Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Technology areas to watch in 2012 through 2016

Source: NextBigFuture
Date: 12/24/2011

1. Energy Revolution - Mass produced fission, fusion, and maybe cold fusion
2. Memristors and other significant computing and electronic improvements.
3. Robotics
4. Urbanization Broad Group skyscrapers, Tata flat packed buildings
5. Space
6. Supersmartphones, exoskeletons and wearable systems
7. Hyperbroadband
8. Energy Efficiency - superconductors, thermoelectrics, improved grid
9. Additive manufacturing
10. Not so mundane - neuromorphic chips, quantum computers, photonics
11. Automated transportation (leading to robotic cars and planes)
12. Supermaterials
13. Improve medicine and public health
14. Synthetic biology and recombineering
15. Sensors everywhere
16. Education transformed and accelerated innovation

The most controversial has the highest potential impact

1. Energy Revolution - Mass produced fission, fusion, and maybe cold fusion

There is the highly controversial possibility of Rossi-Focardi Energy catalyzer.

Brillouin Energy is another cold fusion contender

There is also work in this area by Brian Ahern and NASA and other agencies are investigating it.

EMC2 Fusion, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, General Fusion and/or Tri-alpha energy could develop a first full scale prototype commercial system by Dec, 2016. Those are also somewhat controversial, but less so than the cold fusion. Australia Star Scientific with a claimed breakthrough with muon fusion.

A desktop high frequency fusion system has been proposed for space propulsion and energy generation.

In Chapman’s aneutronic fusion reactor scheme, a commercially available benchtop laser starts the reaction. A beam with energy on the order of 2 x 10^18 watts per square centimeter, pulse frequencies up to 75 megahertz, and wavelengths between 1 and 10 micrometers is aimed at a two-layer, 20-centimeter-diameter target.

High frequency lasers are an area that is rapidly progressing.

I think high frequency lasers and General Fusion are the most likely to succeed. The High frequency laser approach needs to get a deep pocketed champion.

China is well underway with their first pebble bed reactors. The first one will be done by about 2015. This is not controversial and the construction project is underway.

Other small modular nuclear fission reactor projects are underway but most will not have their first units built until 2018-2020 or later

China could have a prototype molten salt thorium reactor by Dec, 2016.

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