REVEALED: The 50 new technologies that could shape the future

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The 50 Emerging Technologies report from Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency – brings together the most exciting new technological breakthroughs that could be part of our everyday lives.

All of the technologies, from tiny nano-materials, to quantum computing, and brain-machine interfaces that allow you to control machines with your mind, are in development right now. While only in their infancy, they’re described in the report as having major potential to transform our lives.

The report is designed to inspire innovative businesses to consider how these technologies, or combinations of them, could become the commercial products of the future. The technologies identified underpin the importance of the Government’s 5 key technology areas, and the potential for these to address global challenges and drive UK economic growth in the process.

The technologies reported on are compiled in seven groups, all of which are important to the UK economy:
AI, digital and computing
Advanced materials and manufacturing
Electronics, photonics and quantum
Energy and environmental
Health and medical
Robotics and space.
Indro Mukerjee, Chief Executive Officer of Innovate UK, said, “Innovate UK works to support economic and productivity growth through supporting innovative businesses. We also work to help catalyse, connect, and stimulate ideas – and that work is at the heart of this Innovate UK 50 Emerging Technologies report. This report and our horizon scanning work are aimed at stimulating discussion and, directly or indirectly, future innovation which leads to skilled jobs and future economic growth.”

Head of Horizon Scanning at Innovate UK and report author, Simone Boekelaar, explains: “As we enter an era of unprecedented technological change, our new report offers a glimpse into a future where the impossible becomes possible. From anti-ageing drugs to sustainable energy solutions, these technologies could change everything, and we are excited to see the impact they will have on society in the years to come.

“Take Brain Machine Interface (BMI) technologies for example. The premise is that if you can connect the brain with a computer or machine, you can translate thoughts into commands that can control external software or hardware, such as a computer or robotic arm. Advanced BMI technologies are being trialled in prosthetics for people with motor or sensory impairments. They could allow people who are paraplegic or quadriplegic to regain limb control. Those missing limbs could have direct control – from brain to device – of their prosthetics.

“Meanwhile with our energy bills at record levels, could room temperature superconductors provide the answer to lower electricity prices? Current superconductor technology requires very high pressures or very cold temperatures to work. Discovery of new superconductors working in normal conditions could allow zero-waste, low-cost electricity production, radically changing the economics of the energy market.”

Read the full report to find out about 50 emerging technologies that will shape our future. Be part of the next edition by sharing your thoughts and expertise with Innovate UK, find out more here.

The 50 emerging technologies

AI, digital and computing:
· AI emotion and expression recognition
· Artificial general intelligence (AGI)
· Biologically inspired AI
· Brain machine interface (BMI) technologies
· Quantum algorithms
· DNA data storage
· New computing models
· Novel immersive interfaces.

Advanced Materials and Manufacturing:
· 4D printing
· Biomimetic materials
· Nanoparticle manufacturing
· Metamaterials.

Electronics, Photonics and Quantum Technologies:
· Alternative and novel semiconductor systems
· Emerging microscopy techniques
· Hyperspectral imaging
· Millimetre wave and terahertz technologies
· Photon generators
· Plasmonics
· Post-quantum cryptography
· Room temperature superconductors.

Energy and Environmental Technologies:
· Cross-linked polymer recycling
· Gridscale wireless energy transmission and charging
· Hypersonics
· Novel propulsion or ion-based propulsion
· Novel hydrogen production and storage technologies
· Novel negative emissions technologies
· Nuclear fusion
· Space-based solar power.

· Artificial cells and artificial life
· Bacteria and microbe manufacturing
· Biocatalytic membranes
· Bioelectronics and electroceuticals
· Hybrid microbe biotechnology
· Programmable cells
· Biofabrication in tissue engineering.

Health and Medical Technology:
· Adult stem cell generation
· Fluxomics
· Anti-ageing drugs
· Antibiotic replacements
· Microbiome therapeutics
· Personalised RNA therapeutics
· Phased genome assembly tools
· Sensation detection implants
· Whole body-on-a-chip device

Robotics and Space Technologies:
· Fully autonomous vehicles
· Nanoscale robotics
· Robotic off-world manufacture
· Soft robotics
· Space nuclear power and novel space propulsion systems
· Very low earth orbit (VLEO) satellites.

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