Emerging technology can improve people's lives in many ways. Technological advancements can help people complete tasks more efficiently, keep them safer and healthier and also protect the environment. Not all technologies make it past the testing and development stage. However, those that do sometimes end up revolutionizing people's lives and, by extension, the world.
Time does not stand still, and neither do people. People are constantly on the go and need to get things done more quickly and accurately. Inventions like the computer, telephone and cellular phones have forever changed the course of human life. They allow people to conduct business and interact with each other without having to travel thousands of miles. More recently, a new type of transistor made out of graphene promises to make electronics smaller and perform at extraordinary speeds. This benefit should thrill not only consumers, but also researchers and businesses seeking ways to increase efficiency and improve productivity.
When African American inventor Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr, witnessed a collision between a horse-drawn carriage and an automobile back in the early 1900s, it convinced him that something could be done to improve traffic safety. The fruits of his labor yielded the three-position traffic signal, which is used around the world today. In August 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation will be hosting six Driver Acceptance Clinics across the country to test an emerging technology that allows vehicle-to-vehicle communication. The DOT hopes this technology will help motorists avoid crashes by warning the driver of potentially hazardous situations.
Emerging technologies can play a critical role when it comes to human health. Wheelchairs help those who have lost mobility in their legs to get around, while MRI devices detect abnormalities and diseases within people's bodies. Positron Emission Tomography has been identified as a quicker and more accurate method of diagnosing infections in patients who may have cancer or cardiovascular disease. The technology is already making its way into several U.S. hospitals. Great Plains Regional Medical Center installed a PET device in April 2011 as a part of its facility expansion and to ensure cancer patients receive the best possible care. Lantheus Medical Imaging plans to present the positive results of its Phase 2 clinical trial of PET imaging technology at the Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT Conference in Amsterdam in May 2011.
The scientific reports are in: destructive human habits are polluting the world and adversely affecting the environment. Many emerging technologies are now being geared toward environmental conservation. Inventors are creating eco-friendly light bulbs, beauty products and automobiles. Former U.S. president George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 into law to increase U.S. production of renewable fuels. Professor Frances Arnold is busy designing enhanced enzymes for making biofuels from cellulose. Her ultimate goal is to aid in the reduction of greenhouse gases by making low-emission biofuels a sustainable substitute for fossil fuels.
- Technology Review; TR10: Graphene Transistors; Kevin Bullis; April 2008
- AutoWeek: Transportation Department Clinics to Test Connected-Vehicle Communication; Julie Alvin; May 13, 2011
- MedicineNet: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI Scan)
- UMCCC: New Studies Show Advantages of Emerging Technology...; December 3, 1997
- Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images