Emerging Tech Glossary
What is 4D Printing?
Could you imagine if the walls of your workplace could stiffen and stretch as a response to earthquakes or shifting loads? What if your water pipes at home could change their shape to accommodate the varying rates of water flows? Or what if a table could assemble itself when you touch it?
That is the idea behind 4D printing, a process where 3D-printed objects transform in response to external environmental stimuli, such as heat, wind, water, and other forms of energy. 4D creates objects that can alter their shape and perhaps even their functions over time.
What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is a broad term that refers to the process of using living organisms and biological systems to develop products, technologies, and services. Its main goal is to use biology to improve our lives.
As early as the prehistoric period, people have been engaging in biotechnology, although the term itself was only coined in the 1900s. Examples of traditional biotechnology include domesticating animals, breadmaking, fermenting food, brewing alcoholic beverages, such as beer, and cultivating plants, among others.
These days, modern biotechnology is synonymous with genetic engineering where genes are modified, removed, or manipulated to change the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) information of organisms.
What is Blue Brain Technology?
Blue brain technology is a program that powers the blue brain—the first artificial brain to have ever been developed. Brain Mind Institute (BMI) and International Business Machines (IBM) collaborated to launch the Blue Brain Project (BBP) in July 2005 with the primary goal of simulating mammalian brain functions in great detail. It aimed to gain a better understanding of biological intelligence and its processes using the blue brain technology. It was launched by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) through its founder Henry Markram, a strong proponent of human brain simulation.
Blue brain technology is a virtual machine powered by artificial neural networks (ANNs). It is one of the advanced applications of artificial intelligence (AI) to the human brain that aims to address many of the pressing problems involved in brain dysfunctions, the human mind, and consciousness.
What is a Challenger Bank?
A challenger bank is a new retail bank that directly competes with well-established traditional banks. The term is more widely used in the U.K., where challenger banks aim to serve the population that the “Big Four” (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, and NatWest Group) typically fail to. Over time, though, the term has been recognized globally.
In some cases, challenger banks are created by traditional banks to cater to customers that they can’t serve. In others, conventional banks that “fail” transition into challenger banks.
What is Fintech?
Financial technology (FinTech) refers to technological innovations in the way financial transactions are conducted. Fintech innovations include mobile banking, double-entry bookkeeping, peer-to-peer lending, and cryptocurrency.
With growing interest in cryptocurrency and its driving technology, Blockchain, many more FinTech innovations are expected to come soon.
What is Legal Tech?
Legal tech refers to any application of technology that helps lawyers and law firms digitize processes involved in providing legal services. It is a broad term that includes a wide variety of technologies, from applications that enable lawyers to find clients to artificial intelligence (AI)-based platforms that aid legal research.
Legal tech is one of the many industry-specific technological developments, alongside fintech (banking and finance industry) and insurtech (insurance industry).
What is Martech?
Have you tried advertising for a friend through social media? Perhaps, you’ve tried selling something online by announcing it on a website? If your answer is yes to any of the questions, congratulations! You’ve taken part in a basic form of martech.
It’s a combination of both marketing and technology in order to accomplish various goals and objectives in marketing. In fact, any technology that relates to marketing is called martech.
Martech tools are used in automating and streamlining processes such as the collection and analysis of user data and the discovery of ways to reach and engage with target audiences.
What is Nanophotonics?
Nanophotonics, also known as “nano-optics,” refers to the study of the behavior of light on the nanometer scale and how light interacts with nanometer-scale objects.
Nanophotonics is a branch of optics, optical engineering, electrical engineering, and nanotechnology. Its other name, nano-optics, like the term “optics,” usually refers to situations that involve ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light.
What is Nanorobotics?
Nanorobotics is a field that seeks to create very tiny robots. It combines the engineering requirements of robotics with the scale of nanotechnology to build machines that are as small as the very molecules that make up matter.
In 1959, the famous American physicist Richard Feynman gave a talk entitled, "There's Room at the Bottom". In it, he mentioned a device that could write "The Lord's Prayer" on the head of a pin. Then he asked, "Why can't we write the entire 24 volumes of the "Encyclopaedia Brittanica" on the head of a pin?" The talk was an eye-opener that inspired many engineers and arguably sparked the beginning of nanorobotics.
