If Google and other tech giants have shown us anything, it's that technology has the potential to give us abilities we may never have dreamed were possible.
Whether it's an implant that helps the blind see or a robotic suit that gives a paralyzed person the ability to walk again, researchers and engineers are increasingly finding new ways to use technology to enhance our senses and improve our bodies.
That is one reason why futurist Ian Pearson, who is also a fellow at the World Academy for Arts and Science, told Tech Insider that technology will advance to the point where humans can elect to have superpowers in 2050.
Here are some ways he sees humans gaining special abilities:
Special contact lenses could let us see farther than ever before
GooglePearson said it will be possible to buy special contact lenses that allow you to zoom in on objects from afar and provide night vision.
"We already fit military people with goggles that can see in the dark," Pearson told Tech Insider. "All you need to do to get that super sense is, rather than have a headset, incorporate that tech into the body."
Google filed a patent for contact lenses that measure your glucose levels, body temperature, and even blood alcohol content. Although the contact lenses aren't meant to alter our vision, it shows a growing interest in eye technology.
Microsensors could let you learn about what you come in contact with
Pearson said developments with sensor technology will make it so we have super touch capabilities, or the ability to automatically learn something about whatever surface or thing we come in contact with. For example, you could touch someone and see his or her oxygen levels.
"You might want to be able to touch things and learn information, and you can do that using all sorts of detectors you can put on the surface [of your skin]," Pearson explained.
Engineers at Stanford University have developed plastic skin that can digitally measure pressure. It could be used to restore a sense of touch to burn victims, showing it's very possible to alter how we physically interact with the world.
Polymer gel muscles will make super strength possible
Michael Dodge/Stringer/Getty Images
Advancements in the creation of polymer artificial muscles, which have been in the works since as early as the 1990s, could provide us with super strength, Pearson said.
Several U.S. researchers hailing from different universities made incredibly strong artificial muscles that could allow robots or humans wearing exoskeletons to have superhuman strength in 2014, IEEE Spectrum reported. The artificial muscles could lift 100 times more weight than average muscles.
But even if the creation of such artificial muscles is still in the works, the Department of Defense said in October that we are two years away from a real-life Iron Man-like suit that, among other things, helps the wearer lift heavy objects.
Enhanced hearing capabilities are within reach
Getty/ Rachel Murray
Pearson predicts that by 2050, people will be able to wear hearing aids that provide above average hearing capabilities.
"Making [hearing aids] that reach a different spectrum is really easy to do," he said.
The startup Doppler Labs has actually made wireless earbud devices that augment the average user's hearing, MIT Technology Review reported. For example, you can adjust the bass at a concert or block specific noises like a crying baby.
That may not be the same as super hearing, but it shows wearables that change how we hear are already being tested.