Rewriting Life

TR10 Follow-up

This year’s TR10 marks the fourth time that Technology Review has identified 10 top emerging technologies. Here is what is happening with seven of the 30 previous selections.

This year’s TR10 marks the fourth time that Technology Review has identified 10 top emerging technologies. Here is what is happening with seven of the 30 previous selections.

Technology: Flexible transistors

Description: Depositing polymer or amorphous silicon transistors on a flexible piece of plastic could be produce displays that can be rolled, folded up, and tucked away.

Recent Developments: In early February, Arizona State University used a $43.7 million U.S. Army grant to start up a flexible display research center. In December, Plastic Logic of Cambridge, England, and E Ink of Cambridge, MA, announced that they have paired to have a flexible display on the market by 2007. Philips announced a similar goal in March.

***

Technology: Digital rights management

Description: Technologies meant to make sure that the copyright holders of digital content are compensated when their products are distributed electronically.

Recent Developments: A reincarnated Napster is one of the biggest purveyors of Microsoft’s DRM technology, Janus. In Europe, privacy advocates are beginning to protest DRM applications that track usage of encrypted material.

***

Technology: Glycomics

Description: Sugar molecules that serve as drugs because they bind to and modify the functions of specific proteins.

Recent Developments: Sugar-based drugs like GlycoGenesys’s cancer therapy GCS-100 could be on the market within three years.

***

Technology: RNA interference

Description: Use of a double-stranded form of RNA to “turn off” genes, including those that cause disease.

Recent Developments: Last November, two startups, Sirna Therapeutics and Acuity Pharmaceuticals, both began clinical trials of RNAi therapies for age-related macular degeneration. Sirna could begin clinical trials of RNAi-based asthma treatments as soon as next year.

***

Technology: Grid computing

Description: Software protocols enable computers ranging from PCs to supercomputers to pool their processing power, creating an easily tapped resource for tasks like massive number crunching and data analysis.

Recent Developments: The $98 million TeraGrid project now is able to perform up to 30 trillion operations a second, and is a vital tool for physicists and biologists. The Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, launched last October, links the computing resources of earthquake engineering test facilities, sensor stations, and researchers across the United States

***

Technology: Nanowires

Description: Nanoscale wires serving as new components in everything from sensors to processors.

Recent Developments: Last September, Harvard researcher Charles M. Lieber reported devices that use silicon nanowires to detect individual viruses. In March, Lieber announced that such devices could detect interactions between small molecules and proteins, which could be a substantial boon to drug discovery.

***

Technology: Biometrics

Description: Any security system that uses an individual’s physical attributes to verify identity.

Recent Developments: The International Biometrics Group reports that the market for hardware and software rose from $600 million in 2002 to $1.2 billion in 2004, with a forecast market of nearly $5 billion by 2008. A substantial portion of this could come from the U.S. Visit program, which will soon require fingerprint identification for any visitor to the U.S. with a non-immigrant Visa.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.
Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.

  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Join in and ask questions as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

You've read of free articles this month.