Computing, chips, foundational technology: the next 8 big things, from smart home connectivity to AI-assisted chip design
A device for 3D printing metals, an AI-powered edge for chip design, and more.
Thanks to innovations in computing and chips, our technology is smarter and better connected than ever. We now have AI to help make processors faster, more capable, and more energy efficient; 3D printing to create metals at much higher speeds than existing technology; and connectivity protocols to create reliable and secure IoT ecosystems.
The companies behind these technologies are among the honorees in Fast Company’s Next Big Things in Tech Awards for 2022. See a full list of all winners in all categories here.
Every aspect of our digital future ultimately depends on processors remaining faster, more capable and more energy efficient. Cerebrus Intelligent Chip Explorer software allows chip designers to define broad targets and then hand over much of the heavy lifting to AI. That can help a single designer complete projects on days that might previously have required months of effort by an entire team.
Connectivity Standards Alliance
To unite smart home players on a single platform
For too long, consumers buying smart home equipment have had to grapple with questions like whether they want their connected bulbs to work with Amazon, Apple or Google ecosystems. Now those giants, and hundreds of other companies, back Matter from the Connectivity Standards Alliance, a single standard for keeping everything in sync . The first products will arrive at the end of 2022.
To accelerate the development of quantum computers
The epoch-changing potential of quantum computing relies on building blocks known as qubits, and increasing a quantum chip’s qubit count exponentially increases its cost and complexity. Rigetti has created the industry’s first commercial multichip quantum processor , allowing it to augment qubits in a more efficient way. That could accelerate the deployment of the technology for demanding real-world tasks where it could be transformative, such as drug discovery.
For putting the pedal on the metal 3D printing
For all its usefulness, 3D printing is slow and expensive, making it impractical for mass production. Seurat’s printing area, created at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, prints metal parts ten times faster than existing technology. By 2030, the company aims to reduce cost enough to allow everything from screws to cutlery to be produced at scale in the U.S.