In some ways things are easy to predict… we’re just waiting for pieces of the jigsaw to turn up.
Robot muscles for example. I’m pretty sure that servos aren’t the way to go, although they’re dominating things at the moment. Robert Full went on about designing from nature a while back… noting that most organisms legs were basically feet on springy sticks.
“the control algorithms are embedded in the form of the animal itself.
Compare and contrast… “the world’s fastest” hexapod based on servos compared with The Stanford Sprawl machine, that uses springy legs
The worlds fastest hexapod is a LOT faster than the others – and pretty clever – but it’s still considerably slower than the considerably less clever model…
… and it’s all down to the muscles. A missing link in robotics is muscles. I went on about air-muscles a while back… and pneumatics is pretty interesting because it does all clip together like lego… but compressors are too big at the moment.
So anyway. There it is – missing links. Other missing links that I can think of off the top of my head – that we are creeping towards slowly:
- fast-charging, long storing, more efficient batteries
- pennies per watt solar electric
- cheap and easy oil from algae extraction
- smooth 3D printing
- Direct to retina screens
- a brain -> machine link
etc etc. A bit like flat screens ( the thing you’re probably looking at right now)… classic “Are We There Yet” technology that’s predicted decades in advance and takes an eternity to turn up… but when it does (as predicted) it changes everything.