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A gallery of unusual technologies that, however, could soon become reality.
A project that will test several technologies capable of collecting the cosmic trash and returning it to the Earth's atmosphere.
A group of researchers aims to examine the behavior of mosquitoes that cause malaria to predict their movements.
A machine that allows scientists to know the internal structure of materials and understand their behavior without breaking their structure.
The more we know about its molecular composition, the more likely it will be to replicate its properties.
A team of Scottish researchers is testing a very unique technology that makes artificial bone with vibration.
Breakthroughs in innovation and technology have been happening at a frenzied pace over the past few decades. So fast, in fact, that as Juan Escaliter writes in his book Explorers of the Future, just the same as our “evolutive grandparents” who underwent an ice age as Neanderthals would find organ transplantation or overseas flights unfathomable, when this century comes to its end, what today seems science-fiction to us could become a reality.
This is why the Royal Society, the famous British Science Institute based in London, has been compiling all those innovative and unusual technologies which could, nevertheless, become an ordinary occurrence in our lives soon enough.
Here you have some of the most remarkable instances from their latest effort which could
Mankind generates waste everywhere it goes, and space is not free of this bad habit, either. Rocket casings, satellite remnants, pieces of metal and glass… those are the cosmic debris which have been orbiting around the Earth since the quest to conquer the outer rim began. More than 7,000 tons of rubble which could crash with active satellites or jeopardize aerospace missions.
In hopes of tackling this, the Surrey Space Centre will launch RemoveDebris earlier this year, a project that will test several technologies capable of collecting cosmic garbage and put it back into the Earth’s atmosphere. The programme will try two different systems. The first one is based on a fishnet of sorts dragged by a spaceship, which will catch the rubble in order to bring it back to Earth. When re-entering the atmosphere the majority of this waste will burn out, and the rest will be directed until alighting. The second one consists of a solar sail, a scheme conceived years ago by astrophysicist and writer Carl Sagan, which could be implemented in order to drag garbage out of the Earth´s orbit and make it fall in a spiral way towards the atmosphere.
“Know your enemy” is one of the maxims of war strategy and, in this case, the leitmotiv of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in order to try to eradicate the mosquito anopheles. This tiny insect is responsible for the transmission of malaria, a disease which infects millions of individuals each year and causes around 438,000 deaths around the globe. Far from finding an effective vaccine, the mosquito is becoming increasingly resilient to preventive methods.
With their project “The Mosquito Diaries”, this group of investigators intends to examine through infrared cameras the behaviour of the mosquitos when in contact with screens impregnated with insecticide. The report on the results could help in the design and development of more efficient mosquito nets and screens, thus avoiding and preventing further disease contagion.
A synchrotron is a type of particle accelerator whose main purpose is to study the composition of matter. Since the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, this technology jargon sounds more familiar to us. Now, it seems that the tool of the future to get a better knowledge of matter composition will be the 4D X-Ray Synchrotron, a machine which allows the scientists to take a look inside the inner structure of materials without breaking it apart.
Time, the fourth dimension, facilitates the replication of the conditions undergone by matter, such as temperature variations, pressure, etc., thus comprehending its behaviour and transformation processes better.
Thanks to this technology we could, for instance, understand in medicine how implants interact with human tissues, or magma’s behaviour during volcanic eruptions.
Researchers are constantly finding a source of inspiration in nature to develop technological solutions, as we previously learned from geckos’ sticky legs. Spider webs have always been under the spotlight recurrently due to their unusual geometry and durability, but the more we know about their molecular composition, the higher the chances of replicating their properties.
In fact, thanks to the biocompatible qualities of spider webs, there have been several tests already utilizing web implants to reconstruct human knee cartilage, and has been also tried as a string in a prototype violin capable of making the most out of its vibrating properties. It seems that when an animal gets trapped in it, the web emits some kind of sound in order to make the spider aware that dinner is ready.
3D printing already knows about creating biocompatible bones, but now a team of Scottish researchers is testing a particularly unique technology capable of generating artificial bone tissue through vibration. This technique takes stem cells from the bone marrow and through what they call “nanokicks”, that is, high-frequency vibrating impulses, they are stimulated to become bone-producing cells, without any chemicals, surgery and utilizing the patient´s own cellular material.
The team hopes to test bone tissue cultivated by this method in individuals in 3 years’ time, thus entailing another remarkable advancement in medicine due to the great amount of bone transplantations being performed currently.