The future is hard to understand. While most executives have a “hunch” about what will and won’t change, these hunches often don’t stand up to the scrutiny of data-driven research. True trends are defined by measurable data, such as exponential growth or a slow decline. A true trend must also be observable across diverse markets.
1. High-Resolution Printing
Printing high-resolution images is a key step in making sure that your finished product looks great. High-resolution printing offers improved clarity, crisp definition and vibrant color depth. Whether you are printing marketing tools like brochures and postcards or keepsakes such as family photos, high-resolution prints will ensure that your work stands out from the crowd.
Resolution is typically measured in ppi (pixels per inch) for images on screens or dpi (dots per inch) for printed images. While screen resolution matters for digital images because it determines how large an image will appear on your computer or device, print resolution is more important because it decides how sharp and clear the final result will be.
Advanced nanofabrication techniques such as structural colour printing with plasmonic nanostructures allow for pixel resolutions of up to 100,000 dots per inch, several orders of magnitude higher than conventional inkjet printers. These print structures directly within a substrate, removing the need for additional assembly and enabling them to be used in applications from art to optical security devices.
2. 3D Printing
Currently, 3D printing is most popularly used for prototyping and industrial small batch production. In the future, it’s expected to be more integrated into serial production. With design and modeling tools such as generative design and topology optimization, this technology is transforming how businesses design products. The medical and dental sector is one example of this, with several companies using it to develop personalised healthcare and drive device innovation.
According to Ultimate Mats 3D Printing Trend Report, which surveyed hundreds of engineers, designers, manufacturers and industry experts, this technology is gaining traction in series manufacturing because it allows for on-demand production and can be scaled to suit different production needs. In addition, it can be combined with distributed manufacturing and digital warehouses to create a more flexible supply chain and minimize hard inventory.
3. Virtual Reality
VR is often associated with gaming, but it has a wide range of applications. It is used to support sales, facilitate learning, simulate travel, communicate and more. To present a comprehensive overview of the current state and future potential of VR, the research paper collection included a variety of papers. These were reviewed to select the most reliable and up-to-date information.
For example, a hotel can use VR to let people walk around inside their property before they book a stay. This is particularly helpful for high-end travel, where people want to get a feel for the surroundings. Home furnishings companies can also use VR to help customers visualize a new living room or bedroom before making a purchase. Virtual reality is even transforming entertainment by allowing viewers and users to take control of their own point of view in movies and games. The latest headsets offer HD images and almost imperceptible latency. This makes VR a viable option for the next generation of smartphones and consoles.
4. Liquid Metal
Liquid metals are a new technology that lets you mold precision parts with ultra low shrinkage and extreme strength. They maintain an amorphous atomic structure even when solid, and can be formed into many shapes. They are also very bright and stable, which is important for applications like medical and military uses.
Materials scientists are using gallium-based liquid metals to create flexible devices for virtual reality interfaces, motion-sensing gadgets and other uses. These unique liquid metals can stretch and bend, and can even repair themselves.
Developed by Dr. Bill Johnson of Caltech, and Atakan Peker of Liquidmetal Technologies in Lake Forest, California, the amorphous metallic alloy called Liquidmetal can be formed into any shape that you can imagine. This material has the potential to revolutionize the way we design and use electronics.
A recent project by New York-based branding agency &Walsh takes advantage of the liquid metal trend, showing how it doesn’t have to be shiny and chrome-based or pertain to a dystopian future aesthetic. Its homepage features a sequence of metallic shapes that blossom, swirl and form an ampersand.