BBC Future

2012: Visions of the future

  • Mind control
    A woman who lost the use of her arms in a stroke was able to eat and sip coffee using a thought-guided robotic arm. (Copyright: Reuters/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center)
  • Supersonic airliner
    In August, the US military tested a new jet – Waverider – which may help create a future hypersonic airliner that travels six times the speed of sound. (Copyright: Nasa)
  • Zappy snapping
    Light-field photography may be the big new thing in digital imaging; cameras like this year's Lytro allow pics to be refocused after snapping. (Copyright: Lytro)
  • Iron giant
    Suidobashi Heavy Industry unveiled Kuratas: a 13-ft (4-m) high, smartphone-controllable robot with motion-controlled weapons. Yours for $1.35 million. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Backpack air force
    Drones that can be launched by hand have been in service for some time – but the US has invented a kamikaze attack version which dives onto targets. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
  • Robot rover
    The AlphaDog robot could be future soldiers' best friend – able to clamber over all sorts of terrain for 20 miles (32km), carrying 400lbs (180kg) of gear. (Copyright: Darpa)
  • Bunsen burger
    In-vitro meat – grown artificially in a lab – may be a step nearer, after scientists created edible tissue in a Dutch facility. (Copyright: SPL)
  • Twist and shout
    Phones that can be bent and twisted may be the hot new trend for 2013, after various flexible prototypes were unveiled this year. (Copyright: Samsung)
  • Foam first aid
    The next generation of soldiers on the battlefields may be treated with a new method – a prototype foam – which can be injected to prevent internal bleeding. (Copyright: Darpa)
  • Gasoline from air
    Could we power our vehicles from thin air? Possibly. Scientists in October converted the elements of air into a form of methanol to power an engine. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
Images of some of the technology of tomorrow – from handheld attack drones to lab-grown burgers.

More amazing image galleries of the year:

A year in space

The year in technology

A year of discovery

People of the year

The year in weather

The year in wildlife

Weird and wonderful


New frontiers

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