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The 10 Emerging Technologies of 2009

Each year, MIT’s Technology Review magazine chooses 10 emerging technologies with the potential to change lives around the world. Some of this year’s choices, such as paper-based medical tests and intelligent software that acts as a personal assistant, could reach the market within a year. Others, like biological machines and nanopiezotronics, could take longer but promise fundamental shifts in fields from computing to medicine, communications to manufacturing.

The list includes technologies miniature and massive–from fast, cheap, capacious computer memory to batteries that can store enough energy to power a city. All are technologies that we bet will make a huge impact in the years ahead.

Intelligent Software Assistant
Adam Cheyer is leading the design of powerful software that acts as a personal aide.
$100 Genome
Han Cao has designed a nanofluidic chip that could lower DNA sequencing costs dramatically.
Racetrack Memory
Stuart Parkin is using nanowires to create an ultradense, rugged memory chip.
Biological Machines
Michel Maharbiz’s novel interfaces between machines and living systems could give rise to a new generation of cyborg devices.
Paper Diagnostics
George Whitesides has created a cheap, easy-to-use diagnostic test out of paper.
Liquid Battery
Donald Sadoway conceived of a novel battery that could allow cities to run on solar power at night.
Traveling Wave Reactor
A new way of fueling reactors could make nuclear power safer and less expensive, says John Gilleland.
Zhong Lin Wang thinks piezoelectric nanowires could power implantable medical devices and serve as tiny sensors.
Vivek Pai’s new method for storing Web content could make Internet access more affordable around the world.
Software-Defined Networking
Nick McKeown believes that remotely controlling network hardware with software can bring the Internet up to speed.


10 Emerging Technologies 2009