Technological ideas intending to change the world
Relentless and constant progress in designing and developing various technologies never ceases to amaze and surprise humanity with its achievements. Plenty of modern technological concepts that were once merely a figment of science fiction imagination are now being implemented in laboratories worldwide.
If you are a great fan of the latest technology or just curious about it, keep reading to look closely into some of the most exciting and innovative ideas that could change our future.
The term necrobotics originated in an experiment by scientists from the Preston Innovation Lab at Rice University in Houston.
The term itself includes the words "necrosis" (cell death) and "robotics" (design and construction of robots). In essence, it refers to the use of robotics in dead tissue in the body, which can result from various diseases, including cancer, infections, and trauma.
During the experiment, the researchers managed to turn a spider into a robotic gripper that can lift other tiny objects. To perform this, they injected air into the spider through a syringe. This is possible because, unlike vertebrates, which use muscles to move their body parts, spiders have adapted hydraulics. Under the influence of hydraulic pressure, they extend their muscles outward.
Sounds creepy, doesn't it? But nonetheless, necrobotics has the potential to radically change the way medicine treats necrotic tissue and other diseases.
Another impressive phenomenon in the field of medical and biological sciences is known as xenotransplantation. In simple terms, it is the transplantation of cells, tissues, or organs from one species to another, as indicated by the particle "xeno", which means "foreign".
Usually, organs are transplanted from animals to humans, in particular from pigs, due to the anatomical and physiological similarity of their organs to human ones. However, before such operations, it is necessary first to carry out gene editing, namely to knock out specific genes from the pig's heart and add human genes.
Currently, such procedures are rather dangerous since there is a risk of immune rejection of the animal organ by the human body and the transfer of viruses and diseases from animal to human.
Therefore, much remains to be done before this practice can be used safely and effectively for organ transplantation. However, the development and further research in this promising area may save an endless number of lives.
An exoskeleton is a wearable device that provides support and protection for the body, similar to how the skeleton does with internal organs. An exoskeleton can be programmed to support a person's weight and help them walk, stand, and perform other movements.
Such devices can be used in various fields. First of all, they are instrumental in medical rehabilitation for people with paralysis, spinal cord injuries, or other motor disorders. They can also be helpful in the military and industrial work for physically demanding tasks, as they assist the back and limbs, thereby reducing the risk of injury and fatigue.
The technology for developing such skeletons is currently in an active stage, and much effort is being made to improve their functionality and design. Hence, it is likely that in the near future, humanity will be able to experience all their benefits.
Scientists at the University of Washington claim that ordinary red bricks can be transformed into "smart" bricks that will save energy.
This conversion will be possible thanks to the porous structure of the brick, which increases its area, as well as the red clay it is made of. It is this red clay that contains a chemical iron compound known as rust, which plays a crucial role in the entire process.
The acid vapors that fill the brick's pores transform this rust into an active version of iron, which creates chemical synthesis. A special gas that interacts with the iron is transferred through the pores of the brick. As a result, the brick's surface is covered with an electrically conductive material that allows it to store and retain energy.
Although the research is still at the proof-of-concept stage, such bricks have significant potential to reduce energy consumption by helping to maintain a more constant temperature inside the building.
Wearables powered by sweat
A new concept that could easily replace the standard batteries in fitness trackers or smartwatches lies in the way they are charged. For this purpose, researchers from the University of Glasgow in Scotland have developed a new type of supercapacitor to store energy. The principle of its operation is that sweat is absorbed by a polymer film that covers this capacitor and acts as an electrode. This causes positive and negative ions to interact with the polymer, thereby resulting in energy production.
Thus, sweat-powered devices are an exciting area of research that could theoretically offer a convenient way to power wearable technology in the future, as well as positively impact the ecosystem by reducing the amount of electricity consumed to charge the battery.
Brain-machine interface chips
Neuralink, a company co-founded by Elon Musk, is studying the intricacies of the interaction between the human neural system and computer systems. They aim to develop brain implants that will become an interface between the human brain and an electronic device.
The technology Neuralink provides for the use of thin and flexible threads that can be integrated into the brain to monitor and transmit neural activity. These threads are connected to a small chip behind the ear that acts as a wireless communication hub between the brain and external devices. Implantation of electrical wires into the brain requires great precision because it perceives foreign objects as "invaders", forming scar tissue around them that interferes with signal transmission.
The potential applications of this technology are wide-ranging. They can include everything from eliminating the effects of certain brain diseases, enhancing memory, treating paralysis, Parkinson's disease to controlling objects with the power of thought.
In fact, the future is much nearer than we can imagine. Even these few examples demonstrate that it is full of endless possibilities and exciting prospects that could drastically change the world we know today. Flying cars, smart cities, 3D bones, or digital twins - will these also become a reality?