Differential technological development is a strategy proposed by transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom in which societies would seek to influence the sequence in which emerging technologies developed. On this approach, societies would strive to retard the development of harmful technologies and their applications, while accelerating the development of beneficial technologies, especially those that offer protection against the harmful ones.
Paul Christiano believes that while accelerating technological progress appears to be one of the best ways to improve human welfare in the next few decades, a faster rate of growth cannot be equally important for the far future because growth must eventually saturate due to physical limits. Hence, from the perspective of the far future, differential technological development appears more crucial.
Inspired by Bostrom's proposal, Luke Muehlhauser and Anna Salamon suggested a more general project of "differential intellectual progress", in which society advances its wisdom, philosophical sophistication, and understanding of risks faster than its technological power. Brian Tomasik has expanded on this notion.
An adaptive compliant wing is a wing which is flexible so that aspects of its shape can be changed in flight.An adaptive compliant wing designed by FlexSys Inc. features a variable-camber trailing edge which can be deflected up to ±10°, so that it acts like a flap-equipped wing, but without the individual segments and gaps typical in a flap system. The wing itself can be twisted up to 1° per foot of span. The wing's shape can be changed at a rate of 30° per second, which is ideal for gust load alleviation. The development of the adaptive compliant wing is being sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. Initially, the wing was tested in a wind tunnel, and then a 50-inch (1.3 m) section of wing was flight tested on board the Scaled Composites White Knight research aircraft in a seven-flight, 20-hour program operated from the Mojave Spaceport. Control methods are proposed.Adaptive compliant wings are also investigated at ETH Zurich in the frame of the Smart airfoil project.Airless tire
Airless tires, or non-pneumatic tires (NPT), are tires that are not supported by air pressure. They are used on some small vehicles such as riding lawn mowers and motorized golf carts. They are also used on heavy equipment such as backhoes, which are required to operate on sites such as building demolition, where risk of tire punctures is high. Tires composed of closed-cell polyurethane foam are also made for bicycles and wheelchairs.Atomtronics
Atomtronics is an emerging sub-field of ultracold atomic physics which encompasses a broad range of topics featuring guided atomic matter waves. The systems typically include components analogous to those found in electronic or optical systems, such as beam splitters and transistors. Applications range from studies of fundamental physics to the development of practical devices.Automated restaurant
Automated restaurant or robotic restaurant is a restaurant that uses robots to do tasks such as delivering food and drinks to the tables and/or to cook the food.Bionic contact lens
Bionic contact lenses are devices that, it is proposed by the manufacturers and developers, could provide a virtual display that could have a variety of uses from assisting the visually impaired to video gaming. The device will have the form of a conventional contact lens with added bionics technology in the form of augmented reality, with functional electronic circuits and infrared lights to create a virtual display allowing the viewer to see a computer-generated display superimposed on the world outside.Closed ecological system
Closed ecological systems (CES) are ecosystems that do not rely on matter exchange with any part outside the system.
The term is most often used to describe small manmade ecosystems. Such systems are scientifically interesting and can potentially serve as a life support system during space flights, in space stations or space habitats.In a closed ecological system, any waste products produced by one species must be used by at least one other species. If the purpose is to maintain a life form, such as a mouse or a human, waste products such as carbon dioxide, feces and urine must eventually be converted into oxygen, food, and water.
A closed ecological system must contain at least one autotrophic organism. While both chemotrophic and phototrophic organisms are plausible, almost all closed ecological systems to date are based on a phototroph such as green algae.Cryoprotectant
A cryoprotectant is a substance used to protect biological tissue from freezing damage (i.e. that due to ice formation). Arctic and Antarctic insects, fish and amphibians create cryoprotectants (antifreeze compounds and antifreeze proteins) in their bodies to minimize freezing damage during cold winter periods. Cryoprotectants are also used to preserve living materials in the study of biology and to preserve food products.Ferroelectric liquid crystal display
Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal Display (FLCD) is a display technology based on the ferroelectric properties of chiral smectic liquid crystals as proposed in 1980 by Clark and Lagerwall.The FLCD did not make many inroads as a direct view display device. Manufacturing of larger FLCDs was problematic making them unable to compete against direct view LCDs based on nematic liquid crystals using the Twisted nematic field effect or In-Plane Switching. Today, the FLCD is used in reflective microdisplays based on Liquid Crystal on Silicon technology. Using ferroelectric liquid crystal (FLC) in FLCoS technology allows a much smaller display area which eliminates the problems of manufacturing larger area FLC displays. Additionally, the dot pitch or pixel pitch of such displays can be as low as 6 µm giving a very high resolution display in a small area. To produce color and grey-scale, time multiplexing is used, exploiting the sub-millisecond switching time of the ferroelectric liquid crystal.
