Science for health: the revolution is coming

David Klug explores the trend towards miniaturisation and its impact on biomedical research and healthcare. Who stands to benefit from previously unimaginable detail and definition about your health? What are the consequences and why does this create new opportunities for an explosion of creative endeavor? And are there lessons that other sectors can learn from this trend?


Professor David Klug is co-founder and Chair of the Institute of Chemical Biology, which co-ordinates teaching and research activities in Chemical Biology. He also chairs the Single Cell Proteomics Project, a £5 million multidisciplinary collaboration of eight research teams developing and applying novel platform technologies to high throughput and single cell analysis. He sits on the Research Committees of both the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Faculty of Medicine with a particular remit for translational research.

Professor David Klug's predictions from 2012


Within 5 years

Miniaturisation allows vast quantities of biological/health data to be produced for everyone

Crowd sourcing of people's wellness data: "What really makes us happy?" Daily Mail

“The Quantified Self: Can Life Be Measured?" Analysis, BBC Radio 4

Within 5 years

Miniaturisation lowers barriers to entry, reduces costs, enables enthusiasts to engage in activities previously reserved for big corporations (cf the miniaturisation revolution in electronics)

Personalised genomic testing. In 2014 Wellcome Trust will roll out a programme to test cancer patients for nearly 100 risk genes to make way for more personalised treatment. "Cancer risk gene testing announced" BBC news

2013 "Exhaled breath is a unique fingerprint" BBC news
Within 5 yearsCommunities will become aware of the value and power of their individual data. Crowdsourcing of data will become commonplace. Peer to Peer health?

Researchers from London School of Economics created ‘Mappiness’, an app that collates information from thousands of people to find out when, where and why we are at our happiest.

Within 5 yearsCrowdsourcing of data will become commonplace. 
Within 5 yearsSomeone will invent the 'Facebook of health and wellbeing'. I foresee peer-to-peer health networks.

2014 "Apple’s Upcoming Health App Is the Start of Something Huge" Wired

2014 "'Google Fit' for Android to take on Apple HealthKit" Telegraph 

Within 7 years

Reduction of barriers to entry will unleash an unstoppable wave of creativity from young people, leading to low cost tech companies and biohacking


Within 20 years

Witness the birth of the ‘Star Trek Tricorder’ - but this one will be networked

Scanadu a startup for home scale medical diagnosis.



Foresight and futures work

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015
The Revolution in Synthetic Biology with Imperial College London
2034: Tech Foresight
The future of sensing and data-driven technologies
2033: Tech Foresight
20 years

Profile Credits
Profile: Alex Ayad Foresight Development: Alex Ayad, Shirin Alahi, Ali Salehi-Reyani, Smarties