Technologies and Opportunities We Are Keeping an Eye on For 2020

Technologies and Opportunities We Are Keeping an Eye on For 2020: A list of technologies that are enabling new products and startups and some emerging needs in 2020 that are driving their use.

First published in June 2020 in response to a question on Hacker News this post remains a work in progress. Please leave comments or contact me with questions and suggestions.

Technologies and Opportunities We Are Keeping an Eye on For 2020


  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
  • Optically Pumped Magnetometers
  • Heat Cabinet for Infectious Diseases
  • UV treatment of blood


  • Covid-19
  • Privacy

Optical Coherence Tomography

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) occupies a intermediate position in accuracy / skin depth for soft tissue between ultrasound and MRI

Confocal vs. OCT vs. Ultrasound. The resolution and penetration depth of OCT falls between those of confocal microscopy and ultrasound (echocardiography). These parameters make OCT highly suitable for analysis of the embryonic heart (figure modified from Fujimoto, 2002).

Image from From “Capturing structure and function in an embryonic heart with Biophotonic tools” by Ganga Karunamuni and Shi Gu

Finding technologies that occupy a new p0int on a trade-off curve between two desirable characteristics is one way to look for emerging opportunities. In this case OCT gives better one to three orders of magnitude better feature resolution and than ultrasound (1 micrometer vs. 10 micrometers to 1mm depending upon depth of tissue penetration required) while ultrasound can penetrate one to three orders of magnitude more deeply into tissue (1 mm for OCT vs. 10 cm for ultrasound).

See also

Optically Pumped Magnetometers

Optically pumped magnetometers (OPM) approaches SQUID level accuracy without need for supercooled device, can be worn or used as a contact sensor like ultrasound.


LoRA long range (10km +) low power sub-gigahertz radio frequency protocol useful for battery powered IoT devices transmitting small amounts of data.

Heat Cabinet for Infectious Diseases

Heat cabinet for infectious diseases, an old technology used to fight polio and other diseases that went out of favor with introduction of antibiotics. May find utility against novel viral infections.

UV treatment of blood

UV light treatment of blood. Another old technology that may find use against novel infectious agents. Stimulates immune system to fight viral infections.

Opportunity can come from ideas that are correct but not generally accepted as correct.

If it were to work it would be a useful new modality. I am not promoting it, but it’s on my “watch list” due to efforts by AYTU at Cedars Sinai.
I am talking about work being done in clinical trials at reputable medical clinics. They may be mistaken but I don’t think it’s “silliness.” Here is a recent clinical trial evaluating UVBI
Of course there are many other mainstream treatments that came from somewhat oddball ideas: Sister Kenney’s treatments for polio, the Nobel prize winning discovery by Barry Marshall and Robin Warren that ulcers were caused by bacteria (H. Pylori), the use of leaches for treatment of venous congestion after surgery, and the use of maggots for wound debridement.



Has triggered massive changes in multiple industries, some transient, some likely to be long lasting.


“I am here to explain that privacy legislation, like the GDPR and CCPA, is not only pro-consumer, but also pro-business, and pro-advertising. I have three key points to make

  • Privacy legislation is not anti-advertising.
  • Privacy is good for business. Consumers flock to brands they trust and respect.
  • Well-drafted privacy legislation can spur more competition and innovation in one of the most foundational markets of the Internet: digital advertising. This market is currently a duopoly, and this reality is hurting everyone from small businesses to venture-backed startups to media companies. To restore competition and innovation in this market, the data monopolies at its core need to be addressed.

Gabriel Weinberg in Senate Testimony March 12, 2020

Related Links for Privacy

Better Email management tools

These should use existing transport but allow you to manage 1,000 to 10,000 inbound messages that may be received in a day with only an hour of work.

The people and businesses who have the problem are willing to pay a lot to solve it. It’s a high value problem to solve.

If your competitor(s) could process the equivalent of 10,000 inbound messages a day would they be able to maintain a higher level of situational awareness on early trends and harbingers? Could they uncover and address opportunities before you became aware of them?

Please Note: this is not meant to offer encouragement for more people to send 10,000 outbound messages or fall into Uncanny Valley of Email Automation (see…)

IoT / Mirror World / Smart City / Digital Twin / Cyberspace is everting

This is a driver and enabler, a self-reinforcing trend. Sensors are woven into more of the natural world and the built world. Opportunities for services and better management and governance of natural and built world. Implications for Privacy. See…

Why we publish a post that gives good ideas away

We have many more insights or “good ideas” than we can execute on. Since we want to see them come to fruition and are not harmed by giving away a substantial fraction that we don’t plan to execute on, our hope is others also still see the possibility and need and make them happen. Happy to talk about any of these.

See or for two descriptions of a 100:10:1 model. There are other models.


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