10 amazing inventions of 2018

In December 2018, MIT Technology Review listed the 10 most intriguing inventions, from programmable pills to power-generating boots.

Anti-aging medicines

To find a way to live longer, scientists carried out some trial of drugs. These anti-aging pills seem to actually be working, such as mTOR inhibitors boosting elderly people’s immune systems, and senolytics eliminating the senescent cells.

Artificial synapses

Researchers at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology built a new electronic synapses. They fire millions of times faster than the ones in your brain, while using 1,000th as much energy (which is also less than any other artificial synapse to date).

DNA computing for programmable pills

Molecular circuitry offers a better way to measure, and potentially harness, cellular signaling mechanisms. A new kind of DNA circuitry can pave the way for programmable pills.

Edible electronics

The development of organic circuits that can be transferred onto food and drugs paves the way for a new era of biomonitoring. Edible electronics tattooed on your food could help track your health.

Electric planes with no moving parts

The turbineless design uses electroaerodynamic propulsion to fly. It could also herald the arrival of quieter, lower-emission aircraft.

Electricity-generating boots

Embedded in a boot heel, a microfluidic device harvests energy from human footsteps. This device can generate an electrical current which might be enough to power small communication devices.

Group brain-to-brain communication

The possibility of thoughts communication that used to be considered science fiction is now turned into reality. Andrea Stocco (University of Washington) announced the success of the world first brain-to-brain network called BrainNet. The system allows a small group to play a puzzle like Tetris.

Phones that shoot a million frames per second

Researchers have developed an image-processing trick that allows any electronic camera to take ultra-high-speed images (a million frames per second) – but only in black and white. This is a nifty way to process data from a smartphone camera.

Secure quantum communications via satellite

Quantum cryptography has never been possible over long distances. However, a Chinese satellite known as Micius made possible an unhackable videoconference between Vienna and Beijing, two cities half a world apart. This Chinese satellite uses quantum cryptography for secure videoconference between continents.

Seeing through walls using Wi-Fi

With a smartphone and some clever computation, researchers can exploit ambient signals to track individuals in their own homes. Using Wi-Fi to “see” behind closed doors is easier than anyone thought by detecting how his movements distort the Wi-Fi’s signals nearby.

Here are the top 10 inventions. These inventions show a tremendous development of technology, and also pose a question: “How to use technologies for good purposes?” This is the problem that many experts of Boston Global Forum and Michael Dukakis Institute are studying.