The game-changers

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The game-changers

Every year, since 2001, MIT’s Technology Review has been putting together a list of, what it believes are, the 10 most important emerging technologies. For 2010, Technology Review has showcased, at www.technology-review.com/tr10, its 10 chosen winners. They include:

*Real-Time Search
* Mobile 3-D
* Engineered Stem Cells
* Solar Fuel
* Light-Trapping Photovoltaics
* Social TV
* Relying on relationships to rebuild TV audiences
* Green Concrete
* Implantable Electronics
* Dual-Action Antibodies

Real-Time Search is about social networking sites and the way they have transformed the way we seek information. Google’s Amit Singhal and his team are currently working on ways to incorporate new data into search results, in real time.

The Mobile 3-D technology can facilitate viewing of 3D video content without 3D glasses. This technology can convert 2D content to 3D in real time.

Engineered Stem Cells technology has come a long way since James Thomson and Junying Yu first transformed adult cells into stem cells in 2007. The new and improved induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) can reproduce many times over and can also develop into any cell type in the human body.  

The company, Joule Biotechnologies, has invented a technology to design a new fuel by manipulating genes. The technology uses photosynthetic micro-organisms that use sunlight to efficiently convert carbon dioxide into ethanol or diesel.

Kylie Catchpole’s Light-Trapping Photovoltaics process could possibly create a revolution in the production of solar fuels. The process deposits nanoparticles, made of silver, on thin-film photovoltaic cells to increase the cell’s efficiency.

Marie-José Montpetit, a visiting scientist at MIT’s Research Lab for Electronics, has found a way to seamlessly integrate social networks and traditional TV viewing. It would help viewers in different places share and discuss what to watch.

While producing a metric ton of commonly-used Portland cement, 650 to 920 kilograms of carbon dioxide are released. At Novacem, Nikolaos Vlasopoulos is trying to eliminate those emissions with a cement that absorbs more carbon dioxide than is released during its manufacture. The manufacturing process can lock away as much as 100 kilograms of greenhouse gas, per ton.

With the help of Implanted Electronics, medicine and its practice have been transformed to a large extent. Doctors and hospital technicians now use this technology for a better picture of what’s going on inside the body.

A major problem with chemotherapy drugs is that cancer cells can become resistant to them by mutating in ways to dodge the effect of medication. Genentech’s Dual-Action antibodies promise to help fight cancer more efficiently, by binding two different antigens, and potentially reducing the number of drugs required to treat diseases.  ‘Dual-action’ antibodies have been developed by Micromet Inc too. 

Cloud computing, which offers virtually unlimited processing and storage power, remains unexploited because of complexity barriers. Joseph Hellerstein, at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed an application called BLOOM, to modify database programming languages to build any sort of application using cloud computing — social networking sites, communi-cation tools, games and others. Bloom is gearing up for release later this year.

A few out of the 10 technologies recognised by MIT Technology Review are expected to affect lives on a large scale — better biofuels, efficient solar cells and green concrete. All of them can help tackle global warming. Some others have the potential to transform the use of technology.

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