Envisioning 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

Featured on:


March 1, 2011

A smart, comprehensive timeline of over 50 of the buzziest technologies. Everyday, we blitz you with news of exotic technologies that will change the world — and so does everyone else. You’d have to be Ray Kurzweil to keep it all straight. But luckily,technologist Michell Zappa has created a simple cheat sheet mapping out all the buzziest technologies in development today.

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April 1, 2011

Credit for sparking this idea goes to Michell Zappa, a UK-based technologist. He sent me his take on the future, Envisioning technology, and suggested a post on Smarter Planet about it. Michell has launched an intriguing exploration, and I encourage you to look at it and give him your feedback, either on his site or ours.

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November 29, 2011

It is a fascinating poster with a great overarching view of what we might experience in the future and is definite food for thought. And that was the point of the poster…

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November 2, 2011

Many have tried, but Michell Zappa‘s visualisation of the next 25 years is one of the best and clearest I’ve seen. Now if only there was a way to adjust the due dates and play with the cumulative societal impact I could lose myself in this for weeks!

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November 1, 2011

Já tinhamos publicado o primeiro em março, e desta vez o mapa de tecnologias emergentes foi totalmente redesenhado, está mais interativo e traz ainda mais informações sobre cada tecnologia e o cenário mundial. O resultado é uma visão macro e unificada sobre o que vem por aí em diversas áreas, como inteligência artificial, internet, interfaces, sensores, robótica, materiais, energia, etc.

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October 1, 2011

Первое, что приходит на ум, – Стив Джобс, который за последние тридцать лет сделал вклад в развитие множества отраслей. Его влияние будет ощущаться несколько десятилетий.

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March 6, 2011

The good news is that help is on hand: a designer from trendwatching.com, Michell Zappa, has somehow managed to map out potential future technologies in a digestible form (and this isn’t just conjecture, this is based on research).

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March 5, 2011

Envisioning technology de Michell Zappa es una bonita infografía que juega a predecir cómo será el futuro de la tecnología partiendo del momento actual en sectores como aeronáutica, Internet, inteligencia artificial, robótica, biotecnología, defensa, energías renovables… de forma reconocidamente especulativa y subjetiva; hecha al antojo de su autor, vaya.

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March 4, 2011

While we can’t exactly predict the future of technology, we certainly enjoy trying. And Michell Zappa’s infographic helps us visualize what the world might look like in the coming years…technologically speaking. So go ahead and click below to find out when we might see 5G, a space elevator and oh so much more.

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March 3, 2011

The graphic is titled Envisioning the near future of technology and is inspired by a wide variety of sources – Wired, Kevin Kelly, Ray Kurzweil, Clay Shirky, Clive Thompson, John Battelle and others. It looks at what technology will be of importance over the next 15-20 years.

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March 2, 2011

Michell Zappa studied these company events and put together a brilliant infographic on just where the technologies may head in the near future. It’s based upon the predictions from companies within the industries of Warfare, Biotech, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet, Money, Materials, Green Energy and Space.

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