Inventions that can change the world and save you money

Still from Georges Méliès film “A Trip to the Moon.”

Some world-changing inventions may literally take you to the moon via commercial space flight. (Photo Credit: Public Domain/Georges Méliès/Wikipedia)

Are you a futurist? Do you considering great inventions to be gateways through which our lives can be made better? Here’s a future forecast of inventions that can change the world, courtesy of The Futurist magazine. While none of this should be set in stone, the potential to save money, time and ultimately life makes each of these something to be prized.

Future forecast for great inventions No. 1 – Mind-reading devices

Neuroscientists believe that in the relatively near future, there will be devices that possess the ability to read our simpler intentions before we act. Such things as intending to pick up a cup or reach for the TV remote send blood flow to specific areas of the brain, and devices that employ neuroimaging can read this physiological function. Practical application in the medical field with such things as smart prostheses are very possible, note researchers at the University of Western Ontario in Ontario, Canada.

Future forecast for great inventions No. 2 – Cars as power plants

According to the Technology University of Delft in the Netherlands, the fuel cells of parked electric vehicles should be put to better use. Researchers are working on adaptations that will enable the fuel cells to convert biogas or hydrogen into additional electricity for use away from the vehicle. Vehicle owners would conceivably be compensated monetarily for lending their cars to energy creation.

Future forecast for great inventions No. 3 – Better food recycling

You may be able to make your kitchen leftovers stretch, but what about the food waste you don’t eat? Rather than sending it straight to the landfill, ecological engineers at SUNY in New York suggest an aquaponic recycling process where food waste is converted into ready fish food for your aquarium. But here’s the kicker – afterward, the fish waste is also recycled and used for growing vegetables. That’s a circle of life.

Future forecast for great inventions No. 4 – People who look for work where there’s need

This isn’t an invention per se, but a mind set. Certain jobs that have been lost to outsourcing and modern technology – such as certain manufacturing and assembly jobs – are never going to come back. Workers must develop their skills and learn to do research and predict what the greatest need in society is going to be in the near future. Having done that, the unemployed can hone their skills in their efforts meet those needs, and hence obtain employment. If the invention is better schools and vocational counseling, so be it.

Future forecast for great inventions No. 5 – Commercial space flight

Paul Allen, Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are already beginning to make this happen, such is the drive of wealthy “adventure capitalists.” As technology – and the need to find a new place to continue the human race – grows, occurrences of consumer space flight will grow.

Future forecast for great inventions No. 6 – An intelligent cloud

You’ve heard of cloud data storage by now. Researchers believe that cloud intelligence will become “an active resource in our daily lives,” notes the World Future Society. This cloud will reportedly analyze data and provide contextual advice. This means that the intelligent cloud can scan documents you have filed, like family menus, workout goals and more – and provide custom programs and suggestions that suit your preferences and lifestyle.

Future forecast for great inventions No. 7 – Welcome to the Rateocracy

You’ve heard of Yelp and other popular websites where users rate retailers. Well, management consultant Robert Moran sees a new layer of transparency that will come with the proliferation of augmented reality technology. A “Rateocracy” can be created where consumers can have instant access to all sorts of ratings information before their eyes, via automatic instant augmented reality overlay. Before you go into that hole in the wall restaurant, your augmented reality-enabled device can flash the appropriate health department warning, if it exists.

Future forecast for great inventions No. 8 – Robot caregivers

In Japan, researchers have used the RIBA II (Robot for Interactive Body Assistance) to gently life frail patients for human caregivers. These robots can also be configured to monitor vital signs of the patient they’re in contact with.

Future forecast for great inventions No. 9 – Noise for power

Harnessing the white noise around you into power for your electronic gadgets may sound high tech, but researchers at Georgia Tech University are making it happen. Converting ambient sonics and even microwave energy into DC power has been tested on small devices. University of Buffalo physicist Surajit Sen is currently looking into ways to use roadway and airport runway vibrations as a power source, too.

Future forecast for great inventions No. 10 – Breathalyzers against terrorism

Handheld breathalyzer style devices can be used to detect microbial infections and chemical attacks, according to researchers at Stony Brook University in New York. The Single Breath Disease Diagnostics Breathalyzer uses nanowire sensors to detect chemical compounds that can indicate disease or tampering. Doctors believe such devices will eventually be able to detect anthrax and even lung cancer at an early stage.


BBC News

Maybe What Will Be…

World Future Society

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