Tech on the Cutting Edge

Here are just a few of the technologies that are poised to make a business impact in the future.

While most of the emerging technologies discussed in this special report found their way into products and business implementations this year, many cutting-edge technologies were just getting their start in universities and research labs around the world. Here are just a few of the technologies that are poised to make a business impact in the future.

Bionics

While 2007 saw Jaime Sommers return to prime-time TV as the "Bionic Woman," bionics made some very significant advancements in the real world, helping people regain functionality from lost limbs and sometimes even providing improved capabilities.

Nanotechnology

In the classic original vision of nanotechnology, micromachines repaired everything and replicated themselves. That vision is still a distant dream, but nanotechnology-based materials are making a big impact on many different industries through the creation of lightweight and powerful materials and the enabling of next-generation energy sources.

Next-Gen User Interfaces

More than 20 years after the Mac brought the GUI to the masses, the vast majority of us still interact with our computer using a mouse and keyboard. Several new technologies, however, are poised to change the way people interact with their PCs—from devices that track eye movement to supersensitive touch interfaces to gesture-based systems similar to what Tom Cruise used in the sci-fi film "Minority Report."

Check out here Jim Rapoza's picks for the 2007's biggest emerging technology disappointments.

Robotics

Robotics have made some impressive inroads in the last year. They're no Rosie from "The Jetsons," but robotics are serving well in the form of home systems such as the Roomba, and in robots that take on some of the most dangerous tasks in military, search-and-rescue and toxic-cleanup environments.

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