5 Cutting-Edge Technological Breakthroughs & Scientific Revelations You Might Have Missed


Written by Amanda Longhenry

The 21st century has witnessed remarkable scientific discoveries and technological innovations that seem to emerge at an astonishing pace. While some innovations capture the spotlight and become household names, there are numerous lesser-known discoveries that have the potential to shape our future in remarkable ways. Let’s explore five recent technology innovations and scientific discoveries that may have slipped under the radar for many people.

  1. 3D Printed Food

Steakholder Foods, an Israeli 3D-printed cultivated meat company partnered with the company Umami Meats, developed the world’s first 3D bio-printed cultivated fish product engineered with customized bio-inks utilizing grouper cells provided by Umami Meats. The recently developed prototype was a ready-to-cook grouper filet. This is a significant milestone towards the commercialization of its 3D bioprinter. The company has reached a significant milestone by successfully customizing bio-inks utilizing grouper cells provided by Umami Meats to print a cultivated grouper product.

Despite its unconventional nature, the utilization of bio-printing to 3D print food holds immense potential for significant benefits to humans. The potential of 3D printing food lies in its ability to tackle both food insecurity and food waste issues by enabling the printing of precise portions tailored to specific needs.

  1. Needle-Free Vaccinations

Following a decade of dedicated research, Vaxxas, an Australian company, has successfully developed needle-free vaccines that offer a painless immunization experience. This innovative approach offers numerous benefits that can enhance the vaccination experience for individuals of all ages. By eliminating the fear of needles, needle-free vaccination promotes a more comfortable and painless process, particularly for children and individuals with needle phobia.

Additionally, the advent of this new needle-free vaccination technology holds immense potential in enhancing our preparedness for future epidemics. By offering a painless alternative to traditional needle-based immunization, this innovation can improve vaccine acceptance and accessibility, ultimately bolstering our ability to efficiently respond to and control potential outbreaks. 

  1. Brain Scans Indicate Life's Episodic Reflections in the Face of Death

Recent advancements in neuroscience have allowed researchers to delve deeper into the mysterious phenomenon of near-death experiences (NDEs). One intriguing discovery involves the utilization of advanced MRI scans, capturing the brain's activity before and after death. By examining brain scans of an individual in the final stages of life, compelling evidence has emerged to support the notion that one's life may indeed flash before their eyes during the process of dying. During the critical moments preceding and following the cessation of the individual's heartbeat, a remarkable surge of neural activity was observed in specific brain regions linked to “memory recall, meditation, and dreaming,”  as described by the Smithsonian. This groundbreaking find opens new doors for understanding the intricate workings of consciousness and offers tantalizing glimpses into the enigmatic realm of human perception during the threshold of mortality.

  1. Brain-Spine Interface Helps Man Walk Again

Gert-Jan Oskam experienced a cycling accident in 2011 that rendered him unable to walk due to a traumatic cervical spine injury. However, 12 years later, a team of neuroscientists from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland successfully aided him in regaining the ability to stand and walk once again. 

The researchers released a paper documenting their procedure, which involved utilizing a “non-invasive brain-spine interface (BSI) that processes electroencephalographic (EEG) activity to volitionally control trans-spinal magnetic stimulation (ts-MS), as an approach for lower-limb neurorehabilitation,” as stated by a frontiers original research article. The BSI consists of a pair of electronic implants that collaborate to interpret brain signals and provide stimulation to the spinal cord. This stimulation triggers the activation of leg muscles, allowing for the restoration of natural movement (here is video visualizing the recovery). The accomplishment instills hope that we can persist in restoring mobility to individuals lacking mobility. Hopefully in the future, a more readily available treatment can be discovered for those facing mobility limitations.

  1. Non-Invasive Robots May Clean Our Oceans Someday

There is a growing focus on developing innovative environmental-friendly technologies to address pressing environmental challenges, including ongoing ocean pollution, reducing our carbon footprint, and more. According to a recent study, the global oceans have been inundated with over 170 trillion plastic pieces, emphasizing the urgent need for effective solutions to address ocean pollution.

Thankfully, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart are doing just that. A jellyfish-looking prototype created by researchers at MPI-IS has the potential to be employed in the future to “clean up the world’s oceans,” (MPI-IS). These roboticists made it a top priority to create a non-invasive robot in order to ensure minimal disruption in the environment. The robot's purpose is to gather debris from the ocean floor while maintaining the ecological balance. It has the ability to circulate the water in its vicinity, capturing both waste particles and biological specimens like fish eggs, all without causing any adverse effects on the surrounding environment (MPI-IS). With the ocean pollution crisis worsening, these roboticists at MPI-IS are hopeful that a finished product of this medusoid prototype can combat plastic and human waste in our waters without causing any ecological damage.

As we advance further into the future, novel challenges will emerge, demanding innovative solutions to address them. That's why it is vital to promote exposure to STEM and nurture creativity, as they are essential for cultivating innovation that can shape the future. TUEX Education encourages students to harness their creativity and technology interests to pioneer tomorrow's problems.