Peter Diamandis, founder of the X PRICE Foundation, co-founder of Singularity University and initial force behind an array of impressive companies have made his prediction regarding which technologies will go big during 2015. The article was featured at Singularity Hub, and when Peter speaks we are bound to listen.
Mistbreaker has compiled an easy-to-read summary for you, and we also took the liberty of providing you with a lot of extra info and add all the relevant links. As always, we hope that we have managed to make the article more easily digestible than the original one for our readers.
1. Virtual Reality
Expect more thrilling applications to come within the field of virtual reality than you ever expected. Here are some interesting companies for you:
For instance, High Fidelity (the successor to Second Life) brings virtual worlds and user interaction to a new level. Using the Ocolus Rift device you will experience something totally novel. Check out this article from the MIT Technology Review for a thrilling read and a video of what to expect.
Furhtermore, Immersive Media (the company behind Google’s Streetview), Giroptic (the Kickstarter project creating the world’s first full HD 360° camera) and Jaunt (creating cinematic VR technology) all bring exciting 360-degree 3D-camera solutions to market in the coming year.
Also Oculus, one of the most hyped companies during the past year, is also contributing with new gear during 2015. The new Crescent Bay will be able to interact with Kickstarter project Nimble VR’s hand- and finger-tracking inputs .Check out the Ars Technica review of the prototype here.
Finally, Magic Leap is bound to be a game-changer in the field of VR and accomplished an astounding $542 million investment round last year. The mission is to generate real-world 3D images which are indistinguishable from actual objects. Check out the homepage, seriously.
2. Mass-market Robots
In case anyone missed it: the robots are coming. We have seen many commercialized announcements and advanced prototypes during 2014 and we can only assume that we will increasingly pick up speed where it comes to the development of robotics. Here are some interesting company cases:
For starters, Google acquired eight robotics companies during late 2013 and we could imagine that we will see some serious action during the present year. Whereas some predict that Google’s purchase of artificial intelligence firm DeepMind not will be synergizing the robotics development intially, some others do think it is very likely.
Fellow Robots constitute another example of the robotics movement and is a company with ties to Singularity University and is at the forefront of bringing real in-store helping robots to retail, as also earlier reported by Mistbreaker.
Moreover, Aldebaran Robotics has created the widely known robot Pepper for SoftBank Mobile, which is one of Japans largest mobile phone operators, for greeting and interacting with customers in stores. However, Pepper is one of the closest things we have to an intelligent personal robot and is good for a variety of things. The robot is also to be used to help kids with autism interact with the world with less friction.
Keecker on the other hand is a kind of robot (even if the company prefers to call it HomePod) which can move around the house and project any kind of content on any surface. At the same time it will provide you with data about your home and act as your ears and eyes when you are away. This Kickstarter project is really nice but quite hard to describe in text due to its novelty, so feel free to check it out by clicking the company or the Kickstarter link.
Moreover, Mistbreaker wants to highlight the family robot Jibo, which is an Indiegogo project with already around 5,000 pre-sold units (and now has a pre-order stop due to the heavy pressure). Jibo is voice-controlled and contains artificial intelligence algorithms to learn more every day. It recognizes and tracks faces and apart from being entertaining it also acts as a personal assistant.
Finally, we also want to mention Knightscope which is an autonomous crime preventing robot patrolling parking lots for instance. The robot fleet is already deployed in Microsoft campuses, keeping them safe at night. The story of Knightscope has also previously been told in an earlier article here at Mistbreaker.
3. Autonomous Vehicles
Peter Adamandis predicts that we will see incredible developments in autonomous vehicle technology during 2015. There is vast load of brands (apart from Google) that are working on these solutions. Some of the world’s largest auto manufacturers already have solutions that soon could hit the market. These include Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW and of course Tesla.
Mistbreaker can reveal that Audi’s firs fully autonomous car, the next generation of model A8, is expected to arrive in 2017, according to CarAdvice. The Volkswagen group also has several additional projects in the pipeline for its other brands.
BMW will begin testing its autonomous vehicles in China on its multilevel highways, according to CNET. The autonomous cars have already performed so well in Germany and other parts of Europe that they seem to be up for more complex tasks.
Also it is worth mentioning is the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, which already has a semi-autonomous car ready to hit market. Nevertheless, the founder Elon Musk tells The Huffington Post that Tesla will put out its first totally driverless vehicle by 2023.
Conclusively, we think that Elon Musk might be right in not being overoptimistic regarding the case of autonomous cars. Even if several countries and states are about to pass legislation about driverless vehicles it is quite unlikely that they will “go big” in 2015. However, we will definitely hear more about them and the marvelous pace of development.
