Home / 2016 / Science Fortnightly: These Technologies Are No Longer Science-Fiction

Science Fortnightly: These Technologies Are No Longer Science-Fiction

I was looking into 3D printing for my ENGG1000 project for this semester when at some point I stopped researching on 3D printing and started looking up other cool discoveries. Some of which is mind-blowing and so, i decided to share some of them with you.

Since I started this whole ordeal with 3D printing, it seems like a good place to begin!

3D Printing

This technology has the potential to revolutionize so many aspects of human life; ranging from Medicine to Housing to Space exploration. 3D printed jaws, hips, backbones and skulls have already been used in surgeries. It is predicted that within a decade 3D printed human hearts can be created from a patient’s cells for transplant procedures! A chinese Company called ‘Winsun’ 3D printed up to 10 homes in a single day; this can be very valuable to increase affordable housing and in time of disaster to provide temporary Shelters. NASA is also taking steps to 3D print food so as to enable long-haul missions.

Suspended Animation

This is a technology in which the blood is completely drained out of a person, and is then replaced with a cold saline solution. Body temperature reaches 10 degrees Celsius and almost all cellular activities come to a halt. There is quite literally, no blood, no breathing and no brain activity. Patients who undergo this procedure are practically ‘dead’ and this gives time for surgeons more time to work on patients with life threatening injuries. Although a new technology, patients are recorded to have been in suspended animation for several hours!

Artificial Cells

15 years and 40 million dollars late, the artificial cell became a reality. The researchers working on this project reassembled 1.1 million letters of genetic code using chemicals, to produce an entire bacterial genome. It is said that these synthetic bacteria can be formed to specifically absorb CO2, produce bio-fuel or even vaccines. A company called ‘Synthorax’ even went as far as to change the genetic code of life by adding two more chemical bases to the already existing four ‘chemical bases’ that code for life.

Artificial Energy

Physicists are producing a mini-star in the hopes of using nuclear fusion as the energy of the future. Theoretically, unlimited amounts of energy should be produced through this technology. The star works by firing up to 192 lasers on to a ball of frozen hydrogen that is similar in size to a grain of sand. This will ultimately start a chain reaction that will give rise to a mini-star. It has cost billions of dollars over the years but in 2013, the hydrogen fuel is recorded to have produced more energy than it took in.

Brain to Brain Communication

In 2014, using the internet, the brains of subjects from India and France were connected. Whilst a person thought ‘Hello’, the other perceived this information as flashes of light in their peripheral vision which was then translated back into the greeting. Similar experiments has allowed people to control rat’s tails and other people’s hands. This technology has the potential to directly share, feelings and without the use of a language. Maybe in the future ‘Language studies’ may not be necessary.






About Dinushi Mudalige

I am a first year at UNSW and will write to Blitz about everything and anything related to Science!

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