Posted February. 18, 2010 08:21,
Medical technology by 2020 could produce a single vaccine to prevent a host of diseases, including new and seasonal strains of influenza.
The Korea Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation and Planning yesterday released a report on 10 future technologies expected to change peoples lives within a decade.
The 10 technologies are wearable computers; three-dimensional displays; robotic nurses; a multipurpose vaccine; gene therapy; home-based healthcare; high-efficiency portable solar cell batteries; smart nuclear reactors, wireless power transmission and reception; and eco-friendly buildings that consume no energy.
Han Seong-gu, head of the institutes technology foresight center, said, We selected technologies likely to be used in 10 years by considering assessments of science and technology experts and a panel of ordinary people.
The rapid development of science and technology makes it increasingly important to predict the future of science and technology, adding, We will select and announce 10 future technologies every year.
○ Cutting-edge technologies
The 10 items encompass state-of-the-art technologies in information technology, bioengineering, energy, the environment and robotics. The institute said a multipurpose vaccine and gene therapy will play a crucial role in improving human health and increasing life expectancy.
The multipurpose vaccine can protect against a variety of diseases with a single shot. It will even prevent diseases caused by mutated pathogens at once and ease the inconvenience of multiple injections. The most likely method for such a vaccine is to attack genes shared by pathogens.
Diseases caused by erroneous genes will be fundamentally treated by replacement of disease-causing genes or injection of genes for treatment.
In 3-D technology, the plan is to eliminate the need for glasses to watch 3-D content.
A wearable computer will have diverse applications and forms, including those worn on the head, wrist and finger or be installed in T-shirts or trousers. The PC will also be used in a number of areas including industry, logistics and leisure.
○ Wall sockets, plugs to disappear
Another forecast by the institute is the advent of portable solar cell batteries to charge electronic appliances, including mobile handsets and digital cameras. The global market for portable solar cells will reach nearly 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.
The export of smart nuclear reactors being developed by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute will also advance. The institute said the world market for such reactors will hit around 70 billion dollars by 2020, with Korea to export some 10 such reactors.
A decade from now, home appliances will be able to transmit and receive power wirelessly without wall sockets or plugs. This is expected to help construction of a ubiquitous environment.
Zero-energy buildings will also make their debut with their cutting-edge insulation and construction materials and using renewable energy.
To select the 10 technologies, the institute collected ideas from more than 1,000 science and technology experts, and conducted a six-phase evaluation with experts and a panel of ordinary citizens.
In the course of the selection, bio-organ technology using induced pluripotent stem cells was dropped due to questions over its commercial viability 10 years from now.