Lately, science has developed significantly and brought many beneficial achievements in all fields. And just when you think everything has already been discovered and studied inside and out, stand-alone scientists and big companies come up with even more ambitious projects and ideas. Some of them want to conquer outer space; others want to cure and prevent diseases for millions of people.
5 Fun Facts gathered for you 9 incredible accomplishments in the field of science. Some of them are becoming a reality next year!
9. Worldwide Wi-Fi
Over 50% of the world’s rural areas in Europe, Africa, and Asia still can’t afford a reliable high-speed internet connection. Have you ever wondered if access to the internet will be worldwide someday? Backed by Virgin Group, OneWeb will make it possible in just 10 years. According to Greg Wyler, the founder of the company, they are building a new global knowledge infrastructure accessible to everyone, particularly in rural areas.
In 2018, they plan to launch 10 satellites that will become the first pieces of the satellite puzzle circling Earth. The company plans to bring access to the internet to every school, home, or health center in 2022. By 2027, with 900 orbiting satellites, they will fully bridge the digital divide in the whole world.
8. A mask that enables “superhuman” senses
All superheroes wear masks, shields, and iron costumes, even those who don’t possess any superpowers. Technological progress has proved that today anyone can look like a superhero or at least greatly enhance their senses of sight and hearing. Not too shabby for non-X-Men. Developed by students from the Royal College of Art in London, the mask called Eidos sharpens how we see and hear the world around us.
The Eidos Audio Mask can amplify specific sounds and block out background noise using a directional microphone. It allows the wearer to hear the voices they want to. This mask will have a major practical impact for those with hearing problems or those who have a hard time concentrating in a loud environment.
7. The Third Thumb Project
Shorthanded? Not anymore! Dani Clode, a London-based designer from New Zealand, introduces a new “thumbs up” project in the form of a foot-controlled 3D-printed extra finger for your hand. All you need to do is attach a wristband to your hand and fit 2 pressure sensors in your boots. They communicate with the Thumb via Bluetooth and respond to all movements.
According to Clode, she’s always been interested in prosthetics and wanted to understand the connection between the wearer and the limb as some wearers feel it as a part of them. Her Third Thumb prototype has a promising future in music, medicine, and every field where a person needs to get a grip on something. Clode’s project serves to extend ability, not to fix disability.
6. AIDS medicine trials
The world has been waiting for this to happen for decades. Finally, a scientific breakthrough offers hope for creating an AIDS vaccine. AIDS affects more than 36.7 million people worldwide. According to Science magazine, scientists from the National Institutes of Health managed to create an antibody that attacks HIV from 3 sides, thus creating a possibility to develop the vaccine and deal with the disease in the future.
Laboratory research has shown that even HIV, known for its ability to mutate a lot, can be beaten by these antibodies. If the antibodies are classified as safe for people, by the end of 2018 the drug will be used as a treatment for people already living with HIV/AIDS. In case of positive testing results, the drug will appear on the market within the next 3-4 years.
5. Smart contact lens from Google
It looks like Google sees no boundaries in the world of technologies and brings to life things we’ve been dreaming about for years. Together with pharmaceutical giant Novartis, Google has been developing a prototype for a smart contact lens for 3 years already. The main purpose of the device is found in the field of medicine: the lens can measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip. What a breakthrough for those suffering from diabetes!
Researchers at Google X bravely decided to create “chips and sensors so small they look like bits of glitter and an antenna thinner than a human hair.” They are testing the prototypes now, but we can already see many possibilities of their usage.
4. Cancer-detecting pill from Google X
Like they haven’t done enough, right? Google X laboratories have been trying to intertwine medicine and nanotechnologies for many years now. Nanotechnology is a complex field of study that can take modern medicine to a new level. The labs are working on a nanoparticle pill that can help identify and prevent cancer and even heart diseases.
According to Andrew Conrad, the head of life sciences in Google’s research lab, nanoparticles require complex and deep research because they can harm a human body if not controlled properly. Before creating a prototype, Google X will have to face the challenges of proving the safety of nanoparticle pills. However, it’s worth the wait.
3. China is planning to land on the dark side of the Moon in 2018.
In 2016, China officially began a new stage of lunar exploration and set a goal to land on the dark side of the Moon in 2018. They plan to send the Chang’e-4 lander to the far side of the Moon, which has never been explored by humans. In fact, their plans for the Moon explorations are quite ambitious, and they’re already planning the launch of the Chang’e-5 mission.
2. Organic electronics that can dissolve in a body
Stanford Professor of Chemical Engineering Zhenan Bao and a group of his colleagues created the first electronic biopolymer that can dissolve in a human body after use. In their paper, they describe their creation as lightweight, biocompatible, ultra-thin, and absolutely harmless. The scientists say this device can be used in many fields to provide research without harm to the environment.
Ting Lei, the paper’s lead author, says, “The next step also includes broadening the use of these degradable polymers, such as chem/bio sensors and even more complicated electronics.”
1. Head transplantation
For more than 35 years, the brightest doctors and scientists on our planet have tried to cure spinal paralysis and change the function of the spinal cord for the better. Had they succeeded, they would have managed to perform a head transplant. But they didn’t.
The future is now! Dr. Sergio Canavero, director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, is ready to perform the first human head transplant. He wants to cut the spinal cord, repair it, and then use magnetic stimulation. His team plans to perform the tests using corpses. The estimated cost of such an operation is almost $16 million. However, Canavero has been working with patients from China and Russia and believes he’ll perform the operation with a Chinese patient because of more hopes of financing.
The world amazes us every day with new gadgets and unbelievable discoveries. Which of the breakouts stunned you the most? Which one do you want to be achieved faster? Share your opinion in the comments.