Innovation can come in waves, with one big innovative earthquake spawning a number of aftershock inventions. There would of course be no ‘light bulb’ moment without the invention of the light bulb. What might 2018 bring in terms of innovation?
1) Your life will become more automated
As a general rule, we all search for ways to make life easier for ourselves. For example, washing machines, hoovers and cars were all developed to make something quicker or require less effort on our part. However, they tend to come with drawbacks – washing machines are usually filled with concrete (but not for much longer), most hoovers use lots of power (but some don’t), and cars pollute the atmosphere and contribute to climate change (no buts).
Google and Amazon have already helped automate list-keeping, amongst others, with their unobtrusive ‘smart speakers’. The drawbacks? They might be listening to everything all the time, and that isn’t high on most people’s list of likes.
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What else is there to automate? Plenty. From better identification of mutations in gene sequences, to better modelling of chemical compounds like pharmaceuticals, to self-driving cars, to package delivery by drones, the world is becoming more automated. And artificial intelligence (AI) is a big umbrella encompassing all of those things and more.
Will 2018 be the year of the Multivac? What inventions do you have in the pipeline?
2) The world will get smaller
We’re also always searching for new experiences and destinations, but how will we be getting to those far-flung destinations? Soon the next trip to your local pub or bar could be in a self-driving car – will 2018 be the end of the designated driver? Taxi companies and Uber other car services should be around for a while yet.
With Concorde shackled in a museum, entrepreneurs are trying their hand at supersonic flight. Will they find a way to disperse sonic booms, so that planes can fly at supersonic speeds over land? Will they develop new materials that make planes quieter or more fuel-efficient? Pre-order your ticket to avoid disappointment.
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Elon Musk would also quite like to send us all into orbit and back to a destination of our choice by rocket, or on to Mars for an interplanetary jaunt. Whilst that is a few years away, plenty of advancements will arise from those endeavours. Perhaps new materials or fuels? Who thought just a few years ago that rockets would be landing upright? I won’t be flying on anything called Rockety McRocketFace though.
Don’t forget, whilst we’re surrounded by reality, there’s the expanding world of virtual reality (VR) to explore too…
3) Your recycling could become more valuable
We all know that we need to act in a more environmentally friendly way to reduce pollution and tackle climate change. Most of us recycle what we can, and with an impending global shortage of sand (silicate), our used glass containers might be worth something.
Charging for disposable plastic bags in the UK was also a step in the right direction, but the seas are still full of plastic. Will a project to clean up plastic from the world’s oceans make a breakthrough? Or will micro-plastics continue to accumulate up the food chain?
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Meanwhile, electronics are highly dependent on lanthanides, and most of the sources are owned by one country, so your old electronics could become more valuable. Finding an efficient way to isolate individual lanthanides would be lucrative. And with more uses for graphene being discovered, more electronic goods will migrate to graphene-based technology. Will the next generation of solar panels go the same way?
Only time will tell how innovative we manage to be in 2018, but it’s looking to be a promising year, and the team at Albright IP will be here to help protect your innovations for the years to come.