Dr. Mac’s Prognostications on Tech in 2028

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #298

I was in Germany last week checking out the tech scene and the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. While I’d only been hearing about this festival for a year or two, the now 13-year old festival and conference has become “the South by Southwest of Germany.” With more than 600 bands and musicians and hundreds of conference sessions and workshops, it was indeed reminiscent of Austin’s famous South by Southwest festival, but with nicer weather and tastier German cuisine.

A pig's knuckle with sauerkraut is a German delicacy that tasted even better than it looks.
A pig’s knuckle with sauerkraut — a German delicacy that tastes even better than it looks.

So, having been immersed in the German perspective on future tech for a week, I’d like to offer a few predictions about what things might look like in a decade.

The Operating Room of 2028

By 2028, many hospital operating rooms will be equipped for robot-assisted surgery. I watched a demonstration of a smart surgical suite created by the Innovation Center Computer Assisted Surgery (ICCAS), and am convinced that computers and robots will be a staple of many operating rooms within a decade, improving doctors’ accuracy and shortening your time on the operating table. Another demo showed a robotic arm controlling a surgical needle more precisely and less invasively than a human.

The operating suite of the future will include robots, sensors, monitors, and more.
The operating suite of the future will include robots, sensors, monitors, and more.

5G Wireless in 2028

The next generation of wireless service known as 5G will begin rolling out soon. If you’ve heard anything about 5G, you may think its biggest advantage is speed, since it will be much faster than our current 4G wireless networks. But I learned something last week that makes me think speed may not be 5G’s biggest advantage. That is that 5G can reduce latency—the time between issuing an instruction at one end and its execution on the other. And, ultra-low latency will enable near real-time wireless data communication, which will make shared intelligence between vehicles possible. Then, each car or truck can have situational awareness of nearby vehicles and respond appropriately in less time. When combined with the cameras and sensors of today, I predict that 5G’s low latency will spur the growth of driverless vehicles by making them safer.

Prof. Dr. -Ing. Dr. h. c. Frank H. P. Fitzek, of the Technische Universat Dresden, made the whole 5G thing make sense to me.
Prof. Dr. -Ing. Dr. h. c. Frank H. P. Fitzek, of the Technische Universat Dresden explained 5G in a way that made total sense.

Virtual Reality (VR) Doesn’t Make Me Vomit Anymore!

Moving right along, by 2028 virtual reality (VR) will become mainstream. Last year I tested a few VR setups, but they all made me nauseous within minutes. This year I tested several next-generation VR systems and was tickled to learn they no longer make me sick. And, in fact, they were so cool I didn’t want to take the headset off. In ten years, virtual reality will be ubiquitous in location-based entertainment venues including arcades, laser-tag emporiums, bowling alleys, movie theaters, arenas, and concert halls.

VR Laser Tag was more fun (and prettier) than real laser tag; I wish you could see what we saw in the headsets!
VR Laser Tag was more fun (and prettier) than real laser tag; I wish you could see what we saw in the headsets!

Plus, VR systems will dominate home gaming by 2028, pairing lightweight ultra-high resolution headsets with powerful CPUs and GPUs to create an immersive experience at popular prices.

3D Printing Revolution

Finally, 3D printing is about to revolutionize the spare parts and repair industries. 3D printed parts of steel, aluminum, and titanium are already being deployed in aircraft, cruise ships, and cars including the Bugatti Chyron.

This part was; 3D printed as shown; all of the gears turn flawlessly.
This part was 3D printed as shown; all of the gears turn flawlessly.

By the year 2028, waiting for a part to ship from a far-off warehouse will be a distant memory, with many businesses printing proper parts on demand.

4 thoughts on “Dr. Mac’s Prognostications on Tech in 2028

  • Bob:

    I won’t comment on the aesthetics of your dish, other than to say, Bon Appétit.

    Regarding your prognostications, robotics are finding their way into surgical suites, and this will proliferate in near future for many of the more mundane and routine surgical procedures. The more complex procedures are more likely to support remote access/control, if they supplant the current remote consultancy capacity of many surgical suites, where a consulting surgeon can assist with a procedure.

    Regarding 5G wireless capacity, my limited understanding is that its speed gains over 4G are relatively modest, and more tests are required for comparison once the systems gets rolled out. Rather, a principal driver for its deployment is about latency, for the purposes that you’ve described for smart cars and device connectivity writ large, as well as its improved efficiency, especially power consumption per unit output, and overall greater system capacity.

    As for 3D printing, prepare to be amazed.

    1. I was already amazed. 3D-printed parts for aircraft, autos, and boats are already approved and in use. They’re just very, very pricey at this moment. But, like all good tech, the price will go down (and down and down), and by 2028 a 3D-printer will replace parts departments (and entire parts warehouses) in many product categories.

      It was a real eye-opener to see what is already possible. And the pig knuckle was amazing (if you go for that sort of thing).


      1. In fact, what I had in mind was the potential in medicine and health, and the ‘printing’ of replacement organs and limbs https://www.bbc.com/news/health-35581454. Even more intriguing is the possibility, that with the development of even more capable computational power, is printing or replication at the molecular level, and perhaps eventually the ability to replicate surface antigens to organs that are identical to one’s own cells, de novo, such that the body recognises the organ as ‘self’ even if developed from non-self cells or materials. It will radically alter life expectancy and survival around catastrophic events.

        This will be especially useful in those fields where it is difficult to either the organ or a match, or where there is an absence of a key system part at birth. The implications for sight and hearing alone are staggering, not to mention a host of not uncommon birth defects.

        And this, without even touching on the implications for ageing, and the intersection with nano technology for internal organ and bone repair. This is but the earliest stages of the technology. Think Star Trek replicator level amazing – except not out of thin air, nor even instantaneous.

        As for the pig knuckle, I’ll have to take your word for it. As one who primarily dines on fish and poultry, and having spent most of my life in countries where pork was not readily consumed, my appreciation will remain vicarious.

        BTW: are you planning an R&R on the AW Series 4, or has TMO sufficiently covered it?

      2. Agree with all. I wish I weren’t so old – I’d love to live long enough to see some of this stuff become ubiquitous.

        As for AW Series 4… If/when I get one, I’ll almost certainly write about it. 🙂 I’m on the fence, as my current watch is a Series 3 cellular and I’m not sure I want to upgrade EVERY year.

        I might, though. We’ll see.

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