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John: We’re super excited about this edition of AllTime10s because we’re both massive
science geeks!
Dave: Yeah, basically, National Geographic asked us to work with them for their new series,
Breakthrough, and it’s all about the most mind-blowing, bleeding-edge science on the
John: We’ve got real-life Ironman suits, mind control and maybe even limitless energy,
so John and I put together our 10 favorite Scientific Breakthroughs that are going to Change Your Life.
10. Exo Suits
Designed to allow people to carry loads of 16kg, the FORTIS Exoskeleton can reduce muscle
fatigue by 300% and could improve productivity in heavy industries by up to 27 times. The
US navy hopes to use them to improve ship repair and building capabilities. At the same
time, the US military is also developing TALOS, dubbed ‘the Iron Man suit’. They hope
it will be bulletproof, monitor soldiers’ health, and give them super strength. It’s
slated for a 2018 release.
But it’s not just the military that can benefit from exosuits. The ReWalk is giving
paraplegics the chance to walk again, while the Power Loader can lift over 100kg with
its giant pincers. It’s even been used to clear up disaster zones, such as Fukushima.
09. Suspended Animation
In 2014 researchers at a Pennsylvania hospital devised a way to effectively put someone into
suspended animation. Tested on patients with life-threatening injuries, their bodies had
all their blood drained and replaced with a cold saline solution.
The body temperature reaches 10C and almost all cellular activity stops - there is no
blood, no breathing, and no brain activity. They are effectively dead, giving doctors
more time to treat injuries. Once surgery is finished, blood is fed back into the body,
warmed up, and the heart is restarted.
Despite the procedure’s infancy, patients can already be kept in suspended animation
for several hours.
08. Synthetic Foods
Costing over $300,000, the world’s first lab-grown burger was produced in 2013 and
tasted “close to meat, but not that juicy’. Created from stem cells, the burger consisted
of 20,000 thin strands of muscle tissue.
While $300,000 is a lot for one burger, the costs of lab-grown beef could be just $9.10
if mass-produced. Indeed, one piece of muscle can go on to produce 10,000 kilos of meat,
according to the team responsible.
Expected to be commercially viable within the next decade, lab-grown beef would be less
environmentally damaging to produce, free up food supplies normally fed to cows, and
reduce the slaughter of animals.
07. 3D Printing
3D printers have the potential to revolutionize medicine, housing, and even space exploration.
Replacement jaws, hips, and backbones have already been printed and used in surgeries.
One woman even had a replacement skull implanted into her head. Within a decade it will be
possible to print a whole heart using the patient’s own cells in transplants.
3D printers could also offer an exceptionally quick and fast method of building housing
- Chinese company WinSun created 10 homes in a single day in 2014. This could provide
affordable housing and also relief in disaster zones, such as areas affected by Hurricane
NASA hopes to use the technology too, in order print a variety of foods, thus enabling long-haul
space missions.
06. Artificial Life forms
Geneticist Craig Venter spent 15 years and $40 million to create the world’s first
synthetic cell.
Using chemicals to assemble 1.1 million letters of genetic code, the team built a bacterial
genome from scratch. Venter has speculated that bacteria could be created which absorb
carbon dioxide, and produce biofuel or even vaccines.
In 2014 biotech company Synthorx went one step further by expanding the genetic code
of life. Instead of the four chemical bases of DNA that make up all known living organisms,
Synthorx added two more. The company has reportedly already created a new form of E.coli never
seen before, and hopes their synthetic life forms will improve medicine.
05. Super Photosynthesis
More than 40% of the world relies on rice and wheat for food, but by the time the human
population reaches 2 billion in 2050, the Earth will be short of 394 million tons of
rice to feed everyone.
However, the C4 photosynthesis process captures CO2 and concentrates it in special cells inside
plants’ leaves. Early tests have shown that this can increase the yields of these crucial
crops by 50%.
According to MIT, this genetic advancement should be available in the next 10 to 15 years,
in time to save millions of lives.
04. Gene Editing
In 2015 Chinese scientists genetically modified human embryos for the first time in history.
Researchers used 86 embryos, successfully editing out a gene that caused a fatal blood
disorder in 28 of them. However, they also caused unintended mutations.
Altering embryos is largely illegal and highly controversial, but gene editing could help
prevent more than 10,000 diseases caused by flaws in DNA - potentially saving millions
of lives.
It could be used on adults too. They could be made immune to HIV if their blood cells
were modified to give them natural protection.
03. Artificial Energy
Physicists at the National Ignition Facility are building a miniature star in the hope
that it will produce clean energy via nuclear fusion.
Unlimited energy should be created when 192 powerful lasers are fired onto a ball of frozen
hydrogen around the size of a grain of sand.
If the blast is controlled and they hit their small target perfectly, this will start a
chain reaction, and the hydrogen ball should ignite into a small, energy-spewing star.
The experiment has cost 3.5 billion dollars so far, but in 2013, for the first time, the
hydrogen fuel gave off more energy than it took in.
02. Cybernetic Immortality
32-year-old Russian millionaire, Dmitry Itskov, has offered people the opportunity for immortality
through his holographic 2045 Initiative. The plan is to load low-cost avatars with the
contents of a human brain, consciousness, and personality.
The Avatar Project is described as a ‘four-part attack against death’, with the first milestone
being the creation of a robot that is controlled by the brain. The aim is to have it completed
by 2020.
The final milestone will be a holographic avatar with an artificial brain, loaded with
the personality and intelligence of a person whose human life has ended.
01. The Hive Mind
In 2014 scientists used the internet to connect the brains of human subjects in India and
France. One thought of the word ‘hello’, while the other received the information as
flashes of light in their peripheral vision, before it was translated back into the greeting.
Brain-to-brain communication had arrived.
Similar experiments have seen a man control a rat’s tail, while another allowed a person
to move someone else’s hand.
Experts speculate that in the future this could lead to the death of human language.
Instead we’ll communicate directly with our brains and share knowledge, skills and
training - in essence creating a telepathic hive mind.
OUTRO Dave: That was a little glimpse into the future
but if you want to see the full extent of the incredible scientific breakthroughs that
are happening right now and will change life on earth as we know it, then you need to click
here and see the Breakthrough trailer.
John: If you want to live forever, outwit Ebola or find out how to become a cyborg - then
you have to check out these six amazing documentaries. It’s out on November 1st and it’s really
cool, so don’t miss it.
Both: Cheers guys
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10 Scientific Breakthroughs That Will Change The World

1314 Folder Collection
Melissa published on May 1, 2016
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