What is Nanotechnology?
Have you ever imagined having superpowers that enable you to shrink in size even smaller than a breadcrumb and explore the world that way? When you go to your living room, you won’t be seeing tables, chairs, or computers but cells, atoms, molecules, and even proteins!
This is how being in the ‘nanoscale’ would be, and the study of Nanotechnology is about doing all kinds of amazing things on this level.
Scientists around the world are experimenting with nanotechnology in the hope of inventing something new. Some examples include allowing doctors to treat cancer cells directly, reducing the size and power consumption of electronic devices, and using nanoparticles to clean up the environment.
What is a Neobank?
A neobank is simply a bank that operates without any physical branch. It is also known as an “online bank,” an “Internet-only bank,” a “virtual bank,” or a “digital bank.”
A neobank only exists in the virtual realm, much like an e-commerce store like Amazon that does not have brick-and-mortar establishments.
What is PropTech?
Property technology or PropTech, for short, refers to applying IT and platform economics to the real estate industry. Platform economics, in this sense, gives users a glimpse into the social and economic activities shaping the sector through a digital interface. PropTech is also known as “real estate technology.”
In the simplest terms, PropTech involves using IT to revolutionize or enable the real estate industry’s digital transformation.
What is a Quantum Computer?
A quantum computer is a device modeled after the principles of quantum mechanics. It is characterized by unprecedented processing power, which can solve complex problems in a matter of seconds, rather than thousands of years.
Regular computers (your desktop or laptop at home or in the office) encode information in binary digits or bits represented by the numbers “0” and “1.” Your computer has to manipulate billions of these bits based on a given set of instructions to produce a single word or image. The computer repeats this process over and over at a rapid pace until it completes the output.
A quantum computer is a standard computer on steroids. It processes information using a different unit of data called a “quantum bit” or a “qubit.” A qubit runs exponentially faster than a bit, allowing a quantum computer to solve a problem much more rapidly than a normal one does.
What is a Qubit?
Qubit is short for “quantum bit,” which is the unit of measure for quantum information. It is the quantum computing version of a binary digit or a bit.
In classical computing, bits are used to communicate encoded information. They represent two possible states represented by 0 and 1. These two states could mean “true” or “false,” “empty” or “full,” or “on” or “off.” Bits can only operate in one of two states at one time. They can switch from one state to another at a slow speed and under low electronic voltage.
A qubit is similar to a bit in the sense that it encodes information on two levels. Unlike a bit, though, a qubit does so in two quantum states at the same time. That said, you can only manipulate qubits to accomplish complicated tasks or calculations using so-called quantum principles such as quantum superposition or entanglement. Because of this property, a qubit can encode a more expansive array of information than a bit.
In Dirac notation, which is a way to describe quantum states, the following equation represents a qubit:
|0〉 + |1〉
What is Regtech?
Imagine if financial companies can collect every detail about mistakes they’ve made in the past few years and use the information to come up with suggestions to do better next time. With this ability, many such firms would be able to find areas for improvement easily and ensure that due diligence is maintained at all times.
That is the very essence of regtech. It’s a combination of the words “regulatory” and “technology” and is a relatively new field that aims to help financial organizations analyze big data to predict risk areas they should focus on to ensure compliance with regulations.
Regtech solutions should provide a number of features that include handling real-time data in the proper context and integrability with existing systems. They should also help users analyze trade-offs between risks and rewards and more.
What is Smart Dust?
In the 90s, a researcher named Kris Pister predicted that people in the future would be sending out numerous miniature sensors no bigger than grains of rice to carry out various observations and studies. He called these specks of technology “smart dust.”
These are tiny sensors that can be used to detect and monitor everything on the planet – light, vibration, temperature, etc. – acting just like the nerve endings on our body. Smart dust systems will be operated wirelessly and will be able to observe and relay a huge amount of real-time data on people, cities, and environments.