As an engineer, I love to learn about new technologies. It’s a year-round love affair — one my wife is keenly aware of. 

Thankfully, my family is welcoming of my passions, and even my kids love to hear about my latest finds. This week, I wanted to share with you three interesting ideas. I hope you enjoy thinking about future technology as much as I do!

Humanoid Robots

Elon Musk has revealed his latest proposal: A humanoid robot.

No, this isn’t a sci-fi flick — at least not yet. It is, however, an opportunity to take artificial intelligence to the next level. Don’t have time to go to the grocery store? Need help moving boxes from the car? Tesla’s new robot might be just what you’re looking for.

The design is mostly a concept right now, but Tesla has a head start in making dreams a reality. The company will leverage the same AI self-driving technology used in their autonomous vehicles to run the 5-foot-eight friendly robot.

No more taking out the trash? I’m all in.

Bioengineered chocolate

Admittedly, the extinction of chocolate might be tough to rank among catastrophic weather events and displaced refugees as far as the impacts of climate change go. Yet with chocolate demand outpacing supply, the decadent substance could be gone by 2050 according to candy companies. A world without Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Is it even worth living?

Okay, I’m being dramatic, but thankfully there’s a good chance we can still get our chocolate fix thanks to bioengineering. 

As cacao trees struggle to survive in new climate conditions, some companies are turning to scientists. Mars — think M&M’s and Snickers — has teamed up with the University of California Berkeley to create strains of cacao trees that can better withstand tough climates. CRISPR, a gene-editing tool, is at the heart of the efforts.

This is so much more than chocolate. Bioengineered foods are expected to make it to your plate in the form of everything from lab-grown meats, cheeses, and a variety of plants. Yum.

Smart toilets

I know, the jokes write themselves but hear me out. According to doctors at Stanford University, fancy commodes could help analyze your biowaste without all the awkward visits to the doctor. From early cancer detection to IBS or kidney disease, that’s a health care win thanks to gadgets in your toilet tank. Plus, my kids think it’s funny — maybe yours will, too.

What other technologies are near their launch? Do you notice a theme with where the innovation is going?

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