With new technologies coming out every day it’s a wonderful time to be alive and an exciting time to be involved in science.
While all new discoveries and technologies work together to change the world, some stand out.
Maybe it’s a drastic solution to a problem or just an insight which blows our minds.
Either way it’s important to keep up to date as you never know when your way of thinking may be obsolete.
So we’ve put together a list of some of the most recent mind blowing discoveries which are capable of changing the world.
1Lighting affects learning
Lighting is a great way to change an atmosphere and alter moods. But it never occurred to us that particular types of lighting may assist in learning.
In a study published in Optics Express, researchers exposed students writing a test to different colored lights. They found that students scored higher on the test while under a “cool” blue-white light. When being interviewed the students noted a difference in how the lighting affected them.
Not only can this be used by schools, but businesses could use it too. If a manager could adjust lighting to help their employees focus it could result in more productivity.
This might stop people from browsing the internet on company time. Or at least help them focus when they do.
Computers are straightforward. We give them a command and they take the command at face value. That works perfectly, especially because the idea of sentient robots scares us.
But programmers have discovered a way to make computers read farther into our words. This was done using a crowd sourcing platform to tag phrases as sarcastic or not sarcastic. The results were then used to build a guideline for understanding what makes something sarcastic.
Believe it or not this type of program has many uses. Marketers can use it to determine when people are joking about their product and when they’re praising it. Law enforcement can use it to differentiate real threats from dark humor.
Even customer service robots can use it to tell when we’re frustrated. But despite all the wonderful uses this technology has, the idea of a computer reading into our words gives us chills.
3Your dog understands you
Dog specialists have long believed that dogs respond to intonation rather than words.
Yes, we just said it. Dogs process words. This is indicated by dogs only feeling rewarded when they hear words of praise with positive intonation.
We know what you’re thinking, how on earth can this change the world? But our canine friends show us that human beings are not the only things which can process speech. This can help us discover more about how brains work.
4A Meal that’s not a meal
Although food options are becoming healthier, obesity is still an epidemic. But imagine being able to take a pill which convinces your body that it’s eaten something.
Now stop imagining. Because it’s real.
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have developed a pill which they call the “imaginary meal”. Taking it makes your body start digestion without eating.
The main benefit is that it gets your body to “make room” which involves burning fat. Taking this pill could make your body shed weight on its own. Tests done on obese mice found that they started losing weight without affecting their appetite at all.
This type of dietary pill can also help control cholesterol and help diabetics keep blood sugar levels in check. The pill itself hasn’t been approved just yet but one day you may have the option of a meal or a not-meal.
In a world dominated by modified foods we may be trying to escape anything that sounds artificial. But these abominations – as some call them – are essential to the mass consumer market.
Over the past few years scientists have been developing a new method of gene-editing called CRISPR. This technique allows scientists to modify an organism without introducing foreign DNA. In other words they can get around regulations imposed on GMOs.
For better or for worse, CRISPR can be used to increase crop yields and create drought resistant seeds or to make disease resistant plants. Chances are if it gets approved we’ll be seeing many CRISPR-y food options coming our way.
On the topic of modifying genes, another method with a medical purpose comes to mind. TALENS is a newly developed technique which gives scientists the ability to engineer cells to fight certain diseases.
What better way to cure a disease than to engineer a cell to do it? Once the cell is modified to fight the disease it’s entered into the patient’s body and it takes care of the rest. This method has seen promise in treating HIV, AIDS and other genetic diseases.
There could come a day when all you need to do is go to a clinic, give a bit of blood and they’ll make a cure specifically for your body. While that day is still in the distant future it’s a really wonderful thing to imagine.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to listen to an audiobook while you sleep? We’re sure audiobook merchants would think so.
Well, researchers have discovered that people do remember things while sleeping. But to what extent?
The journal of Neuroscience and Consciousness published a study in which participants were played a series of words as they drifted to sleep.
The researchers found that they were generating memories of the words while sleeping. This was displayed by an EEG test and by their confidence when doing a memory test afterwards.
There’s potential for interesting, albeit scary, marketing uses here.
8Powerful, risk-free pain relief
Doctors have been using opiate drugs to treat pain for the longest time. Some familiar names are codeine and morphine.
But these drugs pose serious health risks with high rates of addiction. For these reasons doctors have been trying to prescribe them less often. But a new drug may have the answer.
This revolutionary medicine was developed from findings which revealed targeting a specific part of the brain can block the addictive effects of opiates. So far it’s only been tested on monkeys which have a similar brain structure to humans. Luckily the monkeys didn’t become addicted and there were no apparent side effects.
A potent yet safe and non-addictive pain killer could completely change the way we treat injuries. Imagine a world without pain or suffering…well, that’s a bit of an overshot but you get the point.
Prosthetics help people with severe injuries maintain a comfortable and productive life. There have been trends towards making prosthetics even more like the real thing. But nothing as of yet has allowed complete mobility. As of yet.
Recently technologists have discovered a way to transmit electrical brain signals into radio commands. All they need to do is drill a hole in your skull and plug a microchip into your brain. While this microchip installation sounds like great fun, there’s something truly amazing here.
This technology could potentially change the way we interact with the world. One day we could all have microchips in our heads which allow us to use our phones, computers or other electronics with our thoughts. Brings a new meaning to “hands-free” doesn’t it?
It totally sucks when you rip a new pair of jeans. Well this discovery makes that a problem of the past! Scientists have found that coating clothing in squid proteins allows them to repair themselves over time.
Once ripped the proteins reconnect, pulling the fabric and weaving it back together. Similar ideas have had problems in the past but so far so good for squid gear.
Another great use for this is hazmat (hazardous materials) suits. A single hole in a hazmat suit can be catastrophic. But with self-replenishing material you’d never have to worry.
Wearing squid clothing may sound odd, but then again so does putting a galaxy in your pocket and somehow Samsung made that normal.
A Strange World Indeed
The world is a strange ever-changing place. With scientists constantly finding new solutions to old problems it’s hard to guess what they’ll come up with next.
If this adventure into recent discoveries has taught us anything it’s that sometimes the weirdest thoughts can lead to the greatest insights.
It’s possible that in the future we’ll all be immune to pain and disease, sharing slapstick humor with a robot and telepathically communicating through radio signals sent from our brains.
But at the end of the day we’re still human and that’s what makes us able to do all these amazing things.