Oh, the first week of January: a time of reflection, resolutions and, unfortunately for some, the same week when those resolutions are broken. But it's also a time of dreaming up what might be in store in the coming year, so what would be more appropriate than a list of predictions for the fields of science and technology? Here’s what Michael Keller at the Txchnologist picked as some of the major stories that will develop in 2013.
Brain mapping brings us one step closer to the Singularity
As computer scientists and neuroscientists cross paths, the spatial resolution of brain imaging techniques will help us in pin pointing the functioning of our bodies' most nebulous organ. Through the comparison of healthy and damaged brains, researchers will be better able to identify the phenomena that make us who we are, but as techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging are refined, we stand a chance to understand the brain on the neuronal level.
DNA sequencing becomes affordable for the average consumer
While mapping the human genome cost a whopping $300 million in 2001, Dr. Michael Snyder and his team of Stanford Researchers have helped to lower that cost to a mere $1,000. If this number is reduced even further in 2013, even the layperson could undergo comprehensive medical screening to preempt potentially fatal health conditions.
The Internet of Things connects even your toaster to the web
Okay, maybe not your toaster, but this ever-expanding web of sensors and communications software may help numerous industries reach record-breaking efficiency, which is good news for manufacturers. But for this application, 2013 is only the beginning – eventually we expect not only our electronics to be online, but even our bodies with the help of smart health monitors.
Fuel-free planes fly across the US
A solar-powered plane with Swiss pilots behind the wheel will successfully test-fly an aircraft across the US. The 3,500-lb plane, touting a wingspan of a Boeing 747 and four 10-horsepower electric engines is slated to fly from California to New York City as a part of the Solar Impulse project.
Organs-on-a-Chip diagnose disease
In 2013, researchers will further the development of tiny devices capable of assuming the responsibilities of human organs. While these microfluidic tools could be key to pharmaceutical testing, they could be invaluable to individuals for disease diagnosis. Researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering even received a grant to develop a human-on-a-chip by integrating the functions of 10 organs-on-chips.
Full story at Txchnologist