Envisioning 2011

Emerging technologies for 2011 and beyond.

12 years ago   •   2 min read

By Michell Zappa
Published: March 2011

“Envisioning technology” is a speculative and subjective overview of potential future technologies. Based on personal research and observations, this map is intended to facilitate predictions of where the technium is going, as well as provoke thought and stimulate debate.

Due to the intrinsic difficulty of speculation, the visualization is not to be interpreted as a roadmap, but rather as a point of reference for those investigating (or designing) the future of technology.

How do I read it?

The visualization is composed of a dozen hubs  from which a series of nodes spread out.

Each hub represents an important area of development to which actual technologies (shown as nodes) belong. The center of the map marks where we are today, and the further out points indicate how far into the future each technology is predicted to become mainstream.

The visualization also attempts to distinguish the predicted importance of each area, shown by the relative size of the nodes.

Which technologies have been left out?

The visualization deliberately leaves out a couple of perpetually speculative technologies, such as cold fusion, nanotech and quantum computing. Although potentially of prime importance to society, these have been in the “next 25 years”-category for too long to reasonably theorize about today.

Which sources were used?

The research is drawn upon hundreds of articles, magazines and books, such as:

Technologies mentioned

Artificial Intelligence:
Artificial Neural Networks, Recommendation engines, Machine translation, Software agents, Natural language interpretation, Medical diagnostics.

Personal Gene Sequencing, Personalized medicine, Biomarkers, Telemedicine, Vertical agriculture, Artificial limbs, Stem-cell treatments, Synthetic meat, Wetware.

Fuel cells, Conductive energy, Smart meters, Local power production, Nanogenerators, Piezoelectricity, Smart grids, Biomechanical harvesting, Traveling wave reactor, Biofuels.

Near Field Communication, Linked data, Social graph, Cloud computing, Personal Area Network, 4G, Picocells, Pervasive video capture, Sensors, 5G, Smart infrastructure, High Altitude Platforms, Interplanetary internet.

Print on demand, 3D printing, Metamaterials, Carbon nanotubes, Programmable matter.

Crowd funding, Mobile payments, Virtual currencies, Cash-less society.

Natural User Interfaces:
Multi touch, Gesture recognition, Augmented Reality, Speech recognition, Haptics, Telepresence, Machine vision.

Appliance bots, Smart toys, Self-driving vehicles, Domestic robots, Utility fog.

Private spaceflight, Space tourism, Space elevator, Lunar outpost.

Ubiquitous computing:
Tabs & Pads, 3D, Boards, Electronic paper, Pico-projectors, Spimes, Wearables, Fabric-embedded screens, Retinal displays, Projected audio, Holography, Skin-embedded screens.

Cyber-warfare, Exoskeletons, UAVs.


  • 3D: 3D televisions, screens, cameras, etc.
  • 4G: Fourth generation cellular wireless (WiMAX, LTE)
  • 5G: Fifth generation cellular wireless
  • ANN: Artificial Neural Network
  • AR: Augmented Reality
  • HAP: High Altitude Platform
  • NFC: Near Field Communication
  • NUI: Natural User Interface
  • PAN: Personal Area Network
  • PGS: Personal Gene Sequencing
  • SPIME: An object that can be tracked through space and time.
  • UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

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