The twenty-first century has seen the emergence and rapid acceleration of a great many technologies. Within the next two decades these technologies will begin to have profound effects on all aspects of our lives. The things we wear, the ways we entertain ourselves, how we get around and even the food we eat will in 2035 be vastly different from what we experience today.
- As the world’s population climbs toward 8 billion and cubic space becomes increasingly valuable, everything in our lives will, by necessity, become smaller. Future designs will favour sleekness and verticality. Water and energy conservation will also be extremely important. Cost-effective appliances, like vertical self-stirring pasta cookers, are currently being patented.
- Refrigerators that monitor consumption and place grocery orders are well within the realm of possibility. Motion sensitive appliances, such as taps and rubbish bins, are already available.
- In the home of the future, every appliance will likely be controlled by a central device. Your microwave, food processor, washing machine, even your lights will be switched on, adjusted and turned off via apps in your smartphone. Most things will be chargeable via USB adapter.
- Ultra-durability. Materials that are resistant to wear and extreme temperatures are already being synthesised, though not as yet mass-manufactured. In the future, shoes could well be made redundant by heat and water proof socks…
- Self-heating and cooling. Scientists are busy developing fabrics that use the body’s own energy to heat cold skin. Heating and cooling systems such as the Peltier plate are also being incorporated into clothes, so ‘bundling up’ may soon become a thing of the past.
- Smart cars and smart roads. Hopefully, the coming decades will see groundwork being laid for sunlight-absorbing, energy-generating roadways. These roads would not only power our vehicles, they would interface with them too, creating accident-free highways and reducing the road death toll to zero.
- Supersonic jets. With the development of pulse-detonation engines that use more air and less fuel, supersonic travel will become increasingly safe and affordable. By 2035 we may well be able to fly from Sydney to London in under five hours.
That these technologies, which were unthinkable just a few decades ago, are now being actively developed is by and large due to our connectivity as facilitated by the internet. Sites that not only encourage but sponsor new patents are emerging, and we are entering an era in which anyone can be an inventor.
Of course, not everything will have changed by 2035. We will still be using handheld devices to entertain ourselves, practical, everyday objects like coat hangers will be around for at least the next two hundred years… and shoes will probably never go out of fashion.