Disruptive Technology, 2014

Disruptive technology, to me, is software or hardware that upends, replaces, or disrupts an existing market, methodology or process. Here are 10 notable disruptions that caught my attention this year, in no particular order:
  • 3D printed tissue engineering / bioprinting - Move over lab grown beef and incredibly long wait lists for human organ transplants, this tech allows scientists to potentially grow replacement body parts, organs, or bone. (e.g., heart valve tissue)
  • Sensory Substitution Devices (enables the visually blind to see colors and shapes, e.g., EyeMusic)
  • Volkswagon's XL1 fuel efficient car
  • WiFi-enabled automobiles (this came out last year, but we didn't start seeing Internet ads for it until this summer)
  • Circuit design without pre-fabricated circuit boards (e.g., Circuit Scribe fast drying liquid ink circuits)
  • Commercial drones and minidrones for domestic surveillance (e.g., Parrot)
  • IoT wearable tech for health (e.g., Microsoft Health Band)
  • Organic LEDs / flexible display screens (e.g., Sony's 13-inch Digital Paper)
  • Verizon's VGo Telepresence (video conferencing with robotic interface)
  • Credit card and mobile payment processing for smartphones and tablets (e.g., Square)
And while not a technology, the most disruptive change to an established, traditional business model was CVS pharmacy. Read more about this unique ad campaign to change public perception about the role of the neighborhood pharmacy and the fight against big tobacco. While chain stores and pharmacies still sell chips, soda, and candy, banning tobacco products is still a big step towards a better tomorrow.

What didn't make the cut:
  • the Hendo hoverboard - has promise, but the marketing/concept video is a #fail for consumer use. It would prove worthy if it could move dense items in human/robot unfriend and inhospitable surfaces, like on the moon or Mars for example.
  • 3D printable prosthetics - this "industry" has been around for a while; there is a lot to still be done before it becomes a mainstream way of life
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