of rockets, bombs, drones etc.[135] Advanced Tactical Laser, High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System
Particle beam weapon Research and development Firearms Warfare Strategic Defense Initiative
Plasma weapon Research
Pure fusion weapon Hypothetical
Sonic weapon Research and development
Stealth technology Research and development Camouflage Electronic countermeasures Plasma stealth, Stealth aircraft, Radar-absorbent material
Vortex ring gun Research and development tear gas Crowd control
Wireless long-range electric shock weapon Expansion Firearms Law enforcement guns

Outer space[edit]

Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Anti-gravity Hypothetical and experiments[136][137]
Artificial gravity Research, development Space Travel
Asteroid mining Hypothetical, NASA has announced plans to capture and redirect an asteroid.[138]
Hypertelescope Hypothetical astronomy
Stasis Chamber Experimental, Research and development[139] Traditional space travel Interplanetary space travel, interstellar space travel, medical
Solar gravitational lens Hypothetical Deep space observation FOCAL
Inflatable space habitat Developed, prototypes built and tested Traditional "aluminium can" space habitat modules Space habitats Bigelow Aerospace
Miniaturized satellite Research, development, some prototypes Conventional satellites Inexpensive satellites, constellations for low data rate communications, using formations to gather data from multiple points, in-orbit inspection of larger satellites.


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Android, gynoid Research, development, prototypes, diffusion, commercializing[140] Disabled, infant and older people care, housekeeping, sex-worker, flight-attendant, model, hostess, waiter, security guard
Molecular nanotechnology, nanorobotics Hypothetical, experiments[141] Products and parts production, retail distribution Machines (desktop, industrial) that can make anything given the materials, cheap planetary terraforming
Powered exoskeleton Research, development, prototypes, diffusion, commercializing[142] Electric wheelchairs, forklifts Heavy lifting, paralysis, muscle related diseases, warfare, construction, firefighting, care for the elderly and disabled. LOPES (exoskeleton), ReWalk, Human Universal Load Carrier, fictional armor Iron Man's armor, Future Force Warrior
Self-reconfiguring modular robot Hypothetical, experiments, early prototypes Other ways to form physical structures and machines As a universal physical machine, SRCMR may change the way we make many physical structures and machines Robot, swarm robotics, autonomous research robot
Swarm robotics Hypothetical, experiments[143] Distributed computing, complexity in behavior by simplicity in architecture Autonomous construction, space construction Swarm intelligence, autonomous robotics, nanorobotics, particle swarm optimization, multi-agent systems, behavior-based robotics
Unmanned vehicle Research and development, diffusion, commercial Manned vehicles, human spying, shops, kitchens, restaurants (thanks to unmanned transport of goods) Transport of goods (e.g. food), mass surveillance, eavesdropping, oceanography, commercial aerial livestock monitoring, wildfire mapping, pipeline security, home security, road patrol and anti-piracy, patrol the nation's borders, scout property, and hunt down fugitives, oil, gas and mineral exploration and production, geophysical surveys, geomagnetic surveys, scientific research in areas too dangerous for pilots like a hurricane tornado hunter, firefighting,[144] military operations and peacekeeping operations, search and rescue, explosives and bomb disposal, gatekeeper and checkpoint operations, urban street presence, police raids in urban settings. Unmanned aerial vehicle, AeroVironment, AeroVironment Global Observer, AeroVironment Nano Hummingbird, Unmanned combat air vehicle, Unmanned ground vehicle, Unmanned space vehicle, Unmanned surface vehicle, Unmanned underwater vehicle, Autonomous underwater vehicle


Emerging technology Status Potentially marginalized technologies Potential applications Related articles
Airless tire Research, development, early prototypes[145][146][147] Conventional tire[147] Safer tires[147] Tweel
Alternative fuel vehicle Commercialization, diffusion Internal combustion engine Reducing air pollution, decreasing oil consumption Electric vehicle, Hydrogen vehicle, Compressed air vehicle
Beam-powered propulsion Hypothetical Laser propulsion
Electro hydrodynamic propulsion Research, development, prototypes[148][149] Flying car, "hoverboards" Better flying transportation, efficient propulsion in air Electrohydrodynamics
Flexible wings (X-53 Active Aeroelastic Wing, Adaptive Compliant Wing), fluidic flight controls Experiments, prototypes[150][151][152][153][154] Other flight control systems: ailerons, elevators, elevons,