4. Drones Everywhere
Diamandis also claims that this will be an ever bigger year for drones. They are “getting cheaper, easier to use, more automated, and are now finding more useful and lucrative applications”. Consumer drones equipped with high quality cameras and autopilot software are “military-grade surveillance units and are now finding use in agriculture, construction and energy applications”.
An interesting example of the drone development is the incredibly small one called Zano which was funded by a massively successful Kickstarter campaign. The flying robot is smart phone – connected and can be gesture controlled. It can follow you wherever you go without you having to steer it, and if your phone running out of batteries it will automatically return to you in time.
5. Wireless Power
Wireless power seems like one of those things everyone always dreams about. Now, you can soon even forget the concepts of charging pads we previously witnessed if you wish, since the most exciting solutions will charge your phone directly in your pocket. According to Diamandis, we might finally see a key “interface moment” during 2015 that will make wireless power go mainstream. You can check out two of the more exciting companies below:
Whereas many solutions are focused around magnetic resonance charging (think charging pads, as mentioned above) the company uBeam currently develops a solution that does not need to be in contact with a charger. The startup is working with ultrasonic sound waves that can be converted to energy. TechCrunch reports that the company took in an additional $10 million this fall, so hopefully we will see a neat solution presented soon.
Additionally, Ossia is a similarly interesting company whose technology is working by sending energy over the same bands used by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It can transmit the charge through obstructions such as walls and or human bodies and has a range of over 40 feet. The company recently raised another $24 million to boost its solutions, according to GeekWire.
6. Data and Machine Learning
Diamandis writes: “2014 saw data and algorithm driven companies like Uber and Airbnb skyrocket. There is gold in your data. And data-driven companies are the most successful exponential organizations around. In 2015, data collection and mining that data will become more turn-key.” We have seen companies driven by algorithms such as Uber and Airbnb climb to the skies lately.
There is a great need for expertise when it comes to efficiently utilizing collected data and there is a great market opportunity for a new niche of consultants. For instance, Experfy is a Harvard-connected consulting market place where companies hire experts for their Big Data. The site will allow you to find data scientists who will develop algorithms or machine learning solutions for your business/project
Enlitic is also an interesting company which uses recent advances in machine learning to make medical diagnostics faster, more accurate, and more accessible. The company’s mission is to provide the tools that allow physicians to fully utilize the vast stores of medical data collected today, regardless of what form they are in – such as medical images, doctors’ notes, and structured lab tests.
To say the least, there is truly an extreme amount of machine learning companies out there; so many that we could probably write a book about all of the impressive progress. However, we feel that we want to highlight the variety of solutions by recommending you to take a closer look at a company called Ginger.io, which was featured in a previous Mistbreaker article. The company develops smart solutions for our wearable devices in order to combat mental health problems and their solution is truly engaging.
7. Large-scale Genome Sequencing and Data Mining
In Diamandis’ own words: “We are at the knee of the curve of human genome sequencing. In 2015, we will see explosive, exponential growth in genomics and longevity research. As the cost of sequencing a single human genome plummets by orders of magnitude (now around $1,000) and the amount of useful information we glean from mining all that data skyrockets”.
Actually, the author’s own company Human Longevity, Inc constitutes one of the most interesting examples within this field. The market for healthy human longevity is enormous. Globally, total healthcare expenses run over $7 trillion, with nearly half of these funds being spent in the senior (65+) years of a person’s life to help keep them alive longer. The company turns to a huge variety of fields within science in order to tackle the diseases associated with aging-related human biological decline.
Furthermore, Mistbreaker earlier reported about the company Geneu Beauty , which has launched the initiative DNA BeautyLab which in 30 minutes gives you information that traditionally would have taken 30 days to create. The one-chip technology test the customer’s DNA for two genetic variations tied to the aging of the skin. By combining the DNA sample results with the answers from the questionnaire, individually tailored product recommendations are made by experts.
8. Sensor Explosion
Very soon there will be trillions and trillions of sensors in the world. The fields of application varies to such an extent that it is hard to comprehend. Our objects, clothes, appliances, homes, streets, cars, etc., will be constantly communicating with one and other in a very close future. Below, some companies working with interesting solutions are chosen to represent this variety. However, there are oh so many more, but please digest these interesting cases for enlightenment and an entertaining read.
Miroculus is a company which is bound to cause huge impact to the world of medicine. According to Wired, Miroculus is building a device that could easily and affordably check for dozens of cancers using a single blood sample. Current diagnostic methods for other cancers are invasive and expensive, so the vast majority of cancer patients never realize they might have cancer until something goes wrong with their health. By that point, in many cases, it’s already too late. Miroculus could make regular cancer screenings as simple as getting blood drawn.
