10 Emerging Technologies in 2009

Intelligent Software Assistant

We take a look at the recent list of 10 emerging technologies published by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) mouthpiece, Technology Review.

If Adam Cheyer has his way, the founder of an innovative Silicon Valley startup, SIRI could be an internet pioneer if he manages to create what he calls the "do engine", an online personal assistant that can do a lot more things rather than just throwing up search results. The project, which has military origins, is being now put to "civilian" use.

Human Genome Sequencing Gets Cheaper

BioNanomatrix, seems to believe in thinking big. The startup is planning to "simplify" and the entire Human Genome Mapping process and make it affordable. The aim is to bring the costs down to $100 levels, which sounds absurd considering the procedure currently costs over $1000. Nevertheless, the BioNanomatrix folks seem to have a trump card, a nanofluidic chip that will help cut costs and make the genome mapping process affordable to mere mortals. The eventuality of this could be "customized" medical treatment according to the patient's genetic profile.

More Memory, Less Space

Stuart Parkin, an ex IBM staffer has managed to develop this ultra dense memory chip, that incorporates the plus points of various technologies and amalgamates into one single chip. Using "nanowires" he has managed to create "Race Track Memory", a memory chip which combines the large capacity of a "normal" hard drive, the durability of electronic flash memory, and speed superior higher than either of these. We'll take two!

Biological Machines

Cyborgs are cool things. I mean they are almost robot like, but at the same time, are living beings with some chips and sensors here and there. Well, 2009 might just see the addition of newer cyborgs and insects that would literally dance to our tunes. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have managed to wire a flower beetle by implanting chips and electrodes to its body with which they and can control the insects flight path -- wirelessly.

Paper Diagnostics

This might just be one of those things that when you first hear about, you just stand there looking lost and awestruck. Apparently, Harvard University professor George Whitesides has developed unique techniques to perform diagnostic tests using nothing but paper. The somewhat weird looking contraptions you see in the image are actual diagnostic kits. Their way of working is even more fascinating!

Fluid Power! Here come Liquid Batteries

Donald Sadoway, an MIT Chemistry professor has developed a new kind of battery which is almost entirely liquid in nature/except for the enclosure maybe! Unlike the case of "normal" batteries, its electrodes are molten metals, and the electrolyte that conducts current between them is a molten salt. This results in an effective and long lasting battery that can far outperform any of its "solid" competition.

Traveling-Wave Reactors

Today's Nuclear Reactors are Enriched Uranium gobblers when you compare them to this new kind of reactor known as Traveling Wave Reactors. These reactors use very little Enriched Uranium and instead uses depleted-uranium fuel packed the reactor .The process of power generation does however require a small amount of enriched uranium to get started and could run for decades without the need for a refueling.


Gosh! You might have faced a tough time pronouncing that. Well Nano whatever that is, is a new branch of nanotechnology that deals with tiny things on a large scale, you know, tiny electrical sensors, circuits and implantable medical instruments that you might face difficulty making out even under a microscope.


Most users around the globe do not have the luxury of browsing at breakneck speeds. For most of them, getting to open even a single page on a website constitutes an achievement. Internet access is important - but what use is it if it just does not serve the purpose? Vivek Pai, a computer scientist at Princeton University has developed this low-cost, low-power HashCache technology that will help users with slow internet connections to browse content as much as 4 times faster than normal.

Software-Defined Networking

Nick McKeown of Stanford University and friends have managed to create a new standard called OpenFlow that helps researchers to define data flows across large networks using software-something that was unthinkable till now thanks to various limitations in the form of locked software and intellectual property related issues from large corporations. With this software, they hope to speed up the Internet.

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