The top technology breakthroughs of 2015…
Every year, MIT Technology Review selects the 10 technologies we believe are the greatest breakthroughs of previous months, those that in the future will have the broadest impact on commerce, medicine, and society.
- Magic Leap: The 3D augmented reality technology company, fresh off a US$542 million funding round led by Google and Andreessen Horowitz, leapt into public consciousness with a viral video of computer-generated animals magically appearing in the palm of a child’s hand. The device will be on the market in one to three years.
- Nano-Architecture: Developed by a Cal Tech scientist, these microscopic, latticed materials contain lightweight structures that can be precisely tailored for strength and flexibility, and are expected to be available in three to five years.
- Car-to-Car Communication: Wireless technology in development at General Motors, the University of Michigan and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Available in one to two years, the onboard computers allow vehicles to communicate with one another to avoid crashes.
- Project Loon: Google’s helium balloon project for sending reliable, cost-effective Internet connectivity to remote areas of the world is one to two years from wide availability.
- The Liquid Biopsy: Already out in the market, a breakthrough in DNA sequencing has accelerated the process of testing blood for cancer through new early detection machines in China.
- Megascale Desalinization: Up and running in Tel Aviv, a new reverse-osmosis desalinization plant built by IDE Technologies is providing a new, cheaper way to filter seawater as a country’s main water supply.
- Apple Pay: Apple’s virtual wallet commerce technology, already in production on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices, is being integrated into more and more retailers’ checkout systems as the technology that could finally eradicate use of plastic credit cards.
- Brain Organoids: A new method for growing brain cells developed by researchers at MIT and Austria’s Institute for Molecular Biology that creates three-dimensional clusters of living neurons. Available now, the method could lead to breakthroughs in mental illness and neurological disorders.
- Supercharged Photosynthesis: While the technology is 10 to 15 years away from availability, researchers are using genetic tools to engineer rice plants to extract energy from sunlight far more efficiently than they do now as a way to increase agricultural production and solve global hunger.
- Internet of DNA: A standardized global network of millions of genomes that would let DNA databases communicate to improve worldwide medical treatment. In development by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, Google and the Personal Genome Project, the technology will be available in one to two years.
MIT’s full list of breakthrough technologies can be found here.