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Today’s flatscreens will look like off-the-rack suits compared to the bespoke fit of fine-pitch LED tiles.
Today’s flatscreens will look like off-the-rack suits compared to the bespoke fit of fine-pitch LED tiles.
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10 biggest tech trends to come—from talking bikes to tile TVs

We asked experts for their best predictions for the decade ahead. Sorry Jetpack fans: That long-awaited dream didn’t make the cut.

1. Dinner won’t get burnt.

“The oven of the future will basically give you microwave convenience with restaurant quality and ultimate control," said Dave Arnold, inventor and an owner of the Booker and Dax food science development company. You can currently find this tech—“super forced-air convection, steam injection, and very accurate temperature control, all run by incredibly smart microprocessors"—only in ultra-premium equipment.

2. Pills will diagnose us.

While wearable devices like Fitbits or the new Amazon Halo obsessively track health-related data, the future of health tracking “will take place inside the body," said Lucas Werthein, founder and head of tech and production for the innovation consultancy Cactus. “With widespread use of nanotechnology, people will be able to swallow a pill and have every aspect of their health analyzed in real-time."

3. Bikes will talk back.

As e-bikes and scooters replace cars in the urban infrastructure, they’ll offer riders info as detailed as that on car dashboards, likely via augmented reality (AR), said Shabazz Stuart, founder of Oonee, maker of secure bike and scooter parking pods. Bonus: “Your bike will be able to communicate with you what it needs, like if your tires are low, or your gears are messed up," he said.

4. We’ll be visionaries.

Extreme camera technologies might well be embedded in your phone, AR glasses or even optical implants, giving you “superhuman vision, like X-rays in your eyes," said Ramesh Raskar, founder of the Camera Culture Group at MIT. Other innovations? You could “read a book without opening it," he said. Or see through fog while you ride your talking bike home.

5. Tile TVs will take over.

Today’s flatscreens will look like off-the-rack suits compared to the bespoke fit of fine-pitch LED tiles, said Chris Smith, principal of tech consultants at TheCoTeam. These small, ultra-high-def screens can be seamlessly joined in any configuration. We’ll be able, he said, to “create something that covers the entire surface area or visual plane of a space," much bigger than a 100-inch traditional screen. “Imagine that the display in resting state is wallpaper."

6. We’ll all eat smarter.

Plates that use sensors and artificial intelligence will “show diners information they need to stay safe," said Linda Pouliot, co-founder of Neato and Dishcraft Robotics. “Smart Plates" would be able to detect bacteria and viruses, show how fresh food is and test for allergens like peanuts. “It can even show calories, but we probably won’t add that feature to a dessert plate."

7. We’ll use our heads.

Someday soonish, we’ll be able to accomplish simple tech tasks like scrolling through pictures, paying at the grocery store or choosing a response to a text with mind control. Earbuds or other compact wearables will replace the tangles of wires and stacks of sensors currently needed for any brain-computer interfaces.

8. Pond scum will fuel cars.

While Charity Everett, a storyteller and “future weaver" who works with AR foresees tech continuing to infiltrate cars, she’s most excited by what might infiltrate gas tanks: algae. “Any fossil fuel you burn is generally an aged form of algae," she said. “When you cut out millions of years of aging and instead get that fuel straight from the source, you have a fuel that is literally green."

9. A bright future is ahead.

An LED bulb purchased today might not need changing for a decade. By that time illumination might come from lasers, diffused via mirrors or fiber optics. The headlights of some BMW i8s currently use this enlightening tech, but in time it will go from stark autobahn illumination to the cozy glow of a bedside lamp.

10. But sorry, no jetpacks.

Forget zipping past traffic. Mike Hirschberg, executive director of the Vertical Flight Society, said commuters may soon be able to hop over it. He sees eVTOLs—electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft—becoming part of the urban skyscape, as airport shuttles, emergency medical transport and air taxis. As for the perennial dream of jetpacks? “Too noisy, and too limited of range."

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