The February 2023 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Top Tech 2023: A Special Report

These two dozen technical projects should make significant advances in the coming year

2 min read
And illustration of H2 with koalas on the left side
Edmon DeHaro

Each January, the editors of IEEE Spectrum offer up some predictions about technical developments we expect to be in the news over the coming year. You’ll find a couple dozen of those described in the following special report. Of course, the number of things we could have written about is far higher, so we had to be selective in picking which projects to feature. And we’re not ashamed to admit, gee-whiz appeal often shaped our choices.


This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

For example, this year’s survey includes an odd pair of new aircraft that will be taking to the skies. One, whose design was inspired by the giant airships of years past, is longer than a football field; the other, a futuristic single-seat vertical-takeoff craft powered by electricity, is about the length of a small car.

While some of the other stories might not light up your imagination as much, they highlight important technical issues the world faces—like the challenges of shifting from fossil fuels to a hydrogen-based energy economy or the threat that new plutonium breeder reactors in China might accelerate the proliferation of nuclear weapons. So whether you prefer reading about topics that are heavy or light (even lighter than air), you should find something here to get you warmed up for 2023.

This article appears in the January 2023 print issue.

Top Tech 2023

Top Tech 2023: A Special Report

Preview exciting technical developments for the coming year.

Can This Company Dominate Green Hydrogen?

Fortescue will need more electricity-generating capacity than France.

An Airship Resurgence

Pathfinder 1 could herald a new era for zeppelins

A New Way to Speed Up Computing

Blue microLEDs bring optical fiber to the processor.

The Personal-Use eVTOL Is (Almost) Here

Opener’s BlackFly is a pulp-fiction fever dream with wings.

Baidu Will Make an Autonomous EV

Its partnership with Geely aims at full self-driving mode.

China Builds New Breeder Reactors

The power plants could also make weapons-grade plutonium.

Economics Drives a Ray-Gun Resurgence

Lasers should be cheap enough to use against drones.

A Cryptocurrency for the Masses or a Universal ID?

What Worldcoin’s killer app will be is not yet clear.

IBM’s Quantum Leap

The company’s Condor chip will boast more than 1,000 qubits.

Arthritis Gets a Jolt

Vagus-nerve stimulation promises to help treat autoimmune disorders.

Smartphones Become Satphones

New satellites can connect directly to your phone.

Exascale Comes to Europe

The E.U.’s first exascale supercomputer will be built in Germany.

The Short List

A dozen more tech milestones to watch for in 2023.

The Conversation (0)

The Indian Startup Pulling Water From the Air

Uravu’s new 1,000-liter-per-day unit will come on line this month

5 min read
two men standing in front of a metal box system

Uravu cofounders Govinda Balaji [left] and Swapnil Shrivastav stand beside several of their absorber units.

Edd Gent

BENGALURU, India—Technology that can pull water out of thin air could help solve the world’s growing water scarcity problem, but most solutions are expensive and difficult to scale. Indian startup Uravu Labs says its low-cost modular approach could provide a blueprint for more affordable and sustainable atmospheric water harvesting. What comes out of the pipe, the company’s website says, is “100 percent renewable water”—renewably powered, harnessed from a vast and nearly inexhaustible source, and with no wastewater produced in the process.

Uravu is putting the finishing touches on its biggest unit to date. The device, the company says, will be capable of harvesting up to 1,000 liters of water a day when it goes online later this month, at its headquarters in the south Indian city of Bengaluru. By the end of the year the company hopes to scale that up to 10,000 L a day, says cofounder Swapnil Shrivastav.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

Fine-Tuning the Factory: Simulation App Helps Optimize Additive Manufacturing Facility

Additive manufacturing processes can provide rapid and customizable production of high-quality components

7 min read
Fine-Tuning the Factory: Simulation App Helps Optimize Additive Manufacturing Facility

An example of a part produced through the metal powder bed fusion process.

This sponsored article is brought to you by COMSOL.

History teaches that the Industrial Revolution began in England in the mid-18th century. While that era of sooty foundries and mills is long past, manufacturing remains essential — and challenging. One promising way to meet modern industrial challenges is by using additive manufacturing (AM) processes, such as powder bed fusion and other emerging techniques. To fulfill its promise of rapid, precise, and customizable production, AM demands more than just a retooling of factory equipment; it also calls for new approaches to factory operation and management.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":["32338242"]}