Inventions that could transform your retirement
Like to own a robot that does your housework? Or a bathroom mirror that monitors your health? There’s a brave new world of technological developments like these that are set to transform our retirement in so many ways – not just by doing things better, faster and cheaper, but by making our lives easier and helping us stay healthier for longer too.
A pyjama shirt that helps you sleep better? A toilet that records your weight and measures your glucose levels? As demand for intelligent objects grows, costs will come down, and the way we work, play, learn, travel and look after ourselves will be completely transformed. Developments in artificial intelligence will empower older people to lead healthier, more productive and more independent lives.
Robotics is already transforming manufacturing, medicine and other industries. Now new work is underway to develop robots that can assist us in our everyday lives as well. A new generation of "humanoid" robots will be able to acquire skills through interaction, perform tasks, play games, provide companionship and even monitor our health. Just imagine what a difference that will make to our retirement!
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Imagine your car dropping you off for dinner, then finding parking spot by itself. Google has been working on its self-driving car for years, as well as many other big-name developers. It is estimated that driverless cars will be in use worldwide by 2025 – promising a much brighter and more independent future for those no longer physically able to drive and those who’d rather enjoy the drive!
Heart disease is currently the world's number one cause of death. Yet hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved, thanks to new developments in artificial heart research. Australian researchers have achieved international acclaim through their work in pioneering the first viable artificial heart. These devices are currently in use worldwide and researchers are now working on ways to improve the devices.
Nanotechnology is another breakthrough that's designed to help us stay healthier for longer. It's enabling some exciting advances in medicine that could one day eliminate cancer, AIDS, brain tumours and other diseases. The big benefit of nanotech medicine is that it enables drugs to be delivered to affected cells in a more targeted way– which means lower doses of drugs are required and fewer side effects.
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3-D printing is fast-becoming more affordable – paving the way for countless new inventions and breakthroughs in medicine, construction, product development and more. Scientists have already used the technology to create human joints and prosthetics. 3-D printing has exciting applications beyond medicine too, from customised products to spare parts to food.
Smarter, greener energy
Smarter, greener energy
Cheaper power bills could make your retirement much easier! More affordable, sustainable and environmentally-responsible sources of power and fuel are in the pipeline - from more efficient solar panels to ocean-driven hydropower to renewable biofuels. Scientists estimate that the mass-production of graphene - the material that could revolutionise solar power production - is only about 10 years away.
A number of products and technologies are being developed to make drinkable water readily available anywhere in the world. Trials are well underway for the OmniProcessor – a project that’s designed to turn sewerage into clean water and generate electricity at the same time. The Slingshot water vapour distillation system is another invention that produces clean water from just about any source.
Drought and heat-resistant crops
Drought and heat-resistant crops
As the climate becomes hotter and drier, drought- and heat-resistant crops will not only keep large-scale food production viable, they will allow us to grow food in areas that are considered deserts. Genetic engineering has enabled scientists to create drought-tolerant oilseed and wheat. Research is also underway at a number of Australian universities, due to the number of drought-resistant plants here.
New developments in virtual reality will literally open up a whole new world to us. We’ll be able to learn new skills, explore new environments, visit our doctors, inspect houses, test-drive cars, even hold business meetings without leaving home. And if we ever get too old to travel, we’ll still be able to visit new places virtually, from the comfort of our armchairs.
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Back to Living your dream retirement
There’s no shortage of ideas and inspiration out there. Here we bring you the highlights to get you dreaming big or small.