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In industry, research and development spans a wide range: everything from basic semiconductor physics to adding new features to products that have been on the market for years. But to get the best perspective on how the world could be different in the next few years, Technology Review went hunting for projects at a crucial point on that continuum: well-funded work with specific commercial goals that will, if successful, provide a dramatic improvement over the products and services now available. Some of these technologies stem from new discoveries in basic science, but others spring from new twists on old materials and techniques, or even build on years of slow progress. They are all just making their way out of the lab, and their development is motivated by strong market demands or consumer needs. Technology Review canvassed top corporate R&D groups worldwide in its search for these hot projects. Below are seven of the most compelling.

Automatic speech translator
Spinal-cord trauma treatment
Blocking spam
Miniature ultrasound device
Chip-to-chip communications
Streaming media
Piezo fuel injection

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