Each year, electronics becomes a deeper and more inextricably intertwined part of our daily lives. And with the burgeoning service infrastructure—from wireless medical to broadcast 3-D—electronics will assume an even greater role in the coming years.
Here are 10 technologies that our editors think will generate buzz, attract developers and investors, and get end users to open their wallets in 2011 and beyond.
You are right that these are technologies to watch in the coming years too, however there will be commercial examples of every one of these categories in 2011 (except perhaps fully biodegradable electronics, where progress is being made--for instance in implants that dissolve--but the main progress in 2011 will be in better recycling on the way to "compostable" electronics).
It is true that the Human machine interfacing is advancing a lot and the machines are getting a lot more intelligent to understand humans better.There will be a new language originating to communicate with machines, like the sign language or gestures.
"Personal power management may put you in charge", but it only matters when time of day power rates hit the residential market. At that time it will become worthwhile for users to shift loads from peak time to low demand times. Alternatively, the power company could install a remote controlled device that allowed them to briefly shutdown heavy power use appliances during peak demand periods in exchange for lower utility rates (no user intervention required). We had that in 1998 in Winter Park, Florida and were pleased by the lower power rates we received in exchange.
"Personal" power management is motivated primarily by reducing the individual's energy consumption, whereas the "infrastructure" solution using smart-meters and embedded processors in appliances (which the smart meter controls) is motivated by the utilities desire to smooth out energy consumption more evenly during the day. Your Winter Park example is revealing in that it was infrastructure oriented and yet also reduced your personal power bill. Thus whichever direction coming from--personal or infrastructure--eventually they will converge. In other words, if everybody reduced their personal energy consumption that would also smooth out the grid infrastructure (and visa versa). Consequently, in my view the personal and infrastructure approaches will meet in the middle where everybody benefits, circa 2020.
This technology could be great for deaf people who communicate with American Sign Language (ASL). An ASL to text or voice interpreter would allow the deaf community to interact much more with the hearing community.
Interesting article. I have more interest to see how the mobile 3D technology evolves. The news about A123 to build systems for SAIC is also interesting but I still have some concerns on EV acceptance.
Majority of these technologies listed to watch are in the field of electrical engineering. How about other braches of engineering? Also, in electrical/electroincs engineering there are many other fields left out. Can we have wider look at technology?
The Automatic Radar for cheaper cars technology in my opinion will be very important and can help in saving millions of lives all over the world if it can virtually take control out of those reckless drivers zooming at fastest possible speeds and flouting all traffic rules .
Agreed. Automatic Radar needs to become more ubiquitous, to compensate for the increase in reckless driving due to more and more drivers using other new technologies -- mobile handsets, GPS, etc. -- when instead they should be paying attention to the road!
As a DisplaySearch analyst, we absolutely did NOT forecast the uptake of 3D in 2014 to be glasses-free sets. The oncost of 3D processing is low for 120 or 240Hz sets. These are what is forecast. TV set makers will add 3D as a check-box feature, but the glasses and transmitter may not be in the box with the set. Auto-stereoscopic 3D is a long way off still in TV.
@iniewski: Nanotechnology for your information is already widely used in commercialization. Why is it that everyone assumes that anything nano has to do with microscopic robots or something like that. nanocarbon tubes are already used in several products. stop thinking that future is in future...its now and here start using it!
This is EE times as an Electrical Engineering Times. Why are some people asking or mentioning technologies that are outside the field? Though other engineering disciplines are important, they are not to be deeply discussed in this newspaper and the focused should always be EE.
Good to see that there are a couple of technological developments on energy management and energy storage, which might take place in 2011. Apart from those two, I am very much interested in watching out for the "fully bio-degradable electronics". Is there already any progress made so far on this technology - “fully bio-degradable electronics"?
Also I am curious to know, based on what information, these top ten technology was highlighted in this article?
Our editors pooled their knowledge to come up with the Top 10 Emerging Technologies for 2011 list. Regarding bio-degrad, most of the progress today is toward better recycling, but with the advent of organic substrates and printable electronics the future will hold the possibility of full biodegradability.
Hi Colin, thanks for providing the background of how the technology topics were selected. So it looks like the readers are going see most of the articles and news around these topics in 2011?
Also thanks for providing information on the bio-degradable organic substrates and printable electronics stuff. Looking forward to learn more about the advancement in that area.
We are already in the nanoscale range in terms of size but i think most people confuse between quantum effect which are actual and true nanotechnology and the extension of the microtechnology to nano-world.
Most of the technologies seems like directly coming out from the sci-fi world. Its good to know that what seems unimaginable for today is reality for tomorrow! Will surely be interested in reading/following/commenting more about new and interesting technologies of the future which will keep us young engineers motivated.
