Ten technologies which could change our lives

3D printer

One of Staffordshire University’s 3D printers presented by Graham Preece, Technical Team Leader

A ‘technological society’; this is the term most of us would choose to describe ourselves in the 21st Century. We use a multitude of devices every day to coordinate our activities and communications at home and in the workplace. Ten technologies which could change our lives, Potential impacts and Policy implications was published last January by the Scientific Foresight (STOA) Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS).

This report investigates ten scientific and technological trends: Autonomous Vehicles, Graphene, 3D printing, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Virtual currencies (Bitcoin), Wearable technologies, Drones, Aquaponic systems, Smart home technologies and Electricity storage (hydrogen). A summary of each trend is provided followed by an overview of both the ‘expected’ and ‘unexpected’ impacts associated with the trend.

To help Europe to grasp leadership early on in new and emerging technology areas, the European Commission has allocated a provisional budget of 2 696 million euro (239.26 million Euros in 2015) to Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) actions, under Horizon 2020. In order to succeed in this mission, FET focusses on research beyond what is known, accepted or widely adopted.