Our creativity and resourcefulness define who we are as Canadians. Innovation is at the very heart of our collective psyche, and now, more than ever, NRC is needed as an integral part of our nation's innovation landscape. New technologies will change the way we access information, interact with each other, buy goods and services, and build our communities. Entire industries will be transformed as markets and businesses race to adapt.
Next generation broadband, big data analytics and the Internet of Things are just a few technologies that will enable anyone, anywhere to access personalized resources for education, nutrition and wellness, health diagnosis and customized treatment. Meanwhile, countries around the world are responding to climate change by rapidly moving to lower their carbon footprint. Canada's future depends on developing innovations in all these areas, and NRC will prove instrumental in their delivery.
Smarter homes and buildings
Smarter homes and buildings will mean better construction and an evolution towards the "computer home."
Intelligent homes, buildings and communities will revolutionize the way we live. Innovations in 3-D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence and smart building materials will change the construction of new homes, making them stronger and more energy efficient. Canadian manufacturing will use revolutionary technologies on the factory floor aimed at reducing construction and design costs for physical infrastructure and next-generation buildings.
Smart buildings will sense people, their comfort and security needs, and be able to adapt instantly. Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will move us from the age of the home computer to the age of the "computer home." Homes, supported by safe and secure cyberspace networks, will be able to link, interpret and relay nformation coming from a variety of sensors in appliances, fixtures and fittings—information that ranges from specific needs and monitoring of occupants to basic system diagnostics.
Hand-held devices will allow Canadians greater freedom to self-diagnose themselves at home.
In the not too distant future, health monitoring will move beyond the clinical setting, closer to the patient. Smart homes (with robotic aids) will largely eliminate institutional care and encourage independent living, allowing Canadians to remain in their own homes for as long as possible.
Soon, hand-held diagnostic devices will house a "lab-on-a-chip" that people may use routinely and keep in their medicine cabinets. Precision medicine grounded in genomics-based technologies will target and destroy diseased cells or invasive viruses and bacteria, ultimately lessening the need for medication, chemicals and radiation.
Cost-effective life extension, therapeutics, diagnostic devices, wellness—water, food and nutrition, health monitoring and improving the ability to deliver healthcare to all Canadians will be paramount in the years to come.
A "greener" Canada
Alternative energies and more efficient and safer energy production will become key as Canada gets "greener."
The impact of greenhouse gas emissions has created a deepseated trend to a "greener everything." Increasingly important will be the development of alternative and renewable energy sources and systems, as well as technologies to increase efficiency and safety in energy production, transportation and usage.
Urban communities will rely on recycling programs that process both bio and non-biomaterials at the same time. A variety of waste streams, including wastewater, food and other biomass will become viable sources of energy and raw materials for building construction.
Bioreactors using algae modified through biology will allow firms to produce cheap fuels that use only sunlight, waste CO2 and water. Production costs for diesel and ethanol through "green chemistry" could make CO2 a valuable commodity as a fuel for bioreactors. Before long, carbon-emitting facilities may actually diversify into green manufacturing plants.