In 2011, breakthroughs in medical, cellular, commercial and military technology held the promise of improving life for people around the globe. Smartphones are helping people stay connected in ways that weren't possible a few years ago. Advances in disease diagnosis are helping medical practitioners better identify and treat threats to human health.
Medical technology plays a pivotal role in helping people lead healthier and longer lives. According to Reuters, tuberculosis is one of the world's top 10 leading causes of death. Cepheid, a developer of microfluidics and microelectronics technologies for DNA analysis, announced in 2009 a test that diagnoses tuberculosis in a couple of hours rather than several weeks. The test helps doctors determine appropriate treatments. Modern medical technology helps healthcare professionals to accurately and efficiently diagnose, analyze and treat a wide range of diseases.
Mobile technology has morphed from the 25-pound devices that were common several decades ago to the Internet-ready and pocket-thin phones of 2011. There are billions of mobile phone subscribers worldwide, and all trends indicate a rise in mobile and smartphone subscriptions into 2012 and beyond. Mobile technology helps users stay connected and conduct business in places where traditional landline phones may not be available. With the advent of social media like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, smartphones that allow you to surf the Web and post content to these outlets are growing in popularity.
Technology that helps businesses run more efficiently is always in demand. Photocopiers, fax machines and office printers are just a few technologies that are constantly evolving. Since 2006, Xerox Corp. has been heralding the advent of an erasable, eco-friendly paper it hopes will become a mainstay among businesses. The technology would significantly reduce the amount of paper a business consumes. No ink is necessary, and text and images on the erasable paper would vanish after a few days, making the paper reusable. The finished product has yet to hit the market.
Military technology is crucial to a nation's ability to defend itself against threats of violence and terrorism. Nations develop vehicles, aircraft, missiles and even biological agents designed to harm or kill enemy targets. If a nation wants to possess a type of technology but doesn't have the capability or resources to produce it, that country will seek to obtain it from another nation. For example, a CNN report said several countries have expressed an interest in acquiring U.S. military helicopters. Nations will also trade weapons to ensure they are prepared to respond to threats.