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In October of last year Intel and Matador teamed up to create a list of amazing and wonderful technologies we’ll have by 2021. I had a lot of fun with this list… fun might not be the best way to have put that… The list had my curious brain researching and digging for all kinds of info like patents and inventors, knock-offs and competitors, development and testing; everything! I found the digging part fun which made the article fun by association.

Anyway, I’m going to break this down year by year over the next while, leaving ample time for digging of your own. So, if we’re looking at the near future there’s nowhere nearer than right now. Here’s what we apparently have on deck for 2012.


The last two years have been all about the tablet. Laptops, with their “untouchable” screens, have yet to match any tablet’s featherweight portability and zippy response times. However, by next year, ultraportable notebooks–Ultrabooks–will finally be available for under $1000, bringing a complete computing experience into areas of life which, until now, have only been partially filled by smaller technologies such as tablets and smartphones. They weigh around three pounds, measure less than an inch thick, and the hard drives are flash-based, which means they’ll have no moving parts, delivering zippy-quick startups and load times.

The Mars Science Laboratory

By August 2012, the next mission to Mars will reach the Martian surface with a new rover named Curiosity focusing on whether Mars could ever have supported life, and whether it might be able to in the future. Curiosity will be more than 5 times larger than the previous Mars rover, and the mission will cost around $2.3 billion — or just about one and a half New Yankee Stadiums.

The paralyzed will walk

But, perhaps not in the way that you’d imagine. Using a machine-brain interface, researchers are making it possible for otherwise paralyzed humans to control neuroprostheses–essentially mechanical limbs that respond to human thought–allowing them to walk and regain bodily control. The same systems are also being developed for the military, which one can only assume means this project won’t flounder due to a lack of funding.