Looking back at 2019: Top 5 areas where innovative technologies "shot"

Looking back at 2019: Top 5 areas where innovative technologies

We are no longer surprised at the speed with which technologies are developing: new gadgets are entering the market, and the processes and phenomena that are familiar to us are changing. Remember, some 10-15 years ago, the world was just getting used to phones without buttons, and today every first-grader has these! This article lists 5 areas where breakthrough technologies promise to change the lives and habits of millions of people in the near future. The review was prepared using expert opinions and facts from vc.ru, rbc.ru, MIT Technology Review and other open sources.

  1. New word in medicine and biology

Since"digit” and nanotechnology were used in the study and treatment of living organisms, sensational discoveries and achievements follow one another, and the world's investment in R&D of biotechnologies (Research & Development) are already comparable to investments in it startups. And the results were not long in coming: humanity is about to defeat HIV, deal a devastating blow to cancer, and start printing vital organs and tissues on a 3D printer.

So, according to media reports, three patients diagnosed with HIV were able to overcome the virus after transplanting stem cells into the bone marrow. Experimental treatment is still at a relatively early stage and has a number of medical drawbacks and contraindications. But the very fact of successfully confronting the "Plague of the 21st century" gives hope to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Another way to fight HIV infection was suggested by gene engineers. Using CRISPR technology (an innovative method for editing human genomes), they plan to "disable" sections of DNA that cause a predisposition to the deadly virus. In addition, there are already the first positive results of the use of CRISPR in the treatment of cancers and other diseases that have a hereditary nature. While it sounds like science fiction, but scientists believe that in the near future with the help of CRISPR can generate "perfect version of themselves" - i.e., correct any genes and traits at your discretion. And then you can think about eternal youth.

What cannot be corrected by genes may be restored by generative medicine. In 2019, 3D Bio printing Solutions successfully conducted a series of experiments on 3D printing of living tissues in space.

Interest and increased investment in medical startups make this area quite attractive. At the same time, this is a real "ocean", where bold and promising projects are guaranteed to get proper development.

  1. Catering service: innovative versus traditional

Agriculture has adhered to traditional technologies for decades, but digitalization with genetic engineering is already well established on farm land. Genetically modified plants and livestock have been grown and used for food for many years in both developed and third world countries. It is possible that hybrid fruits and animal GMO products will soon exceed the volume of natural products by several times. However, the startup Beyond Meat may not leave chances for either of them.

The American company Beyond Meat, founded in 2009, has done a lot of successful experiments and started a real meat revolution in ten years. They offered vegetarian consumers "alternative meat" that is almost indistinguishable from the real meat in terms of taste and other characteristics. Their product is made on the basis of vegetable proteins contained in pea flour, coconut oil and juice. In 2017, artificial meat could be tasted in seven restaurants in America, and two years later, the product began to be exported to other countries. As an experiment, burgers with "alternative cutlet" in the menu decided to enter even in McDonald's, which is usually quite conservative in the formulation of its dishes. Previously, the whopper with filling from Beyond Meat was introduced to their menu by the Burger King Chain which is its direct competitor.

Officially, in Russia, vegetable meat has been used in public catering since April 2019. Since then, the company has been actively entering into contracts with Russian restaurants. The company's products are sold in 35,000 restaurants and stores in 20 countries.

On May 1, 2019, the startup held an IPO. Placement of shares on the NASDAQ stock exchange, which almost instantly rose in price by 800% of the nominal value, thereby significantly increasing the company's capitalization. By the way, at the beginning of the project's development, the first people who believed in it and invested a lot of money were it billionaire Bill Gates and Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio.

We advise you to look at this one: innovative food will always be in demand and at the same time it is useful for the body.

  1. Construction vs. Printing

A house exactly like at the picture is no longer just an expression. It became possible to build (or print) a building of any shape and architecture using 3D printing. Yes, this technology is becoming more accessible and has long been used not only to create small parts and mechanisms.

In 2019, special 3D printers have learned to print at home, and quickly and efficiently. In Mexico, 3D technology has been used to build 50 private homes in remote rural areas. The Icon Vulcan II printer squeezed the cement out of the nozzle in layers, thus producing the main structures of the house in just 24 hours. At the same time, Windows, doors and roof were installed manually. In fact, the construction of the world's only 3D village took about two months (excluding the time of forced downtime due to weather and other circumstances).

But the Guinness record in 3D construction was set not by Mexicans, but by our compatriot Nikita Chen-Yun-Taya and his project Apis Cor. He built a unique two-story complex geometric house in Dubai with a total area of more than 600 square meters. This allowed him to earn $1 million and get dozens of new orders in the United States and other countries.

The volume of production by 3D printing is growing, capturing new areas and directions. And yet, there is not so much competition here yet, which means that there are many chances of success for young and ambitious startups.

  1. Computers and AI

Someone believes in the almighty of artificial intelligence, someone from the other side believes that further "training" for the computer brain is a waste of resources. In any case, projects for the development and implementation of AI in various areas in 2019 were pleased with new achievements.

Firstly, game algorithms have taken over some of the best Dota 2 and Starcraft players in the world. The former world champion in the most difficult Board game Go also couldn't resist artificial intelligence. He announced his retirement, admitting that the modern supercomputer "cannot be defeated".

Secondly, AI is increasing its power in the field of computer vision. Today, it is able to process huge amounts of visual information, quickly and accurately recognizing millions of objects and people's faces.

Thirdly, AI is already able to see difference between truth and fake. OpenAI created and announced a powerful text generator based on computer thinking, which can be located in the network knowingly false news. The flip side of the coin: he can create very plausible fakes that many will take at face value.

And finally, computers are self-improving! The development of machine learning and technologies based on it may help to find solutions to problems that humanity has been struggling with for decades. For example, Insilico Medicine has developed a new drug using machine learning in just 46 days, and DeepMind hopes that the AI is about to learn how to prevent protein folding.

  1. Service industry: robots and drones

Many Russian entrepreneurs make orders in the wholesale online store Alibaba like their colleagues around the world and do not even suspect that their orders in the warehouse may be served by special touch robots. These are platforms that can assemble and transport cargo weighing up to 500 kilograms, skillfully maneuvering between racks and avoiding collisions.

Chosen products will be delivered to the doors of the office or home by a two-legged robot courier Digit from the automaker Ford and Agility Robotics in the near future. The Digit parcel deliverer confidently climbs the steps, skirting obstacles, and holding the balance when colliding with objects.

Another profession was mastered by robots from Cobalt Robotics. Their "offspring" are equipped with sensors, cameras and thermal imagers, which allows smart devices to detect a problem (for example, an aggressive visitor, water leakage or open doors) and transmit information to a Central monitoring point. These robots are good at patrolling Parking lots, offices, and warehouses.

In addition, in 2019, the world met a robot chef from Samsung and a robot gardener Terra from iRobot.

Last year was marked by successful cases with Autonomous unmanned cargo transport. Driverless trucks showed their skills in the development of natural resources, the agricultural sector, and logistics. The news about a cargo drone delivering oil to the United States was received by the public with a Bang. In addition, companies continue to develop unmanned aerial vehicles. The airline giant Boeing is trying to create its own version of the flying taxi.

Startups in the field of robotics and automation of various processes require an impressive scientific base, experience and knowledge. At the same time, this is a very promising and financially attractive area of entrepreneurship.

This is how we saw the technologies of 2019. Whether they will maintain the same high pace of development in 2020 or something even more innovative and fantastic will break into our lives is still unknown. In any case, we wish you and your projects to "stay on top of the wave" and get “the green light” from investors and business partners for the entire 12 months!