Each year MIT Technology Review releases their list of 10 Breakthrough Technologies. They describe these as:
"advances from the past year all solve thorny problems or create powerful new ways of using technology. They are breakthroughs that will matter for years to come."
Their 10 are:
Relatively cheap drones with advanced sensors and imaging capabilities are giving farmers new ways to increase yields and reduce crop damage.
New models built with security and privacy in mind reflect the Zeitgeist of the Snowden era.
A new map, a decade in the works, shows structures of the brain in far greater detail than ever before, providing neuroscientists with a guide to its immense complexity.
Microprocessors configured more like brains than traditional chips could soon make computers far more astute about what’s going on around them.
The ability to create primates with intentional mutations could provide powerful new ways to study complex and genetically baffling brain disorders.
Microscale 3-D Printing
Inks made from different types of materials, precisely applied, are greatly expanding the kinds of things that can be printed.
The smartphone era is finally getting the productivity software it needs.
Thirty years after virtual-reality goggles and immersive virtual worlds made their debut, the technology finally seems poised for widespread use.
Computer scientists have created machines that have the balance and agility to walk and run across rough and uneven terrain, making them far more useful in navigating human environments.
Smart Wind and Solar Power
Big data and artificial intelligence are producing ultra-accurate forecasts that will make it feasible to integrate much more renewable energy into the grid.
The article has much, much more on each of these technologies and is well worth reading.