Ten technologies which MIT sees as impacting lives

February 24th, 2009 - 1:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Feb 24 (IANS) Technology Review, the magazine of innovation brought out by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tuesday announced its annual list of 10 top emerging technologies, seen to impact the way we live and do business.
“These revolutionary innovations - each represented by a researcher whose vision and work is driving the field - promise fundamental shift in areas from energy to health care, computing to communications,” the magazine said.

Technology Review editor-in-chief and publisher Jason Pontin will present them in New Delhi at the inaugural EmTech India conference to be hosted along with leading publishing house CyberMedia March 2-3.

The list includes technologies both miniature and massive and from fast, cheap and capacious computer memory to batteries that can store enough energy to power a city. Here’s a sneak preview of these technologies made available to IANS:

- Liquid battery. By creating a liquid battery, Donald Sadoway, a materials chemistry professor at MIT, has developed a new storage option that could allow cities to run on solar power at night.

- Travelling-wave reactor. John Gilleland, manager of nuclear programmes at Intellectual Ventures, has devised a new way of fuelling reactors that could make nuclear power safer and less expensive.

- Paper diagnostic test. George Whitesides, a professor at Harvard University, created an easy-to-use diagnostic test out of paper that could make it possible to diagnose a range of diseases quickly and cheaply in the developing world.

- Biological machines. Michel Maharbiz, an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed a wirelessly controlled beetle that could one day be used for surveillance or search-and-rescue missions.

- $100 genome. Han Cao, founder of Bio-Nanomatrix, has designed a nano-fluidic chip that could lower DNA sequencing costs dramatically. Once a viable sequencing option is found, Cao’s chip could allow doctors to tailor medical treatment according to the patient’s unique genetic profile, map new genes linked to specific diseases, and quickly identify new viruses and outbreaks.

- Racetrack memory. IBM fellow Stuart Parkin has created an entirely new class of data storage that holds the potential to revamp computing. If proved successful, racetrack memory could replace all other forms of memory and lead to ever smaller computers and extremely inexpensive memory for iPods and other portable devices.

- HashCache. Vivek Pai, a computer scientist at Princeton University, has created a new method for storing Web content that could make Internet access more affordable around the world.

- Intelligent software assistant. Adam Cheyer, co-founder of the Silicon Valley start-up Siri, is leading the design of powerful new software that acts as a personal aide. This virtual personal-assistant software helps users complete the menial tasks of everyday life.

- Software-defined networking. Stanford computer scientist Nick McKeown developed a standard called OpenFlow that allows researchers to tap into flow tables and essentially control a network’s layout and traffic flow with the click of a mouse - all without interrupting normal service.

- Nano-piezotronics. Zhong Lin Wang, a materials scientist at Georgia Tech, is a leader in the emerging field of nano-piezotronics. Wang believes that piezoelectric nano-wires could power implantable medical devices and serve as tiny sensors.

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