Intro

<p></p> <p>Today's technologies can look an awful lot like ideas from the world of tomorrow. Robots have begun venturing beyond the factory assembly lines and moving into hospitals or homes. Computers seem poised to take over the world economy and put human financial traders out of their jobs by making lightning-quick trades on tiny movements in stock prices. Militaries have begun deploying virtual reality training for soldiers and testing laser weapons for battlefield action on land, sea and air.</p> <p>But human brains can still have a hard time adjusting to the disruptions in their world. That's why we've picked some of our favorite stories from 2011 about disruptive technologies. Some represent a first breakthrough step toward creating commercial technologies; others signify investments in wild ideas ripped from science fiction stories of the past. All of have the capacity to reshape the future as we think we know it.</p> <p>Read on for the top 10 disruptive tech stories of 2011.</p> <p><i>Follow InnovationNewsDaily on Twitter @<a target="_blank" href="http://twitter.com/#%21/News_Innovation" mce_href="http://twitter.com/#%21/News_Innovation">News_Innovation,</a> or on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/InnovationNewsDaily" mce_href="http://www.facebook.com/InnovationNewsDaily">Facebook</a>.</i></p> <p></p>

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<p style="text-align: center;" mce_style="text-align: center;"></p> <p><b>DARPA Lays Out Tech for 100-Year Starship Program</b></p> <p>Starship technology still lags far behind Star Trek's Enterprise, but that could change with a project started this year by the U.S. military's premier research agency, DARPA, and NASA. Now rocket scientists and science fiction authors just have to figure out how to set up an organization capable of keeping the dream alive for the next century and maybe even create some space tech spinoffs in the process.</p> <p>Check out the <a alt="((CONLINK|5067|full%20story%20here))" href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/5067-darpa-100-year-starship.html">full story here</a> .</p> <p></p>

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<p></p> <p><b>New Sticky Tape Could Let Humans Scale Walls Like Spiderman</b> <br></p> <p>There's no radioactive spider bite needed for humans or robots to gain wall-clinging abilities. New sticky tape inspired by insect feet holds a man dangling from the ceiling, can be detached and reused thousands of times over, and even works in wet conditions.</p> <p>Check out the <a alt="((CONLINK|5353|full%20story%20here))" href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/5353-new-sticky-tape-could-let-humans-scale-walls-like-spiderman.html">full story here</a> .</p> <p></p>

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<p></p> <p><b>'Invisibility Cloak' Renders Objects Hidden to the Naked Eye</b><br></p> <p>No working invisibility cloak exists outside the world of Harry Potter, but researchers keep getting closer each year. One of their latest tricks involves a material filled with tiny holes that alters the speed of light. That has proven enough to hide a tiny object the size of a red blood cell from even visible light, and it might do more if it ever gets supersized.</p> <p>Check out the <a alt="((CONLINK|5146|full%20story%20here))" href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/5146-invisible-cloak-spectrum-light-hidden-metamaterials.html">full story here</a> .</p> <p></p>

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<p></p> <p><b>Breakthrough Material Purifies Water While Generating Electricity</b><br></p> <p>Abundant aluminum may someday get a chance to shine as a source of both electricity and clean water. That's because a Purdue University engineer has created an aluminum alloy that could prove a more promising energy source than coal, if he can refine the process. A first step could involve helping out remote villages cut off from the power grid.</p> <p>Check out the <a alt="((CONLINK|5024|full%20story%20here))" href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/5024-aluminum-water-purification-alternative-energy.html">full story here</a> .</p> <p></p>

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<p></p> <p><b>US Army Launches Hypersonic Weapon Test Flight</b><br></p> <p>A successful test by the U.S. Army points to a future hypersonic weapon flying across the world's oceans at more than 5 times the speed of sound that could strike anywhere on Earth in as little as an hour. On a less destructive note, such hypersonic flight testing might also speed along development of hypersonic passenger aircraft to deliver people in the same amount of time.</p> <p>Check out the <a alt="((CONLINK|5346|full%20story%20here))" href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/5346-army-hypersonic-weapon-test-success.html">full story here</a> .</p> <p></p>

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<p style="text-align: center;" mce_style="text-align: center;"></p> <p><b>Brain-Reading Devices Could Kill the Keyboard</b><br></p> <p>Typing on keyboards and even touchscreens may become extinct if scientists can make mind-reading technologies that translate human thought into digital text. An experiment using fMRI brains scans has taken a step in that direction by identifying the brain activity related to words grouped in certain topics. Next up, researchers will try to distinguish between brain signals for "carrot" versus "celery."</p> <p>Check out the <a alt="((CONLINK|5205|full%20story%20here))" href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/5205-brain-scans-mind-reading-words.html">full story here</a> .</p> <p></p>

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<p></p> <p><b>World's Lightest Solid Takes Inspiration From Eiffel Tower </b><br></p> <p>Springy metal lattices consisting of 99.99 percent open space have taken the crown as the world's lightest solid in existence. That structural breakthrough could end up creating the next generation of materials with extraordinary strength and lightness even lattices made of materials such as diamond. Superman may want to reconsider redoing his "Man of Steel" title.</p> <p>Check out the <a alt="((CONLINK|5348|full%20story%20here))" href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/5348-worlds-lightest-solid-takes-inspiration-from-eiffel-tower.html">full story here</a> .</p> <p></p>

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<p></p> <p><b>NASA Looks to 3D Printing for Spare Space-Station Parts</b><br></p> <p>Space exploration missions still wrestle with expensive launch costs for even the smallest robotic probes, but 3D printers offer a cheaper solution just build everything in space free from Earth's gravity. If a NASA-backed private effort is successful, astronauts could use a 3D printer to make replacement tools, small satellites and even spare space station parts. It's the same reasoning that led "Star Wars" shipbuilders to construct Star Destroyers in space. </p> <p>Check out the <a alt="((CONLINK|5378|full%20story%20here))" href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/5378-3d-printer-space-station-factory.html">full story here</a> .</p> <p></p>

Slide 10

<p></p> <p><b>Genetically Engineered Cell Shoots Out First-Ever Biological Laser</b><br></p> <p>Genetic engineering has finally created something that mutant superheroes, laser cats and Dr. Evil can all appreciate a cell that shoots laser beams. Such lasers won't destroy cancer anytime soon, but researchers are hopeful that they could become tools for imaging microbes without requiring a microscope.</p> <p>Check out the <a alt="((CONLINK|2725|full%20story%20here))" href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/2725-biological-laser-first-ever.html">full story here</a> .</p> <p></p>

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<p></p> <p><b>'Matrix'-Style Learning Implants New Skills in Brain</b><br></p> <p>Just stare at the computer screen and concentrate to learn new skills ranging from playing the piano to swinging a baseball bat. The very real possibility of automated or hypnotic learning all without a person's awareness of what they're learning should be enough to excite anyone even without science fiction references to "The Matrix" or "Inception."</p> <p>Check out the <a alt="((CONLINK|5384|full%20story%20here))" href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/5384-matrix-inception-brain-manipulation.html">full story here</a> .<br mce_bogus="1"></p>

Top 10 Disruptive Tech Stories of 2011