Here are our picks for the top 10 discoveries that will shape the future
10. SEE-THROUGH SCREENS
The screen of your next tablet can be made of DNA. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have created a naturally fluorescent capable of emitting a full range of colors in a single flexible pixel layer, as opposed to the several rigid layers that make up today’s screens. It could be used in flexible displays that can be rolled up when not in use. The material is made up of peptides and DNA – two of the most basic building blocks of life.
9. NEW CLASS OF PAINKILLERS
If you are a fan of the spicy green condiment used in sushi, chances are you have been giving your ‘wasabi receptor’ a thorough workout. TRPA 1 is a protein located in nerve cells and is triggered by wasabi, garlic and even tear gas. Now, by mapping the protein’s atomic structure, a team at the University of California has found it is also involved in transmitting several types of pain signal. The finding could lead to the development of a different class of painkillers, they say.
8. BATTERY THAT CHARGES IN ONE MINUTE
Fed up of your phone running out of juice? Well, help may be on the way.Stanford University has developed an aluminium-ion battery. It could replace lithium-ion technology in powering everything from smartphones to laptops. The device generated 2V of electricity, about half of current lithium technologies, but it is flexible, durable and can fully charge a device in just 60 seconds.
7. NON-SLIP SHOES
Get a grip! A material that may help pedestrians stay on their feet on icy conditions has been created by Canadian researchers. Glass fibers embedded in rubber are used to make it. The material acts the same as regular rubber on dry surfaces but provides significantly better traction on ice.
6. LAB-GROWN LUNGS
Breathe easy. Scientists at the University of Michigan have used stem cells to grow self-organizing mini lungs. Though the lung structures lack blood vessels, they represent an important step in moving away from animal testing to more effective drug trailing and medical researchers, the team says.
5. NANOTECH GNASHERS
In the near future, nanotechnology may save you from a trip to the dreaded dentist’s chair. Researchers at Queen Mary University have developed tiny spherical particles that transport a payload of antibacterial drugs to the surface of teeth to fight plaque and tooth decay. The particles could be put in toothpastes and mouthwashes or used to combat other plaque-like substances, know as biofilms, such as those that form on orthopaedic implants.
4. PLASTICS FROM EGGS
Eggs can be used for making antibacterial plastics in the future. Scientists at the University of Georgia made the material by blending albumin, a protein found in eggs, with glycerol, a traditional plasticiser.
3. ENERGY HARVESTING SURFACE
The Earth is bombed with electromagnetic radiation everyday. Now, team of the University of Waterloo has created a ‘metasurface’ antenna that can potentially harvest this energy and make it useful. It is much better at capturing energy than traditional designs. The antenna could be sent to space to collect energy and beam it back to Earth.
2. VIRUSES HEAT UP WATER
Viruses can give us humans a burning fever, but now a team at Drexel University has found a way of using viruses to make water boil at three times more quickly. The future technique works by covering a heating element with a virus found in tobacco plants. The coating decreases the size and number of bubbles that form around the element, which in turn increases the heat transfer of the liquid. The technique could be used in everything from power stations to cooling systems in electric devices.
1. BO BACTERIA IDENTIFIED
As anybody unfortunate enough to spend time packed in a gym changing room can attest, body odour is bad news. Now, researchers form the University of York have discovered that enzymes in the bacterium Staphylococcus hominis are the guilty party. They break sweat down into thioalcohols, the smelly compounds found in armpit aroma. The findings could lead to deodorants that specifically target this particular bacterium, leaving us smelling sweeter for longer.