5 Innovative Technologies You Never Knew Existed

April 24, 2014

Entrepreneurs on the forefront of tomorrow’s technologies


Imagine this: You keep an office with other researchers and innovators in a co-working space like WeWork or One Lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard – except this one is made entirely out of 3D printed buildings. On your drive home, the edges of the road are marked by glowing auto-luminescent plants. But it doesn’t end there. The color of your car is Sooo last year! Time for an update. Now, you can change the color of your paint job with crystals embedded in the paint.


Let’s face it, we’re working different and living different than we did even ten years ago. And who has been on the forefront of those changes, but entrepreneurs.


Below are five new technologies being developed RIGHT NOW from the brains of enterprising entrepreneurs from around the world.


1. 3-D printing on a large scale


It seems 3D printers came out only a few years ago, but it’s no longer YouTube videos of dancers making faulty looking furniture. Well, let me tell you, the technology has certainly come a long way.


The first working 3D printer was created in 1984 by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp. Since the start of the 21st century there has not only been a large growth in sales, but also the kinds of products being built.


A complete 3D-printed house just went up in Amsterdam and whole villages have been built using the technology in China. Even GE is getting in on the technology… finding a way to manufacture jet parts with the technology.


It’s called additive manufacturing—the industrial version of 3-D printing— and it’s already used to make things like medical implants and plastic prototypes. But the decision to make large numbers of parts to be used in a thousand pound machine that flies through the air – well, that’s something entirely new.


2. From the Other Side of the Looking Glass


Do you remember that scene from Alice in Wonderland where the caterpillar is sitting on a glowing mushroom? Well, now fiction comes to life. Enter BioGlow, a company that works on genetically modifying plants so that they glow in the dark.


Tal Eidelberg worked on the initial stages of the project with his good friend, founder and CEO of BioGlow – Dr. Alexander Krichevsky .


"Just like no one could imagine transistors leading to the iPhone, we’re witnessing the birth of the new segment," Tal said. "Right now it’s an ornamental plant. But… [we’re looking into] how this could go into lighting the sides of a highway or runways and driveways. "


3. Not Just For Sitting Around Anymore


It seems kind of mundane, but as we’re heading into the age of the ever present mobile devices and tablets replacing the traditional desktop computers, we are becoming more mobile and more fluid. This in turn allows workers to congregate in different environments than they were previously able to. That means furniture that’s mobile and adaptable – kinda like the employees using them!


Steelcase is on the forefront of designs to accommodate this new mobile workforce with a new line of office furniture streamlined to allow workers to move where they will.


The line was designed by Steelcase, a 23-person company of anthropologists, researchers and designers. They’ve even developed an electronic device that enables workers in a meeting to share notes and data on a video screen.


4. Keep Your Eyes On The Road


Not like we need more people bumping into you because they’re texting while walking, but imagine a smartphone you never had to take out of your pocket (that means it won’t drop into the toilet, either :-P). In fact, you don’t have to take it out of your pocket at all because it stays on your wrist!


See the Pebble Smart Watch…. Eric Migicovsky didn’t really want a “wearable computer.” When he first came up with Pebble five years ago as a student, he just wanted to use his phone without crashing his bike.“I thought of creating a watch that could grab information from my phone,” the 26-year-old Canadian says. “I ended up building a prototype in my dorm room.” Now Migicovsky is shipping 85,000 Pebble watches to customers all over the world who still probably won’t keep their eyes on the road.


The $150 Pebble uses Bluetooth to connect to android and iOS smartphones and displays notifications on a small black-and-white LCD screen that can be read in sunlight and won’t go to “sleep”. Just what we need for all those mobile know-it-alls!


5. Well, that’s a horse of a different color


A group of scientists at University of Michigan Military is working right now on an application that will be used to camouflage military vehicles. But like with many inventions that were only intended for military use (Hello, Wi-Fi!), it could effectively change the way we see paint – literally!


The scientists there have created a latex paint solution with negatively- or positively-charged crystal micro-particles that change color when exposed to light, or change back in the dark.


Other possible applications could be used in e-readers or dynamic billboards.

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