Technology changes rapidly, creating demand for specialists who can use new tools for further innovation. These inventors are tasked with finding ways to use current innovations in new ways to solve today’s biggest problems.

Artificial intelligence (AI) provides an example of the relationship between technology and invention. AI experts have used natural language processing (NLP) and large language models to build platforms like ChatGPT, which can process data to find answers to queries and communicate them in natural language. Now ChatGPT is serving as a framework for more specialized AI applications.

Innovators can also find a growing list of opportunities in other rapidly changing tech specialties, from telecommunications and renewable energy to virtual reality and wearable devices. Here is a closer look at 10 tech-driven trends and the challenges today’s inventors try to address with innovative ideas.

Eco-conscious technology

Eco-friendly innovations like renewable energy and electric transportation are advancing faster than expected. Businesses and governments value the cost-saving, energy independence and resilience benefits of renewables in addition to the role they play in combating pollution and global warming.

Innovations in these areas revolve around making eco-friendly tech more practical and accessible. The ongoing race to utilize clean energy leads to almost constant innovation, with inventors experimenting with new materials, designs and battery technologies to solve intermittency issues of solar power and increase the affordability of electric vehicles and equipment.

For instance, specialized solar design software is helping solar installers design systems for maximum energy yield for both ground-mounted commercial solar arrays and roof-mounted residential solar systems. Meanwhile, other inventions like bifacial solar panels are increasing the efficiency and total energy output of each panel.

Wearable technology

Recent polls show that one in three Americans uses a wearable device, like fitness trackers and smartwatches. Wearables are most common among educated adults in the 18-49 demographic in higher income brackets. Wearable technology can extend to eyewear and augmented reality (AR devices) and wearable cameras like GoPro.

Inventors are trying to advance Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to include wearable devices on common everyday products like shoes, shirts and jewelry. These devices could serve the same purpose as a smartwatch or perform specialized functions, like monitoring the health of someone with a chronic illness.

Accessible technology

Accessibility tech is a fast-growing sector, with inventors developing new technology to assist people with disabilities as they complete everyday tasks.

Innovators are trying to apply today’s technological advances to specific accessibility problems. These include smart eyewear for people with vision limitations and smart home features that can automate lighting, locks and climate controls for people with mobility limitations.

The advances are not limited to practical tools. Project Leonardo offers specialized Playstation controllers for people with limited control of their hands, and L’Oreal’s HAPTA device automates makeup application for those who have difficulty with fine motor skills.


Today’s consumers expect a personalized experience. McKinsey and Company found that 71% of shoppers expect personalized offers when shopping online, and 76% admit to being frustrated when they don’t get a personalized experience.

Today’s inventors need to use tools like AI to assess consumer data and provide personalized experiences online or via mobile or smart devices. The challenge is to offer these features while abiding by data privacy regulations and ethical guidelines.

AI influence

AI has an increasing number of applications in the digital world. It can find patterns and behaviors, make predictions and adjust settings based on advanced data analytics. Because it can process huge amounts of data almost instantaneously, AI can make informed decisions and weigh many variables to decide on the best course of action.

For instance, AI-powered safety systems on cars can assess onboard sensor and camera data and apply the brakes to avoid potential collisions. Inventors are striving to adapt such automation for other functions, potentially improving safety and efficiency for consumers and businesses.

VR options

Virtual reality (VR) is a fast-growing sector. The global market for VR products is expected to grow at almost 30% per year, becoming several times larger by 2030 than it is today. This growth will likely be accompanied by further improvements to hardware, software, and processing speeds of VR devices.

While some VR development revolves around entertainment, other applications for VR technology focus on a variety of use cases. For instance, VR systems can help architects and industrial designers streamline workflows and preview designs. Other areas for advancement include training for surgeons, armed forces personnel and emergency responders, who can practice the necessary skills without the risks inherent in their jobs.

Fiber internet

Fiber optic technology relies on light to send information along glass or plastic fiber cables. Fiber can transmit more data at faster speeds than traditional metal cables made from copper.

Consumers and businesses need high-speed connections and large bandwidths to handle the data-intensive functions common in today’s technology. Those with fiber connections will have the flexibility to utilize more tools than those relying on other connections.

In addition to improving performance, inventors will need to find ways to overcome some of the obstacles to fiber deployment. These include high costs and complex installation processes that often involve burying cables.

Shifts in transportation modes

Though internal combustion cars still dominate transportation in the US, the use of electric vehicles (EVs) is growing. These vehicles reduce emissions and lessen the dependency on fossil fuel imports. Inventors need to develop advanced EV battery systems and charging methods to make EVs more practical, accessible and affordable for consumers. One possibility is integrating ultra-efficient solar cells in the vehicle body to assist with charging.

Meanwhile, smart route planning using real-time data can help drivers get from Point A to Point B faster and assist with public transportation planning and route management. Innovations like connected onboard sensors can help facilitate traffic control for both private cars and public transit vehicles, improving safety and lowering commute times.

Changing online ecosystems

Online communities have changed so that they now revolve around social media platforms and mobile applications. Innovators can work on devices and applications that incorporate new technologies like 5G, which enables real-time interactions and high-speed media sharing, so that users can make the most of the web.

In addition to higher connection speeds, tech innovators can add features that make sharing easier. For instance, location and time stamps allow users to add information to the media they share. Such features extend beyond communicating with friends to include practical features like real-time navigation and tracking lost devices.


Today’s technology needs to be physically resilient to withstand intense daily use in many conditions, especially amid the increasingly severe weather brought on by climate change. The rapid pace of change in technology like mobile devices and electric vehicles further complicates product development, as devices need the ability to accommodate upgrades.

This means products should be forward-compatible, or able to receive future updates and avoid becoming obsolete technology that turns into waste. For instance, new batteries could make the previous generation of EV power sources outdated, while smartphones without 5G capabilities may not be able to run new apps or connect to the fastest networks. Innovators must consider these and other future possibilities to ensure longevity for their inventions.

The constant evolution of the tech sector will continue to challenge the next generation of innovators and require them to find ways to create flexible and scalable solutions to solve today’s most pressing problems.