To: Himanshu_Gupta: Agree, there is a big difference between nano device that has some unique properties due its nanoscale size and some other scaled down device like MOSFET which even in deep submicron regime still pretty much behaves the same as it was in the micro regime...Kris
Many comforts to us and maintaining,improving green of the earth are possible by technology. Most of the above features if it is embedded into the numerous types of appliances used by the society at a minimum added cost to the owners of the appliances then the technology is enjoyable. In my calculations to increse the business in Year 2011 most of the manufacturere are ready to introduce these innovating features into their products with minimum added cost
I find Geotagging real world a very useful social app. People would be able not to just tag for fun, but also, tag if they see an unsafe location, crime escene, city violatins, Amber alert, if they see a suspect, etc.
Personal safety could be increased if one could tag the place were one just was robed, or even tag the person real life!
To @rajveer57: I am not sure that feedback from an audience would provide a better list, presumably EE Times expert body has more visibility than a regular reader although there is always some power im masses...but I think you could combine the two: EE Times could allow everyone to click on the trend that she/he thinks is the most important and we will see which of the ten would be the most popular...Kris
Yes, I agree with goafrit over there. While, the concept of ‘editors-pick’ is one popular way to go in these magazines, when it comes to engineering it has got to be different. There are many EE technologies out there and the published list does not do justice to many. When we have such a vibrant engineering community sharing our views, why not let the engineers chose what is it that will excel in 2011? Certainly, a voted result would be a better option when we go forward.
True, it should be some work to organize a poll and distill out the ten best technologies from the point of view of EE Times editors. As it has been demonstrated over the years through the peer-review system of engineering publications, democracy is burdensome and a lot of trouble. But, it is worth the effort for the simple reason that we do not have a better system than consensus of the majority.
Does anyone know of a better option than democracy?
Thanks for this article. I think the Touchscreen tabs advance 'consume only' model will become a big hit as we move forward. Some of it is currently being implemented, but I think it is still in its early stages. The others items on your list are good too. Some will not be implemented in 2011, but it will indeed receive attention. Good list.
Much more interesting thing will be the applications derived out of these technologies. Who knows 3-D mobile display may open new war for gaming companies, or a total new domain of apps with gesture recognition. I always found, no matter how bright is technology, the application of technologies derive its popularity.
Nicely written article. I agree with most of the items mentioned, and look forward to watching them further evolve over the next year. I have had some personal experience with the wireless medical devices and can assure you they are not "ready for prime time". The large number of "communications" technologies and products should be a good indicator of what the next industry driver will be. I myself have been upgrading my communications technologies over the last year, and welcome the change. Lets all hope these set the stage for bringing all of us back to prosperity soon...
The Microsoft Kinect Add-on system and associated technologies should open up a whole world of new 3D interactive applications in the future. After struggling to be the standout in the game field Microsoft seem to have done their homework this time. I would expect to see an increase in patent cross-licensing agreements and litigation between the industry players in the next few years. I can't wait to see an application of the Kinect system on a 3D television. A "virtual environment 3D gaming" will be be the future.
NFC was originally on the list, but since it is already a solved problem, even though it is rolling out in the U.S. in 2011, we decided that other less familiar technologies would be better fits in our forward looking list.
I suspect that we'll see a lot from electronic paper in 2011. It's been in a couple of e-readers for a few years now and I'd guess it's about time for it to take the next step with increased response speeds and reduced costs. I'm not sure color will be available in 2011 though. Maybe 2012.
With those improvements, a new set of applications will open up in the coming year. We may not see many of the commercial products, but we'll see the raw displays come out ready to be put into commercial products.
And, just what are those new applications? Too many to list, but I can speculate on a few.
Modal safety and regulatory labeling. Labeling has become less and less effective as there are more and more things to warn about. However, quite often, the warnings needed are different depending on the state of the device (off, standby, full-on, etc.) By putting labels for each possible condition, all of them can become lost in the noise. With e-paper, the warnings can be modal and thus very prominent and customized for each needed condition.
Instructional and operational check-lists. This application isn't that different than e-readers, but it could benefit from specialization for the task. With costs down, that specialized product could be commercially viable.
Advertising. We're already seeing a few early-adopter forays into e-paper advertising, but again, with a reduction in costs, it will proliferate into all sorts of annoying and intrusive places.
This is a very good list. Medical Electronics will progress much faster rate such as CRT Optimization for Heart Failure. PH and FRET for DNA is an interesting subject also. We will see Personal Genome Machine and many related electronics.
If you search these key words, you can get information.
About 1/2 the technologies listed are already in limited use in 2010. Wireless medical, automotive radar, 3-D. I am somewhat concerned about personal power management. I see it as a double-edged sword. If you are using too much power your utility has the capability to shut you off.