red bullet all things design

December 22, 2010

New Technology in 2011

As the end of the year fast approaches and the New Year looms on the horizon, there are some interesting new technologies that we could see come to fruition in 2011.  The new issue of Popular Mechanicshighlights 10 of these in an article titled 10 Tech Concepts You Need to Know for 2011 by Alex Hutchinson.

Some of these concepts have been bantered around for awhile and are just now coming into play such as flywheel energy storage and frackingFlywheel energy storage is accomplished with large, heavy wheels that store energy by spinning rapidly and releasing the energy through a generator.  In Stephentown, New York they are building a 20 Megawatt power plant set to open in 2011 featuring 200 flywheels, each with a magnetically levitated rotor that spins up to 16,000 rpm.
Fracking, the use of hydraulic fracturing of underground shale fields to extract natural gas, has been around for awhile, however, its use in horizontal shale wells is new.  As with some other new technologies, this one comes with a lot of controversy over environmental impacts including claims of well water contamination and the concern that it might cause minor earthquakes.

More than a few of these technologies are being implemented now and could have an immediate and direct effect on our everyday life.  Complex-event processing is a new way of looking at the towering databases of information and images that governments and corporations sift through in search of patterns.  A new generation of software is shifting the focus from “data”(a record of what has happened) to “events”(what’s happening right now) to analyze these enormous flows of information in real time using new pattern-recognition algorithms.  This allows them to make instantaneous decisions on stock trades, possible terrorist activity or to stop suspicious credit card transactions. The trickle down of this to consumer devices is that it could allow a GPS-enabled cell phone to sift through a constant stream of location-aware offers and alert you to the ones that only you would be interested in – such as deals on coffee on your route to work during your commute time.
Another that promises to have a positive effect on our lives is white-space wireless.  One of the side-effect benefits of the FCC mandating the switch from analog to digital TV in 2009 was that the spectrum space left vacant can be for unlicensed use, meaning it can be used by any gadget, including Wi-Fi routers and cordless phones.  What is exciting about this is that these so-called white-space wireless bands use shorter wavelengths that make them better for travelling longer distances and passing through obstacles such as trees and walls.  Microsoft’s corporate campus already has a wireless network utilizing this technology and Google is working with a white-space equipment maker on a pilot project in a hospital in Ohio and a “smart grid” system for wireless managing of electric consumption in some California communities.

A major new technology on this list that will have a direct influence is 100 GBPS fiber optics.  A new generation of fiber optic cables capable of 100 gigabits per second promises to meet the ever increasing demand for bandwidth created by data-hungry tablets, readers and smartphones.  The existing network of fiber optic cables is rated for 10-40 GBPS, so this is a very significant increase capable of carrying 15,000 HDTV channels simultaneously.  The high speed cable, having been tested by Verizon, is now available commercially and will likely carry some of the data you use in the coming year.

I want to thank you all for your comments and your support in the past year and if you haven't already, please view our 2010-2011 image.

‘til next year, take care.


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red bulletall things design - 27 Oct 2009 - What is Design?

red bulletall things design - 11 Nov 2009 - Form & Function
red bulletall things design - 02 Dec 2009 - Juices Flowing
red bulletall things design - 21 Dec 2009 - Wrapping It Up
red bulletall things design - 12 Jan 2010 - Green-er in 2010
red bulletall things design - 10 Feb 2010 - Graphics Tools
red bulletall things design - 24 Mar 2010 - Smart Marketing
red dotall things design - 28 Apr 2010 - Adobe CS5
red bulletall things design - 15 Jun 2010 - Print Obsolete?
red bulletall things design - 05 Aug 2010 - New Publishing
red bulletall things design - 23 Sep 2010 - Masters of Design
red bulletall things design - 21 Nov 2010 - Adobe MAX
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