Future Technology

Ideas for Future Inventions

The following wish list for future technology was originally intended to provide inspiration for inventors. First written in April 1997, I thought it might be fun to follow up each year and find out if anyone has been working on these futuristic ideas. I'm happy to report that there are actually inventions that are, are close to, or are kind of close to what I am hoping will soon exist in technology available to us presently.

01
of 09

Free Energy

Augmented Reality
Coneyl Jay/ Stone/ Getty Images

 

Free energy would lower the cost of living. Energy-intensive industries such as transportation and shipping would see costs go down, thereby lowering the price of goods for consumers. Hydrogen-powered vehicles would come into greater use. In turn, environmental problems would not be as prevalent--although they wouldn't completely disappear, because with unlimited energy could come unlimited damage to the world.

A significant amount of energy from the Sun is essentially free, but we can only capture a small fraction of the Sun's energy at a time. We need to harness the free energy, create electricity and distribute it to everyone's home.

With free energy, fewer people would go hungry in the world, people could travel much more cheaply, and we would see economic prosperity.

02
of 09

Teleporter

A teleporter is defined as the "traversing of a particle or an object from one point to another without actually traveling the space between them." The teleporter on "Star Trek" is the most famous teleportation technology, but could we see it come to life in the 21st century?

Teleportation faces extreme obstacles, and as of now, scientists can only teleport quantum information between photons.  According to Live Science, the "major problem is getting all the atoms in the right place [and matching] entangled particles [i.e., your body] at both ends of an intended transport." Data overload is more likely to occur, resulting in death.

Still, imagine teleporting yourself from New York City to San Francisco in seconds. Or imagine teleporting from early day China to 21st-century New Orleans--or vice versa. It's all fun and games, however, until, as in the movie "The Fly," a scientist teleports himself over a short distance but discovers he has been "merged with an unseen housefly that entered the telepod with him. The process of dematerialization and reconstitution combined his molecular structure with that of the fly."

03
of 09

Replicator Technology

A replicator was a device on Star Trek that used transporter technology to dematerialize quantities of matter and then rematerialize that matter in another form. Every time I saw Captain Picard ordering his Earl Grey Tea from one of those replicators on the Enterprise, it made me jealous. 

Add replicators into our daily lives, and it changes what we do and how we do it. A replicator would alleviate animal cruelty: You want a steak? Summon your replicator. Replicators would rid us of toxic preservatives and reduce food allergies. According to Mythcreants, replicators would "revolutionize waste disposal. We could say goodbye to separating recyclables and compostables. No more landfills or incinerators either. All of our trash simply gets put back in the replicator and broken back down to its component atoms." That is reason enough to wish for the invention of replicator technology.

04
of 09

Universal Communicator

According to Time, "The concept of a universal translator has long been a fixture of science fiction, not to mention a dream of inventors and linguists since long before computers existed." Well, it's time! Forget long-distant bills and roaming charges. I want a very small device that lets me talk and see anyone, anywhere at anytime, wit the ability to decipher any language unknown to me.

05
of 09

The Cure

Who wouldn't want to see a universal cure for--well--everything! Let's find a cure to end human suffering, to end incurable diseases and terminal illnesses--even the common cold and flu--diseases of the elderly, cancer, chronic pain, bacterial infections and mental illnesses. I'm not talking about remission--that's not a cure. We need a substance or procedures that actually end life-altering medical conditions.

06
of 09

Fountain of Youth

I consider this a no-brainer as a desire for future technology. The "Fountain of Youth" was a legendary spring that renders anyone who drinks of its waters permanently young. What is the real future technology that will extend our lives and keep us looking youthful without surgery? Is future technology in anti-aging medicine on the horizon? 

07
of 09

Protective Force Field

I need a force field to shield me from the sticks and stones. But more so, astronauts need protective force fields--more specifically, superconductive magnetic shields around their spacecrafts--to allow for safe deep-space exploration and protect them from cancer-causing cosmic rays.

 

08
of 09

Flying Cars

According to CBS News, flying cars might not be that far off: "The folks at NASA have built something called 'The Highway in the Sky.' It's a computer system designed to let millions of people fly whenever they please, and take off and land from wherever they please, in their very own vehicles." Our own personal flying machines would make life much easier, and perhaps this future technology is right around the corner ​if NASA has anything to do with it.

 

09
of 09

The Battery-Operated Butler

Ask the white-gloved, battery-operated butler to pass the salt, sweep the floor and do the dishes. Perhaps future technology will create a battery-operated butler to mow the lawn, paint the house, traverse from the kitchen to the dining room after it cooks my favorite meal. The need is real, and the time is now.