The French company Cityzen Sciences won the CES 2014 Inclusive Innovation in Everyday Health award for its development of a Smart Sensing fabric woven with integral micro-sensors – these add the practical benefit of monitoring the health and fatigue levels of the wearer, as reported by GizMag. The Smart Sensing fabric reads body heat, respiration rate, heart rate, and motion through location via GPS. The new fabric combines sensors, fabric, distributed computation, and a small battery-powered transmitter into a unit that links in real time to a smart phone.
HealBe is a company providing another amazing innovation, which measures your calorie intake automatically through the skin (!). It provides you with information about calories consumed and burned, activity, hydration, sleep, stress levels, and more, delivered to your smart phone. This Indiegogo project is hugely successful and the first products are already almost sold out.
A different company, Blossom, is a smart watering controller that automates your sprinklers with real-time weather data and controls from your phone to reduce your water bill by up to 30%. Similarly to HealBe’s solution, this Kickstarter project is almost out of units and set for continuous success.
Another clever company called SmartQSine manufactures a pad which provides your smart phone with information about how much is left of whatever you placed on it. By setting an alarm the product will alert you when something is below a certain level, for example the amount of milk or the number of eggs in your refrigerator. When you are at the supermarket you can check if you have enough of certain item, and you can also simply forward the information to whomever you want
Additionally, and in again a different field, the connected health company BlueMaestro has developed as smart pacifier conveniently called Pacif-i. The pacifier monitors a baby’s temperature and transmits the data to an app on a parent’s smart phone or tablet. Pacif-i also features an in-built proximity sensor that allows parents to monitor the pacifier’s location and so be alerted when their child wanders off. Within the app, parents can set the distance, up to a range of 20 meters, for the alarm to be triggered when this is breached.
9. Voice Control and “Language-independent” Interaction
In 2015, we will see significant advances in voice-controlled systems and wider mass market adoption. Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana are all examples of widespread voice-control systems that are continuing to get better and better—so much so that they are being almost seamlessly integrated into our technology, across platforms. Moreover, Skype Translate is breaking new ground for real-time translation between languages, as Mistbreaker previously has reported.
Our first example Wit.ai is a platform and API that will let a developer incorporate speech recognition and a natural language interface into any app or piece of hardware. It is a natural language for the Internet of Things, and will help you add speak recognition to apps, your home, wearables, robots and messenger agents. Wit.ai learns human language from every interaction, and leverages the community: what’s learned is shared across developers.
Furthermore, The Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation has recently launched the Ubi, a WiFi connected, voice operated computer that allows for hands-free voice interaction in your home. This neat little device lets you look up facts, play music or get your e-mails read to you just by asking. Its sensors can also provide you with data about your home. This Kickstarter project listens to its environment and senses it through sound, temperature, light, pressure, and humidity. It can record this information or use it to trigger events and communication.
Another example, Amazon’s Echo, can be described as an intelligent speaker with Siri-like features. It always listens for your next command or question, it responds by giving the asked for information or by task execution. Echo’s seven microphones make sure to pick up your voice wherever you are in the room and the tube-shape provides a sound that fills all the space. Mistbreaker wrote a short announcement of the product here.
Diamandis claims that 3-D printing will continue to grow rapidly in 2015 as the number of applications increase and as printers, scanners, and CAD modeling software become more accessible, cheaper, and easier to use. We have seen and will see continuously astounding projects and clever applications of the technology.
For instance, 3D Systems develops, manufactures and markets worldwide 3D printing, rapid prototyping and manufacturing printers and parts solutions, which produce three-dimensional objects more quickly than traditional manufacturing. 3D Systems continues to innovate around the clock and is releasing a plethora of exciting things in 2015, including 3D printed food and customized chocolates.
Another exciting company is Made In Space, a startup focused on making a solid, space-ready 3D printer that can survive the vast darkness of the cosmos. The company successfully conducted the first 3D-printing in space last year. According to TechCrunch, this milestone is significant because up until now, everything that is needed in space has had to be made on Earth and then launched to space, which is an incredibly expensive and time-consuming process. This has been a tremendous impediment to progress in the space industry, and is also one of the primary factors that make space missions so risky.
Finally, Peter Diamandis wants to add a short note on Bitcoins. Although it was ranked the worst performing currency of last year, he sees an unleashed potential.
Weak currencies and uncertainty in the global economy, emerging smartphone markets in developing countries (billions coming online for the first time), better interfaces, and more commercial adopters who accept bitcoin as a form of payment will all play a role in a brighter bitcoin future.
So, this is the end of this extensive list and we surely hope that you discovered a new company or two – or even something interesting technologically speaking. We will follow up during the year with developments in the respective areas.