TFOT 2013 Round-Up: Year in Review

Although some tech enthusiasts considered 2013 to be a “blah” year for technology, we have found that it was a year that drastically improved existing technologies while laying the groundwork for even better ones to emerge in the future. While there was plenty of coverage of SpaceX, google glass, mobile technology, and tech company IPO’s, we found the publicity of more unique and imperative technologies to be lacking. In case you missed some of these under-the-radar developments, here is our 2013 round-up:

Robotics: Robots are not just for super armies or spying. From crabs to cheetahs and bees, researchers have developed robotic animals that can explore and achieve feats that humans cannot. MIT Developed a Super Efficient Robotic Cheetah. With the rise of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) Scientists have also developed flying robots to pollinate like bees. Korean scientists have developed a robotic crab to explore the world down under. Aside from animals, this little autonomous indoor vehicle- Lynx-should not be overlooked.

EGO Ship Sub with Underwater View

EGO Ship Sub with Underwater View (Credit: raonhaje-ego.com)

Batteries: Tethercell is a Bluetooth operated battery that can be controlled through an app. It extends the life of battery-operated objects such as androids and ipads by allowing users to schedule when their devices should be turned on or off. While we are at it, why not completely replace your battery with this silicon super capacitator.

Transportation: In Shanghai, researchers were exploring the possibility of introducing electromagnetic buses. Meanwhile, a wireless charging electric bus was actually tested in Germany.

Not to mention 2013, saw the world’s fastest electric car go into production and a semi-submarine with an amazing view be tested.

Production of World's Fastest Electric Car 2013

Production of World’s Fastest Electric Car 2013 (Credit:detroit-electric.com)

Storage and Computing: As Formemay introduced its 2TB SC199 SSD storage back in January, TDK showed off its next generation hard-drive which could reach 20TB by 2020. Such unprecedented storage amounts have direct implications to improve a variety of industries beyond ruggedized computing ranging from: aerospace to banking and telecom to medicine.

Energy: From radically new methods for producing hydrogen from water to underwater kites producing electricity and floating wind farms, 2013 saw its fair share of innovative methods for providing solution to alternative energy. Of course developing technologies to harness the wind for energy production is crucial, but what about a way to store unused energy?

commercial hydrogen production

An artist’s conception of a commercial hydrogen production plant (Credit: University of Colorado Boulder)

Researches at MIT developed a revolutionary new method for doing just that and tested it using a small scale model.

On a smaller scale, but no less significant, 2013 saw the introduction of charging cellphones with fire.

Home Automation: Home automation is set to take off this coming year and that is due to experiments and breakthroughs made in 2013. Check out Lighty the ultimate lighting control automation system or these wallpaper sensors that has many potential applications including smart indoor communication systems.

Medical: There were many overlooked achievements made in medicine this past year. From more affordable blood test technology to the first brain-to-brain interface demonstrated, a potential to reverse autism symptoms to an AIDS vaccine that passed Phase 1 clinical trial in humans.

If you haven’t already heard, there was a significant breakthrough made in cancer research that successfully put cancer in mice into remission without the harmful side-effects usually experienced with conventional chemo and radiation. Another breakthrough huge breakthrough came in breast cancer diagnostics, where Swiss researchers developed a new silicon chip that can help identify breast cancer patients with high precision in minutes.

Last but not least, we were given a peak into the next generation MRI.

Transparent Dress

Transparent Dress (Credit: studioroosegaarde.net)

Fashion: 3d printing, monitoring technology and open source tech all found its way out of its techie niche and into the public eye, but in case you missed these interesting trends check out these dresses that go transparent and the latest wearable tech for tomorrow’s fashionista.

We were not only introduced to an “invisible” bike helmet, but also to the first motorcycle helmet with rear vision.

Gadgets: There were plenty of nifty gizmos and gadgets introduced this year, but perhaps non as unique as the iSpy Tank or the world’s first eco-ukulele.

ISpy Tank

ISpy Tank

Of course 2013 found plenty of innovative ways to use gaming technology for other purposes. Microsoft’s Kinect technology was used to diagnose depression, help the blind, and developed to aid in performing surgery.

And how’s this for a record breaker…2013 saw the world record for largest panoramic photo with 320 gigapixels!

Finally, we were brought to a place that normal search engines do not go—the deep web. Vocativ introduced us to a different way of viewing the news.

Quite honestly, 2013 was pretty fascinating and it makes us anxious to see what this next year brings.

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