Here is a list of technologies that I am interested in. And I have reasons.
In my work as a research scientist, I try to use the expertise of my physics and optics know-how to explore and develop new and advanced sensor technologies. I believe Huamn race is going into a highly automated and integrated society, with the development of Internet of Things, Robotics, Cloud Computing and Machine Learning. Sensors and actuators, at the most forefront of this battalfield, is inevitably one of the crucial components in this loop. Contrary to some belief that we have good enough sensors and all we need to do is sensor fusion and machine learning, I think there is actually a huge development need for the sensors themselves, in terms of variaty, accuracy, affordness and durability. For example, consumer grade environemental sensors and biometric sensors are undoubtly desired but are still at their infancies.
3D Imaging and Display Technology
I have been watching this field for a while. I think this could be a breakthrough in our daily experiences. Current trend in Virture Reality/Augmented Reality may well represent such a move. The bottleneck, however, is at the computing power of the hardware (CPU + GPU)! For example, Oculus Rift needs a powerful computer to go together with it. I am not sure the performance is glitch-free even with such a horse power. With Moore's law dying off, I don't think it can reach a portable version any time soon. The 3D offered here is also questionable. It uses stereoscopy which really is telling your left and right eyes different stories, and requires additional brain power from you to piece the information together! That's probably why many people feel dizzy and imbalanced after viewing. Do you get what I am saying?
There is another trend coming now with this light field technologies. It records both the light intensity and direction, like ray-tracing. This is actually the old concept of integral imaging, but becomes viable in recent years due to the development of micro-lens array and CCD/CMOS technologies. Lytro, for example, has such products. One should also be able to find a way to do the real 3D display from this 3D information captured by a Lytro camera.
Oh, I forgot to mention laser holography. Yes, it is 3D reconstruction of the original wavefront. Currently it is bulky, require monochromatic laser and single color.
Q: Is IoT going to prosper? A: Probably yes, but with a large price tag on the maintainance of all the sensors and actuators that are placed everywhere. Q:How about we put them in a single location? A:That would not be able to give localized information. Q:Then how about we put wheels and brains to these sensors? A:Yes! That's a robot!
Imaging how good it will be to have home robot that could self-navigate, auto-charge, collect all the information from various sensors, signaling the alarms, have a big display and have all the functionality of an Iphone. BTW, It can carry weight too. I would love to have one at my home It may also be good for hospitals and senior homes.
The computer has evolved to a certain stage that permits quite massive computations. At this scale, important things are probabilities and statistics. Statistics also eveloved to certain stage that rely more on computations. The two merged. This seems to be called machine learning. It is interesting to see how close it is to human cognition. Learn/Gather info, analyze /find patterns and recognize/predict.