flaps, flaperons

Controlling aircraft, ships Aircraft flight control system, BAE Systems Demon, fluidics
Flying car Early commercialization, prototypes[155][156] Automobile, road More effective transportation Terrafugia Transition, Moller M400 Skycar, Urban Aeronautics X-Hawk, AeroMobil
Fusion rocket Research, development[157] Chemical rockets Fast Interplanetary Travel, with limited Interstellar applications
Hoverbike Working prototypes, early commercialization Cars, motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles Package delivery, search and rescue
Hovertrain, Ground effect train Research, development[158][159] Conventional trains Trains with higher speed Aérotrain, Duke Hospital PRT, Hovercraft
High Altitude Platforms Experimentation Most satellites, cell phone towers Communications
Jet pack or backpack helicopter Early commercialization, prototypes[160][161] Automobile More effective transportation
Maglev train, Vactrain Research, early commercialization[162][163][164] Conventional trains, the wheel Trains with higher speed Transrapid, Shanghai Maglev Train, Linimo
Magnetic levitation Research, development, Commercialization (Maglev Train) Wheels, tires, conventional transportation systems High temperature superconductivity, cryogenics, low temperature refrigerators, superconducting magnet design and construction, fiber reinforced plastics for vehicles and structural concretes, communication and high power solid-state controls, vehicle design (aerodynamics and noise mitigation), precision manufacturing, construction and fabrication of concrete structures,[165] maglev car, maglev based spacecraft launch Vactrain, Levicar
Mass driver Prototypes
Float to Orbit Hypothetical Conventional space launch Space launch
Nuclear photonic rocket Hypothetical ion rockets interplanetary travel
Personal rapid transit Early commercialization, diffusion[166][167] Automobile More effective transportation Morgantown PRT, ULTra
Photon rocket Hypothetical chemical rockets local interstellar travel
Physical Internet Research[168] Conventional logistics
Vactrain Research, development High-speed rail Faster way to get somewhere ET3 Global Alliance, Hyperloop
Propellant depot Research, development Heavy lift rockets enabling deep-space missions with more massive payloads, satellite life extension, ultimately lowering the cost per kg launched to space
Pulse detonation engine Testbed demos Chemical


Fast Interplanetary Travel, with some possible Interstellar Travel applications
Reusable launch system Research, development Expendable launch system Surface-to-orbit transport SpaceX reusable launch system development program
Space elevator Research, development[169] Non-rocket spacelaunch, Orbital ring, Sky hook, Space fountain
Spaceplane Research, development[170][171][172] Conventional airliners Hypersonic transport A2, Skylon
Supersonic transport Commercialization existed, diffusion Conventional airliners Airliner with higher speed Concorde, Tupolev Tu-144
Vehicular communication systems Research and development, some diffusion Automobile safety vehicle safety obstacle inform others warnings on entering intersections, Traffic management Accommodating ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars to a specific situation such as hot pursuits and bad weather, Driver assistance systems, Automated highways. Artificial Passenger, Dedicated short-range communications, Intelligent transportation system

See also[edit]

Disruptive innovation, Industrial Ecology, List of inventors, List of inventions, Sustainable development, Technology readiness level, Anthropogenics Diffusion of innovations
Casuistry, Computer ethics, Engineering ethics, Nanoethics, Bioethics, Neuroethics

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ International Congress Innovation and Technology XXI: Strategies and Policies Towards the XXI Century, & Soares, O. D. D. (1997). Innovation and technology: Strategies and policies. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.
  2. ^ A review of automation and robotics for the bio-industry. Journal of Biomechatronics Engineering Vol. 1, No. 1, (2008) 37-54
  3. ^ NASA - Investigation of a Closed Ecological System.
  4. ^ Ben Armentrout, and Heidi Kappes. Studies in Closed Ecological Systems: Biosphere in a Bottle
  5. ^ Frieda B. Taub Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics Vol. 5, (1974), pp. 139-160
  6. ^ "Is in vitro meat the future?". The Times. 9 May 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Coming soon, the test-tube burger: Lab-grown meat 'needed to feed the world'". Daily Mail. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "Artificial meat: Hamburger junction". The Economist. 25 February 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Vertical farming - Does it really stack up?". Te Economist. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Vertical Farming - Can Urban Agriculture Feed a Hungry World?". Spiegel. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Vertical Harvest of Jackson Hole Will Grow Organic Produce Even in Winter". Inhabitat. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  12. ^ C. Epstein - [1] published by AIN online December 3, 2015 [Retrieved 2015-12-04]
  13. ^ "World's first climate-controlled domed city to be built in Dubai (PHOTOS)". 
  14. ^ "Sto AG, Cabot Create Aerogel Insulation". Construction Digital. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "Is graphene a miracle material?". BBC Click. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  16. ^ "Could graphene be the new silicon?". The Guardian. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  17. ^ "Applications of Graphene under Development". 
  18. ^ "The 'new age' of super materials". BBC News. 5 March 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  19. ^ "Strides in Materials, but No Invisibility Cloak". The New York Times. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  20. ^ NAE Website: Frontiers of Engineering. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  21. ^ "Carbon nanotubes used to make batteries from fabrics". BBC News. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  22. ^ "Researchers One Step Closer to Building Synthetic Brain". Daily Tech. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  23. ^ "Pentagon Developing Shape-Shifting 'Transformers' for Battlefield". Fox News. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  24. ^ "Intel: Programmable matter takes shape". ZD Net. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  25. ^ "'Quantum dots' to boost performance of mobile cameras". BBC News. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
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