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Technologies of 2035, today

The Looking Glass Club is a fusion of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and clearly there are many elements within it that fall into the realm of fantasy, however, I intended its vision of the near future to be as technologically realistic as possible. Sometimes though, readers – and even literary agents – have objected that its projections for our technological future just a few decades hence seem too advanced.

My response to this the same as Ray Kurzweil's: people tend to think too linearly about technology. All the evidence shows that the pace of technological change is accelerating, and the rate of change is exponential, not linear. Certainly, not all of the technical wizardry I've imagined for 2035 will come true, but much of it not only will, it already exists in prototype form today.

I had the good fortune a few days ago in Barcelona to run across a wonderful design exhibition where I saw many such prototypes exhibited. Some are quite extraordinary and definitely worth a look (see right).

I admit there are a few advances in The Looking Glass Club where I've stretched things a little (upgrading a dog so it can speak, perhaps), but even here, it's not hard to find examples of technologies today that are precursors to the technologies that will one day make things like this possible.

If the rate of change continues to accelerate, the remarkable conclusion to this, is that even if "one day" isn't 2035, it probably won't be much longer than that.

Prototypes of technologies in The Looking Glass Club

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Rise of The Robots - part 1, Animals
If the robots animals already here in 2013 are anything to go by, the robots of 2035 will be truly lifelike.

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3D Printers and sketching objects in 3D
They already exist and can print a remarkable array of objects, including fully functioning machines! The technology allows for some unusual improvements over traditional design and assembly techniques.

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Holographic and other displays 
There are hundreds of advances in the area of display technology from real-time holographic displays to invisibility cloaks. Yep, really.

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There are dozens of metrics demonstrating the real effects of the Law of Accelerating Returns. This graph shows that if computing power continues to double every 18 months, by 2035 just $1,000 will buy the same processing power that a human brain is capable of.

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Print a walking machine (win one!)
These remarkable designs by kinetic sculptor, Theo Jansen, can walk away from the machine that prints them. You can even order a copy for yourself, or play our mini-game to win one.

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Print your own bikini, ladies!
The clever founders of Continuum have developed algorithms that allow them to print and sell bikinis and dresses designed for, or even by, you.

iNurses and Humaniform robots

Possibly two of the more far-out predictions of the novel and yet prototypes for these have been popping up with increasing regularity and jaw-dropping features since the late 1990's.

Augmented Reality Contact Lenses

You already have augmented reality apps on your iPhone or Android, but contact lenses will soon be able to overlay everything you see.

The great thing about this kind of prediction is that you'll probably live long enough to see whether it comes true.

Gruff

© Sencillo Press and Gruff Davies 2010
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