Tag Archives: future

A Talk from Ray Kurzweil

The video shows a keynote of inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil in February 2005. Despite being more than three years old, his insights remain as valid as ever.

Some of the points Mr. Kurzweil makes:

  • Most new inventions fail only because of wrong timing. Not all enabling factors will be in place when needed.
  • The price of Google stock in three years, or which wireless standard will win, can not be predicted.
  • The cost of a MIPS or a MB of data transmitted wirelessly in 5 years can be quite accurately predicted.
  • As the power of computing grows new applications will emerge to benefit from it.
  • In 2020 there will be no computers as we know them today. They will be embedded into other systems, including our body.
  • In 2020 computers will be able to record and reproduce emotions our nervous system.

In summary, when searching for the next breakthrough application always consider what future we are facing, what kind of computers we will have in the next 5-10 years, and more importantly what kind of problems will all this bring.

Focus on solving the problems of the future by harnessing the power of the computers of tomorrow.

Wireless Energy Transmission for my Laptop

When will my laptop be totally wireless, even to recharge the battery? The future might be sooner than we thought, and Nanotechnology will be part of it.

There are many types of Wireless Energy Transmission although none of them have gone further than a prototype. For home use, powerbeaming could be the technology to free our portable devices from wires. Powerbeaming works based on a Laser system at one end that beams to a Solar Cell at the other end that transforms light into a DC current.

Current lasers have a 30-60% efficiency that combined with a 40-50% efficiency of solar cells, brings the overall efficiency at a maximum of 30%, still not too bad compared with electric bulbs. But Nanotechnology might boost these efficiencies at both ends.  

Solid-state lightning  promises up to 100% efficiency to convert electricity into light, once that we have atomically precise manufacturing technologies to arrange light-emitting building blocks in a controlled manner.

Today’s CIGS, CdTE or thin-film silicon are bringing down prices of Solar Cells. The ability to manufacture defect-free nanomaterials would improve efficiency at an exponential rate. With laptops foreseen to be equipped with solar cells in less than 10 years, solid-state lightning beams could be a wireless replacement to a wall socket.

 Picture from Wikipedia: NASA prototype of lightweight plane powered by a laser beam and a solar cell.

The Nanotechnology Revolution Is Coming

Nanotechnology aims a the fabrication of a wider range of materials with atomic precision. Advances in nanotechnology will have a huge impact in solving some of the challenges of today, such as global warming, sustainable energy, new cures for diseases, more powerful computers or ultra-high performance materials.

Some of the immediate applications we will see in the coming years include:

  • Nano-enabled fuel cells and solar photovoltaics
  • Anti-vital, cancer agents
  • Nano-Biosensors
  • Electric Nanomotors
  • Post-silicon computers, including Petabit memories and exaflop processors
  • Solid State Lighting. OLED and LED could provide close to 100% thermodynamic efficiency, compared to 22% or current artificial lighting

In computing, nanotube transistors would enable faster microprocessors, data storage could be based on DNA structures, and optical transmission would use Optical Waveguides that replace glass by atomically precise crystalline structures that would eliminate the irregularities that cause signal loss.

A bright future that requires atomically precise manufacturing (APM) capabilities to be mastered. Atomically precise productive nanosystems (APPN) are nanoscale APM systems to fabricate nanostructures. APPN exist in nature, such as a ribosome that “manufactures” proteins. Advances in Atomically Precise Technologies, and in particular in APM and APPN, in next years will be key to enable the Nano-Industrial revolution.

2018. What Laptop Will You Use in Ten Years?

We have lived enough IT history to know that reality has exceeded Moore’s Law prediction of computers doubling capacity every 18 months. In fact, the period is now close to 12 months.

Following this exponential growth these are the specs for a $1500 Laptop in 2018, and some accessories:

  • Microprocessor number of Cores: 256 Cores 1.9 Teraflops
  • RAM: 500 Gigabytes
  • Solid-State HD: 32 Terabytes
  • Flash memory cards (SD-HC, Compact): 16 Terabytes
  • Wifi: 1 Gbps
  • Broadband: 8 Gbps
  • External NAS: 1 Petabyte
  • iPod 5G: 8TB at $199, 16TB (3.5 million songs) at $299

With the advances in nanotechnology applied to solar photovoltaics cells and more efficient batteries, laptops will be solar powered, and will not need to connect to the power grid with a normal use. The OS user interface will be based in Motion-Sensing Gesture and Speech Recognition.

IBM Supercomputer Roadrunner was recently news for breaking the one Petaflop proccessing power mark.  At the current pace, probably with a microprocessor based in nanostructures and fotonic technology, a laptop in 2028 will have the same processing power.

The question is, what use will we give to such powerful machines?

Reference:  Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns.

Note: Projection for number of cores assumes 18 months to double capacity, since multiple core technology is relatively new. Flash memory, broadband bandwith and iPod projections follow the pace of 12 month experienced in recent years.