The rate at which technology’s advanced over the last century has been supersonic. Just contemplating all the life-changing inventions we’ve enjoyed makes my head spin – what will we be using in 20 years time?
Last week Phillida Cheetham shared our financial forecasts for 2030. Today I want to look at the technological innovations we could look forward to.
Our Consumers in 2030 report explores current technology trends, in order to postulate the kind of tech we might be relying on in 20 or so years from now.
The future of 3D printing
First up, it’s my favourite – 3D printing. At the moment, the 3D printing scene is centred on a growing number of enthusiastic amateurs, but in 2030 they could have a major impact on our daily lives.
We could see the development of small-scale, UK-based production houses that use 3D printer technologies to ‘print’ household goods and spare parts on demand. How about using a ‘Mo. Mo. Molecule scanner’ to scan objects in order to reprint or transform them in a professional 3D fabrication lab?
Why a professional lab? Well, even though home printers might become all the rage, a professional 3D printing production house would ensure more reliable quality. Otherwise, the rise of home printers could come with a gaggle of legal battles over faulty, dangerous or even fraudulent printed products being sold.
That aside, 3D printers might launch the next fashion frontier, with every teenager wanting a 3D printer to create their own personalised objects. And if their disposable income is low, being able to refresh their belongings would certainly be a boon.
To take this a step further, we may even see large pharmaceuticals launching organ printing services to ease the shortage of replacement organs for an ageing population. Still, on-demand organs might sound too good to be true.
The future of charging our gadgets
Now to move on to something a little less bombastic – what does the future hold for charging our gadgets?
Like me, I’m sure you’re fed up with being hit by energy price hikes. And in 2030 we’ll be spending even more of our money on electricity and gas bills, so a development boom in energy harvesting tech could be very much appreciated. At the moment this type of tech is in its infancy, but with Princeton University researchers creating a flexible material that harvests energy when stressed, it’s not difficult to imagine where this might go.
How about kids charging their gadgets and game consoles through physical outdoor activity? In our report, we call this the ‘Rechargeable Kids’ system. Your children would wear ‘Super Genius Trainers’ to generate power by playing – they could then use this power to run their devices ‘off-grid’ at home. In turn, this could encourage your kids to balance the time they spend in virtual worlds with time spent playing in the real one.
On Twitter, haskipsey wants to see energy generated without as much human input:
‘Self-recharging batteries, by combination of movement, interaction with light, microwaves and utilisation of ring main system.’
So, a rechargeable kids system and 3D printing – that’s just two tech ideas for 2030. I’m sure there are many others you’d like to share, such as robot butlers or something more realistic. Do you think we’ll be 3D printing in 20 years time? How will we be charging our gadgets?