Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And Another Year Almost In The Can

2014 is almost over, and what did we see?

Here's some of the stuff that got me excited in 2014:

1. 3D printing in space. The Star Trek replicator came one step closer with the Made In Space device that is now being tested, successfully, on the ISS. 3D printers will reduce the cost of manned (and some unmanned) space exploration significantly.

2. Machine-mediated telepathy. Without surgery. Brain-computer interfaces have allowed people to think to each other across the internet. And we no longer need to implant electrodes to let people control machines with their mind - although the technology's not perfect yet, the trope of the VR "crown" is almost upon us.

3. Self driving cars are getting closer and closer to reality, with everything that means for accident levels (yes, as far as we can tell they're safer) and mobility for disabled people.

4. We confirmed the first Earth-sized planet that may be habitable (in the Goldilocks zone). We'll see what pans out from it, but the exoplanet search points more and more towards us not being alone. And what about those mysterious radio bursts? Nope, still not sure. Could they be the signs of another civilization? Or am I just being overly optimistic?

5. And good luck to the group of scientists at Imperial College London who are trying to work up a collider experiment to turn light into matter...they actually think it's possible.

What made you excited in 2014?