Explore breakthrough technologies

Contextualise the future of technologies and breakthroughs by reading our speculative interviews with expert academics and exploring our thematic foresight research. Our content stretches broad topic areas from food to data privacy.

Finding ‘weak signals’ from the future

Finding ‘weak signals’ from the future

Opportunity is all around, if you know where to look. But have you ever turned your gaze to signals of the future? One thing is true, we perceive change to come out of nowhere and more rapidly than ever before. Where does this perception of acceleration come from? Firstly, information is abundant, at the same time, it is hard to make sense of what really is relevant. There is simply so much going on. How can we separate background noise from important signals of change? read more

Lightbulb session – Agricultural Futures

Lightbulb session – Agricultural Futures

What might be the future disruptors in agriculture? How might technology impact how we consider food? On the 12th February 2020, Imperial Tech Foresight was invited to share insights on the Future of Agriculture to the Agri-Business team at European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. read more

Next 20 years: Future governance – decentralised systems and new management

Next 20 years: Future governance – decentralised systems and new management

How may we govern organisations in the future, and what new organisational models will evolve from an increasingly decentralised yet interconnected world? One possible model, Distributed Autonomous Organisations (DAOs), is built on a distributed ledger that can coordinate tasks, information and resource allocation in an efficient, verifiable and permanent way. This very model is also behind what powers cryptocurrencies, which represent a new breed of organisations without the need for hierarchies. We wanted to find out how this decentralised model might impact organisations. read more

Next 20 years: Future sensing technologies

Next 20 years: Future sensing technologies

How might the development of low-cost smart transducers change the future of health, food and environment? Can we tackle food production inefficiencies and waste where it’s most needed? How can we envision the future of collaboration between research and industry? Imperial Tech foresight explored these questions with Dr. Firat Guder, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London. In the conversation, we found an advocate not just for new sensors but for progressive thinking in academics’ roles in bringing research to life to encourage local solutions to global issues. read more

Next 20 years: Responsible engineering and design

Next 20 years: Responsible engineering and design

The convergence of artificial intelligence, robotics, and big data is heralding a new Industrial Revolution. Every sector of society is being affected by these changes. Amid productivity increases, cost efficiencies and digital transformations, ideas around ethics and responsibility are becoming increasingly important, especially after numerous scandals and public breaches of data. But what does responsible technology mean? And how might this evolve over the next decade? read more

Next 20 years: Is privacy dead?

Next 20 years: Is privacy dead?

Over the past years, there has been public scrutiny of large organisations and their issues of privacy from media to singular whistle-blowers. As we allow more devices and systems into our lives; how might this impact us? What are emerging areas that might protect the individual? Imperial Tech Foresight wanted to find out more and met with Dr Hamed Haddedi to discuss the future of user-centred systems, privacy and human-data interaction. read more

Next 20 years: Bionic devices and living electrodes

Next 20 years: Bionic devices and living electrodes

Bionic devices have been more prominent in the public eye after entrepreneurs like Elon Musk have publicised their visions on the future impact they might have. But what really is the future of bionic devices and how might they help people living with conditions like deafness and blindness? read more

Malleable matter: shaping disruption through matter

Malleable matter: shaping disruption through matter

The third and final session of the Intentional Creations virtual conference – Malleable Matter, on Thursday 25 June 2020 – looks at the limitations, or opportunities, of the materials underpinning the technology itself. read more

Moral Machines: Ethical considerations for the future

Moral Machines: Ethical considerations for the future

The second session of the Intentional Creations virtual conference – Moral Machines, on 18 June 2020 – explores the impact of technology and AI on us as humans and on society as a whole. read more

Meta-Motivation: An ode to tackling uncertainty

Meta-Motivation: An ode to tackling uncertainty

The first session of the Intentional Creations virtual conference – Meta-Motivations, on 11 June 2020 – tackles that concept head-on. What would the world look like if we took an intergenerational perspective? What might be ideas that help us during this uncertainty? How can we take a longterm perspective?  read more

Lessons from a creative mind

Lessons from a creative mind

On the 11th of April, British mathematician John Conway, most famous for his invention of the “Game of Life”, passed away in a nursing home in the US, where he spent most of his career at Princeton University. Tech Foresight wants to remember his great contribution to imagination, speculation and mathematics. read more

Food re-independence: Emerging thoughts

Food re-independence: Emerging thoughts

For many of us, this is the first time we have experienced the reality of empty shelves in the supermarket. After the governments advice to stay-indoors and only buy essentials, stockpiling commenced across Europe, exposing the very fragile food supply chains. read more

Emergent creativity to the pandemic emergency

Emergent creativity to the pandemic emergency

One of the main publicised challenges faced during the COV-19 pandemic is the capacity for testing NHS staff and large numbers of people quickly. The main problems are the availability of tests and the time it takes from testing to result from the analysis. The current healthcare system was not ready for the demand. Researchers at Imperial College London are now tackling the issue, trying to find a low-cost and rapid testing solution. read more

Thoughts on uncertainty and COVID-19

Thoughts on uncertainty and COVID-19

Many have described the impact on COVID-19 across the world, and we are all living through the disruption of everyday life. As it is testing our economic, health and social systems, it reveals how our current global decision-making frameworks react to uncertainty. read more

Tech Foresight at Generating Genius 2020

Tech Foresight at Generating Genius 2020

In February, Tech Foresight was invited to the annual Imperial College London event organized by “Generating Genius” (GG), a UK based organization whose aim is to raise the next generation of STEM leaders.  read more

The future of scientific discovery

The future of scientific discovery

Could and should we be outsourcing our discovery to AI, and what does this mean for scientific discovery and creativity? How can society prepare for future AI and human collaboration? read more

A Future in Quantum

A Future in Quantum

Dr Neil Alford on how quantum may herald a new science fiction future. read more

The 4D printing revolution is upon us

The 4D printing revolution is upon us

By building new responsive qualities into objects using 4D printing, we turn them into shapeshifters. Discover possible future applications as our physical realities become responsive. read more

High-performance decision-making

High-performance decision-making

When it comes to visionary aims, such as improving the health of entire populations, decision-making is beset by challenges. Dr Katharina Hauck discusses the effects of high performance computing on healthcare interventions. read more

Unlocking the patterns of disease hidden in medical images

Unlocking the patterns of disease hidden in medical images

Visual perception is one area where humans excel, but what if a machine could match or even exceed our ability to discriminate objects and identify patterns in what we see? read more

No more toys: 3D printing grows up

No more toys: 3D printing grows up

3D printing has grabbed popular imagination. But the polymer printers widely available today are not the technologies that will transform manufacturing and mass customisation of products. read more

Transforming surgery with real-time multi-scale imaging

Transforming surgery with real-time multi-scale imaging

Every successful operation depends on surgical skill to navigate the body. Pre-operative scans play a critical role, guiding surgeons like a map. But these are just snapshots. What if the map could be updated live – and even zoomed in and out? Real-time, multi-scale imaging would give surgeons a ‘sat nav’ to precisely identify tissues, protect critical organs and even see beyond their scalpels before a cut is ever made. read more

Imaging the health of our planet

Imaging the health of our planet

From the discovery of DNA to the identification of water on Mars, lab-based spectroscopy is fundamental to understanding the chemical composition of matter. But what if you could apply spectroscopy not to small samples but on a planetary scale? read more