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10 Amazing Futuristic Technologies That Are Basically Here

"The future" isn't some distant, hazy epoch for our grandchildren. For us, the future is close enough to reach out and touch. Catch a glimpse of the future with the SLIDE project on Lexus' Amazing in Motion series.

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1. "Intelligent Environment" projects will transform even micro-apartments into luxury suites.


As you roll out of bed in the morning, invisible sensors lower your bed smoothly to the floor. A small sink and vanity mirror slide from a compartment in the wall. Using digital inputs (e.g. your phone or tablet), gestures, and speech to communicate with your living space, you can transform a single room from a bedroom to an office to a kitchen to a living room.

2. Exosuits will push the limits of the human body and help people with disabilities.

The military has already tested some of these bad boys in exercises designed to reduce fatigue in walking or running long distances or lifting and carrying heavy objects. On a more humanitarian front, some applications help people with physical disabilities regain mobility and independence. Imagine going from a wheelchair to having bionic legs — it's a brave new world.

3. 3D printing will make drudgery like "shopping" and "shipping" things of the past.

So 3D printing is technically already here, but it's not "here here." Chances are you've never used a 3D printer yourself. That's going to change in a hurry. Within the next few years, you'll be able to print just about anything made mostly of plastic or rubber without ever leaving the house. We're one step closer to our goal of zero human interaction.

4. Invisibility cloaks will make escaping awkward social interactions super easy.

OK, so the current "invisibility cloak" only makes things invisible to radar, but the scientific principles of a true invisibility cloak are basically the same. The scientists who invented the device say that the same science that divert radio waves can be used to divert the waves that allow us to see people and objects. Get ready for a future where you can go stealth whenever you see someone you kinda know in public and absolutely don't want to talk to.

5. Nanotechnology will allow a lot of small things to do a lot of really big things.


Nanotechnology is a sort of umbrella term for really tiny circuits, wires, and chips that do, um, tons of stuff. Like it or not, many of the most promising applications for nanotech involve putting it in inside us. Research suggests that "nanotech" can help diagnose cancer early, develop electricity-conducting ink, and actually deliver medicine or gene therapy inside our bodies' cells.

6. Massive desalination projects will convert ocean water into clean, drinkable water.

The process of using "hot solar" photovoltaic cells to distill pure water from the salt water of the sea is already underway in Cyprus, Egypt, and Australia. Pictured above is the Poseidon Water Desalination Plant in Carlsbad, California, which is projected to go online as soon as later this year. Still, Californians, let's keep taking it easy on the car washing and plant watering for the time being.

7. Digital graffiti will resolve the conflict between public art and private property.


Using a mix of digital art, photography, and geotagging any wall can soon play host to digitally imprinted graffiti. Some applications of this technology merely allow you to use software to "paint" on walls. Other applications allow you to tag walls with "hidden" images that can only be viewed through a smartphone or tablet.

8. Smart clothes will merge wearable technology with high fashion.


As circuits and chips go from tiny to microscopic, the future of wearables is that they don't look like gadgets at all. What if your socks could automatically record your heart rate and calculate the number of calories you've burned? What if your glasses could track your eye movements to tell you when you should turn off the TV or computer? What if your clothing fabric could change colors, so that the same skirt could be worn at work and for a night out? It won't be long before we have answers to these questions.

9. Geoengineering, or "weather hacking," will disrupt hurricanes and tornados, and maybe even cool the earth. / Via

Scientists have been trying to hack the weather since the 1960s when they started dropping silver iodide into hurricanes to break them up. The pursuit hasn't stopped, and now geoengineers have set their sights on everything from preventing severe weather to generating rainfall in drought stricken areas to even reversing the effects of global warming.

10. Quantum computing will...well, we're not quite sure, but it will be bonkers.

Here's how insane quantum computing is: The central unit of quantum computing is the qubit, which literally defies the laws of physics through its ability to be two things at once. Also, and we swear this is true, the moment you try to figure out how it works, it stops working. Here's what we do know: A quantum computer is much faster and more powerful than anything that exists right now. And not just by a little bit.

Get a glimpse of the game-changing hoverboard project by checking out the SLIDE project on Lexus' Amazing in Motion series. You could wait till tomorrow, but tomorrow is here.