Top Tech 2023: A Special Report
These two dozen technical projects should make significant advances in the coming year
Each January, the editors of IEEE Spectrumoffer 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
Preview exciting technical developments for the coming year.
Fortescue will need more electricity-generating capacity than France.
Pathfinder 1 could herald a new era for zeppelins
Blue microLEDs bring optical fiber to the processor.
Opener’s BlackFly is a pulp-fiction fever dream with wings.
Its partnership with Geely aims at full self-driving mode.
The power plants could also make weapons-grade plutonium.
Lasers should be cheap enough to use against drones.
What Worldcoin’s killer app will be is not yet clear.
The company’s Condor chip will boast more than 1,000 qubits.
Vagus-nerve stimulation promises to help treat autoimmune disorders.
New satellites can connect directly to your phone.
The E.U.’s first exascale supercomputer will be built in Germany.
A dozen more tech milestones to watch for in 2023.
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