3 Technologies at the Frontiers of the Future

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dewfwqef2018 will see a major step forward in the human race’s efforts to colonize outer space, as China prepares to launch a mission to grow plants and insects on the far side of the moon. In June, the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program will launch the Chang’e 4 Mission, which will carry a special aluminum alloy container containing the seeds of potatoes, thale cress and silkworms to study how these organisms handle microgravity conditions. If the experiment goes as planned and the seeds hatch, the potatoes and thale cress will begin producing oxygen, while the silkworms will begin producing carbon dioxide, creating a basic ecosystem on the moon. The mission is designed to help study how human beings might adapt to low-gravity conditions.

As science fiction visions of colonizing outer space take a step closer to reality, cutting-edge technology back on Earth is also taking giant leaps forward. Here’s a look at three technological innovations on the frontiers of the future.

5G

5G is the top tech trend to watch in 2018, according to a presentation delivered by the Consumer Technology Association at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. In the works for years, 5G will finally become a reality this year, with Verizon announcing last November that it will be rolling out 5G wireless home broadband service to three to five U.S. cities late in 2018, starting in Sacramento. Not to be outdone, AT&T then announced in January that it will have 5G available in a dozen cities by the end of the year, and says it expects to be the first carrier to deploy the technology.

How fast will 5G be? According to the CTA’s CES presentation, a two-hour movie that would take 26 hours to download on a 3G network and six minutes to download on a 4G network would take just 3.6 seconds to download over 5G. At last year’s Mobile World Congress, Samsung demonstrated home routers with download speeds of 4 gigabits per second, fast enough to download a 100 GB 4K movie in less than four minutes or a 50 GB game in less than two minutes.

On-device AI

Artificial intelligence was another top technology trend at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. AI is one of the most revolutionary technological trends of the past few years, but until recently, the amount of computing power it consumed required support from local or remote cloud resources.

That has changed over the past year with the emergence of mobile platforms that can support on-device AI, such as the fastest Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors. Designed to be quick enough to support 5G download speeds, the new generation of Snapdragon mobile processor technology is powerful enough to run applications that require AI, such as biometric facial recognition, streaming virtual reality broadcasts and immersive VR video games. To promote these types of applications, Google recently previewed the release of TensorFlow Lite, a software library to help developers create applications that can run on on-device AI hardware. This will enable users to run a growing range of AI applications directly on mobile devices without being connected to a cloud network.

Home Robots

Home robots were also out in force at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The centerpiece of LG’s booth display was a home robot named CLOi, designed with a cute round face and big eyes. CLOi is designed to work with voice-controlled digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa to assist home owners with tasks such as remotely pre-heating the oven, washing clothes or changing the TV volume.

CLOi didn’t work as intended during its demo, causing LG some embarrassment, but other robot demonstrations were more successful. Prior to CLOi’s debut, LG demonstrated a pair of robots that can mow lawns and route people around airports, both already commercially-available in South Korea. Other manufacturers displayed forthcoming robots that can play music and videos, give wakeup and calendar reminders, read to children or serve as pets.

5G, on-device AI and home robots are three of the hottest technology trends on the horizon. These developments promise to make communications faster, devices smarter and everyday tasks easier.

Published by Kidal Delonix (918 Posts)

Kidal Delonix is a contributor to Mr. Hoffman's blog. The views and opinions are entirely his/her own and may not reflect Mr Hoffman's views.

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