Human ingenuity continues to push the world beyond its limits. The products of high-tech engineering innovations are making life easier for 21st-century citizens. Indeed, necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. Over the last couple of years, numerous state-of-the-art technologies have been launched from the engineering domains to solve one problem or another.
The 4th industrial revolution promised to transform the world from several perspectives. And right now, some of those promises are already fulfilled while others are still in the pipeline. Here is a look at the top eight engineering technologies that are changing the world.
1. Computer vision
In the field of computer science/engineering, “vision” talks about devices that can identify everyday objects, places, and even people from visual scenes (images collected by cameras and sensors). If you are a social media fanatic who can’t wait a minute without taking a selfie, you should be familiar with the concept of computer vision. Smartphone cameras equipped with this technology, can detect your face precisely and allow you to take awesome selfies.
Another application of this technology can be seen in Google’s Image Search features. As the year 2020 moves forward, computer-vision-enabled devices will be launched along the line to serve different applications. The exciting news here is that when autonomous vehicles are integrated with vision technology, they will be able to “see” better and navigate their ways through obstacles. Production line workers will not be left out. They will be using cameras to track and identify faults in factory machines. Finally, security cameras and video surveillance systems will be able to spot events and alert managers about potential threats. This will not require personnel to be monitoring security cameras 24/7.
2. Artificial intelligence (AI)
Who would have thought that AI research will speed up to this level? Well, it has already happened. Undoubtedly, Artificial Intelligence can be considered as one of the fastest-growing advanced tech industries. Several companies in different sectors are beginning to explore the role of AI in the improvement of their business operations, including customers’ experiences. 2020 is seeing factory employees work alongside intelligent robots in the manufacturing of various machines.
AI, as a service, is driving tech giants like Google and Amazon to build AI platforms that allow users to input their data and only pay for computing resources they use. In the end, no company or entity will be left out of the world of AI. The coming years are expected to witness a world-wide adoption of tailored AI applications for the execution of the specialized tasks. However, there are deep fears that when AI progresses to its upper limits, it can disrupt the human workforce.
3. 5G connectivity
Also known as 5th generation connectivity, 5G has the potential to rule different engineering innovations. The impact of the super-fast connectivity has unfortunately been linked to things beyond its spectrum. Indeed it is expected to connect people and even machines together to enhance our way of doing things. Naysayers have attempted to connect 5G with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Even more shocking is the fact 5G telecom towers have been vandalized in some parts of the world by people who cannot wrap their minds around the technology. As far as the science agrees, 5G is tipped to power almost all the advancements in various tech fields, including mobile networks. Consequently, every facet of human endeavor is poised to experience the drastic changes brought forth by the 5G revolution.
4. Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things is an attempt to connect everyday physical objects equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID sensors) to the internet. This means everyday devices such as fridges and fans, can be hooked to the web with IP addresses. This technology is expected to completely dominate all engineering technologies moving forward beyond 2020. Interestingly, the success of this technology will also depend on that of 5G connectivity. Even though it’s hard to assess the situation, there is a possibility that IoT can generate employment for engineers. That’s to say their skills will be in high demand if IoT products are to work well with the internet. The effective application of IoT may require engineers to stay alert when a network of sensors communicate with one another through the web.
5. Cyber-security engineering
The migration of physical devices to the world wide web will surely raise internet security concerns. Hostile actors (hackers) are far from being rooted out of the web. Security challenges are bound to arise when IoT trends move from development stages to the market. Cyber-security engineering will come into the equation to meet the changing demands for privacy and online security. By the end of 2020, cyber-security recruitment patterns are expected to undergo drastic changes. So, people will have to prioritize their IoT security needs. After all, one technological challenge often creates room for new solutions to be engineered.
6. Personalized & predictive medicine
Advanced technologies are also impacting the healthcare industry in unprecedented ways. Wearable technology, for example, is a big driver in that regard. If health workers can leverage the data feed from wearable devices like smart-watches, they will gain relevant insights to diagnose and treat patients long before they show any symptoms. Think about how cool it will be, assuming that there are smart wearable devices that can detect Covid-19 patients even before they show any symptoms. This could have helped to prevent some level of transmission of the deadly virus since infected people can be quarantined early enough. Personalized medicine, also known as precision medicine, can allow medical experts to prescribe medicines more precisely and offer effective treatment.
Data-driven approaches will allow doctors to understand how to tailor treatment for specific patients. As new as it seems, the idea of personalized medicine and treatment is coming close to reality, thanks to successes chalked in genomics and artificial intelligence (AI). Medical practitioners are beginning to understand how the bodies of patients are good or bad at fighting off certain diseases, including their reactions to specific medications. From 2020 and beyond, the world can expect to see a wave of predictive healthcare solutions take a strong turn for better diagnosis and treatment. This will be a dream-come-true for everyone. More lives will be saved, and the world will look healthier than ever before.
7. Autonomous vehicles
Drivers are about to take long breaks from their steering wheels due to this innovation. The idea of self-driving cars was conceived a long time ago, and now, autonomous vehicles are being tested on driveways. Even though they are yet to be fully commercialized, 2020 came with people enjoying exciting rides in driverless cars. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is one of the tech geeks who are investing massively in the development of electrically-powered autonomous vehicles.
The number of cars that will be equipped with automated braking systems and lane-hanging capabilities will grow up as the years come by. Apart from the quest to transition to autonomous vehicles, automakers like Tesla, are also adding extra security and entertainment features to modern cars. These will rely on data collection and analytics. Waymo, a sister company of Google, has successfully tried and tested autonomous taxis in the State of California. After a month into the first trial phase, over 6,000 passengers were transported in Waymo’s autonomous taxis.
It’s only a matter of time before governments will grant automakers the green light to move from development and testing to real autonomous car businesses. But if everything is to work out well with autonomous vehicles, the driveways will need to be as safe as possible. This may mean that drainage systems along the highways will have to be considered as well. Thankfully, with a linear drain system, road safety measures for autonomous vehicles can be addressed to a certain degree.
8. Blockchain technology
Blockchain Technology has become central to the success of the multi-billion dollar cryptocurrency industry. But what’s the blockchain all about? And how is this innovation revolutionizing the world of finance? Well, think of the blockchain as a shared record of past transactions in a cryptocurrency network. It’s a secure public ledger book that records cryptocurrency transactions. Advanced encryption technologies make the blockchain secure and immutable. A network of computers also allows the blockchain to compute and verify transactions without the need for central controllers.
Decentralized exchanges thrive on this platform to engage in the business of cryptographic digital currencies. The benefits of blockchain technology are numerous in the sense that it guarantees transparency while promising anonymity and security. When Bitcoin (BTC), the market leader of crypto coins, was launched around 2009, the blockchain revolution was also born. Tech companies like Facebook are jumping on the bandwagon of the blockchain as they plan to launch the Libra cryptocurrency. As far as the blockchain is convenient, there’s no turning back. Many financial institutions are looking forward to using blockchain technology as a cybersecurity solution.
Numerous engineering innovations are set to impact the world in the coming years. The above top eight technologies should make you optimistic about the future.