Spaceflight and cancer research are two of the key areas that we have chosen for this year’s crystal gazing. They were automatic choices, as were solar energy, new batteries, new aircraft engines, gene editing and quantum computing.Over the year, all these breakthroughs will make our lives better. Pharma companies are on the verge of launching several products against cancer, and some of them would make a real difference to those unfortunate to be ill with this serious disease. Solar energy is spreading fast, and an analysis of patents led Thomson Reuters to even predict that it would become the dominant energy source on the planet within a decade. New batteries are fascinating inventions too, even if the most promising among them seem to fizzle out after a while. Can we afford to ignore fusion? We haven’t done so for the last five decades.
ET has assembled here a list of key technology events of last year and another list of what to look for this year. A year later, when we assemble the big breakthroughs at the end of the year, there will be a large number of surprises. Research keeps throwing surprises all the time, and this year will be no different. But we will be equally surprised if the selections in this list do not make it by the end of the year. All biologists are expecting genome engineering to become a widespread practice in their labs. China will finish making its radio telescope this year.Even if new lithium air batteries do not see the light of day this year, Elon Musk’s new factory in Nevada will start production and keep pushing the envelope for electric cars. Some technology events are eminently predictable.