That’s right – scientists have come up with the genius concept of building solar panels into road surfaces. Perfect for developed, sun-rich countries like Australia – the panels will be ‘wired’ into power-lines at the side of the road and will generate enough renewable energy to meet the demands of entire nations!
The obvious drawback here is that to pull up and re-lay thousands of kilometres of road surface requires huge amounts of time, money, resources, and inconvenience! Expect our roads to change circa 2030.
#9 – Google Self-driving Car
The internet behemoth that is Google seem to have their eggs in every basket nowadays, but this development really is extraordinary. This car doesn’t even have a steering wheel – you literally get in and it drives itself!
The car uses built-in sensors all around the car to prevent possible collisions. Sounds scary huh? Actually – it’ll probably be a lot safer than most drivers on the road today!
As soon as Google are able to overcome the obvious legal hurdles regarding self-driving cars – these beauties will be all over the roads, probably by 2020 at the latest.
#8 – Life straw
Granted – this isn’t a recent invention, but it is so beneficial to the third-world that it would be criminal not to include it on this list. It’s quite simple – you can use this straw to drink dirty water.
As you suck polluted water through the straw – it passes through an incredible filtration system which kills 99.9% of water-borne bacteria and parasites, and all without using other potential harmful chemicals like Iodine or chlorine.
Assuming it gets cheaper to produce – this phenomenal device will save millions of lives within the next 10-15 years.
#7 – 3D Food Printer
OK – so the thought of having a printer which produces edible food is kind of weird. So many questions and doubts come to mind – like how will it taste? Is it actually good for your body?
To be fair – it can’t be much worse than certain fast-foods many of us put into our bodies nowadays anyway, so let’s give this thing a chance!
Currently – the concept of 3D food printing consists of loading the food into a (food) cartridge, and the food printer produces a 3D version of whatever design you like.
With advances in technology though – you’ll likely find that by 2030, we’ll be printing pizzas at our desk, rather than getting them delivered to our door…
#6 – Google Smart Contact Lens
Their second entry on this list – Google’s foray into wearable tech doesn’t just end with Google Glass (which is super cool, by the way).
This contact lense is (currently) targeted towards diabetics. Ridiculously tiny technology within the contact lense, monitors the wearers glucose levels, and will alert them immediately if their glucose levels get too high/low.
You don’t need to be a genius Google engineer to see where this is going.
Advances with this technology will likely result in these contact lenses being able to monitor all kinds of health conditions, alerting us to problems with our bodies that would otherwise have remained undetected for far longer, if it wasn’t for this incredible invention.
#5 – Mercedes Seed Car
The ‘Seed Car’ from Mercedes, gets it’s name from the fact that it is literally grown from seeds, like a plant. It’s just a concept design at the current time, and the technology required to produce this is quite a way off at this point.
However – by 2050 – these will be on the roads and reducing green-house emissions in abundance as these cars will pump out oxygen as they drive.
It’s not yet known how they will be powered, but if we have solar-roads by then – it’s possible that it could be ‘charged’ during it’s journey by it’s contact with the road!
#4 – Human Jetpack
We’re still in the early stages of development with these jetpacks, but there are still some genuinely cool concepts out there already.
Most of them are powered by petrol which obviously isn’t great for the environment, but future advances with this invention will likely see us being able to charge the jetpack up with electricity (produced by renewable sources) and travel short distances for free.
By 2040 – jetpack permits will be as common as driving licenses are today, and we’ll all need to do a test to make sure that we’re safe flying through the skies. Combine these human jetpacks with the robot soldiers, and you’ve basically got Iron Man.
#3 – Biodome
Yes, biodomes have been around for years. But the biodomes of the future will likely hold entire civilisations, although probably not on Earth.
NASA’s clever boffins are in agreement that by the time Earth gets too overcrowded (or starts to implode due to golbal warming, or something) – we’ll be in a position to ‘start a new life’ on Mars.
Of course – Mars’ atmosphere isn’t sufficient for today’s Earthlings to live in, but one day – spacecraft will transfer huge biodome parts to be constructed on Mars.
Inside the Biodomes – Oxygen will be produced and the internal atmosphere of the biodome will be perfect for a human to live in without any special apparatus.
This concept will be upon us by 2100.
#2 – Robot Soldiers
Any fan of the Terminator series, iRobot or the Halo games, will tell you that the concept of robot humans is neither new, or good news for this planet! But these movies/games are all the work of fiction, and there is little doubt that scientists will be able to keep these creations under control without a problem.
By sending robot soldiers into battle instead of humans – this concept will actually save thousands or even millions of lives in the future.
Overcoming rogue terrorists in war-stricken countries would be far less of a challenge if they were made to find robotic soldiers instead of humans, although the cost of these robot soldiers might be a little on the high side.
Assuming costs of production come down though – robot soldiers will be fighting our wars within the next 20-30 years.
#1 – Tube Transport System
Designed to be safer, quieter and more cost-efficient than planes – one day you’ll be able to travel between developed countries by tube transport, and it’ll be much, much faster.
Okay – travelling at 6500mph does sound a little intimidating, if not a little scary, but planes travel at ~500mph and no one thinks twice about getting on a plane and having a nap!
Speeding along at five times the speed of sound – this system will transfer you around the world in 6 hours, and New York to China in 2 hours. By 2050 – travelling around the world for a business meeting might only take a day and a few hours transport – that’s insane!