These microdisplays find applications in 3D head mounted displays (HMD), image insertion in surgical microscopes and electronic viewfinders where direct-view LCDs fail to provide more than 600 ppi resolution.
Ferroelectric LCoS also finds commercial uses in Structured illumination for 3D-Metrology and Super-resolution microscopy. Some commercial products use FLCD.High switching allows building optical switches and shutters in printer heads.Holographic display
A holographic display is a type of display that utilizes light diffraction to create a virtual three-dimensional image of an object. Holographic displays are distinguished from other forms of 3D imaging in that they do not require the aid of any special glasses or external equipment for a viewer to see the image.Multi-function structure
Multi-function material is a composite material. The traditional approach to the development of structures is to address the loadcarrying function and other functional requirements separately. Recently, however, there has been increased interest in the development of load-bearing materials and structures which have integral non-load-bearing functions, guided by recent discoveries about how multifunctional biological systems work.Multi-primary color display
Multi-primary color (MPC) display is a display that can reproduce a wider gamut color than conventional displays. In addition to the standard RGB (Red Green and Blue) color subpixels, the technology utilizes additional colors, such as yellow, magenta and cyan, and thus increases the range of displayable colors that the human eye can see.Sharp's Quattron is the brand name of an LCD color display technology that utilizes a yellow fourth color subpixel. It is used in Sharp's Aquos LCD TV product line, particularly in models with screens 40 inches across and larger.Ocean colonization
Ocean colonization or ocean colonisation is the theory and practice of permanent human settlement of oceans. Such settlements may be seasteads floating on the surface of the water, or exist as underwater habitats secured to the ocean floor, or in an intermediate position.One primary purpose of ocean colonization is the expansion of livable area. Other possible benefits include expanded access to undersea resources, novel forms of governance (for instance micronations), and new recreational activities.Lessons learned from ocean colonization may prove applicable to space colonization. The ocean may prove simpler to colonize than space and thus occur first, providing a proving ground for the latter. In particular, the issue of sovereignty may bear many similarities between ocean and space colonization; adjustments to social life under harsher circumstances would apply similarly to the ocean and to space; and many technologies may have uses in both environments.Organic light-emitting transistor
An organic light-emitting transistor (OLET) is a form of transistor that emits light. These transistors have potential for digital displays and on-chip optical interconnects. OLET is a new light-emission concept, providing planar light sources that can be easily integrated in substrates like silicon, glass, and paper using standard microelectronic techniques.OLETs differ from OLEDs in that an active matrix can be made entirely of OLETs, whereas OLEDs must be combined with switching elements such as TFTs.Plasma weapon
When discussing weapons in science fiction, a plasma weapon is a type of raygun that fires a stream, bolt(s), pulse or toroid of plasma (i.e. very hot, very energetic excited matter). The primary damage mechanism of these fictional weapons is usually thermal transfer; it typically causes serious burns, and often immediate death of living creatures, and melts or evaporates other materials. In certain fiction, plasma weapons may also have a significant kinetic energy component, that is to say the ionized material is projected with sufficient momentum to cause some secondary impact damage in addition to causing high thermal damage. In some fictions, like Star Wars, plasma is highly effective against mechanical targets such as droids. The ionized gas disrupts their systems.
Fictional plasma weapons are often visually analogous to real-life plasma torches that cut into materials for industrial use purposes; however, said torches currently only produce a plasma jet of several inches at most.Screenless video
Screenless video is any system for transmitting visual information from a video source without the use of a screen. Screenless computing systems can be divided into three groups: Visual Image, Retinal Direct, and Synaptic Interface.Technological evolution
Technological evolution is a theory of radical transformation of society through technological development. This theory originated with Czech philosopher Radovan Richta.Teleportation
Teleportation is the theoretical transfer of matter or energy from one point to another without traversing the physical space between them. Teleportation, or the ability to transport a person or object instantly from one place to another, is a technology that could change the course of civilization and alter the destiny of nations. It is a common subject in science fiction literature, film, video games, and television. In some situations teleporting is time traveling across space.
Since 1993, energy and particle teleportation has become a hot topic in quantum mechanics.Utility fog
Utility fog (coined by Dr. John Storrs Hall in 1993) is a hypothetical collection of tiny robots that can replicate a physical structure. As such, it is a form of self-reconfiguring modular robotics.Virtual retinal display
A virtual retinal display (VRD), also known as a retinal scan display (RSD) or retinal projector (RP), is a display technology that draws a raster display (like a television) directly onto the retina of the eye. The user sees what appears to be a conventional display floating in space in front of them.