Smart Dust? 4-D Printing?
34 New Technologies Predicted To Be Big

August 23rd, 2016

new technologies

Smart dust? 4-D printing? 802.11ax? Last week, research firm Gartner released its annual report on hype in technology, sharing which technologies are coming up, which are at their peak, and which have moved well into mainstream territory. Check out the article by Inc, 34 Most Disruptive Technologies of the Next Decade.

Here are a couple technologies you might never have heard of that Gartner predicts will be big:

  1. Smart Dust

This refers to little things called “motes,” which Gartner defines in a research note for the report as “tiny wireless micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), robots, or other devices that can detect everything from light, temperature, and pressure to vibration, magnetism, and chemical composition.” CNN put it this way in 2010: Smart dust aims to monitor everything.

  1. 4-D Printing

You’ve heard of 3-D printing, the quick fabrication of three-dimensional products with a machine that essentially “prints” the products. The fourth dimension in this next-gen fabrication process is the encoding in the end product of “a dynamic capability–either function, confirmation, or properties–that can change via the application of chemical, electronic, particulate, or nanomaterials,” according to Gartner. Examples the firm offers: “printed pipe valves that can expand or contract and printed cubes that unfold.”

  1. 802.11ax

What is this? It looks like a random series of numbers and letters. Will people be referring to this verbally, talking about the promise of eight-oh-two-point-eleven-ay-ex? Not unless they’re already talking about eight-oh-two-point-eleven-ay-see (802.11ac), to which 802.11ax is the successor. What we’re talking about here is technology aimed at improving performance of Wi-Fi-enabled devices and supporting a larger number of them. Development of this technology is still in early stages according to Gartner, but expect it to be important as the number of connected “Internet of Things” devices continues to grow.

Check out the full article to see all 34 technologies in the report.


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