“What Makes It Forever Expanding”: Top 10 Scientific Innovations of 2012
By Manika Jain:
Ours is an ever changing world and its credit goes to rapidly developing science and technology. Every moment enormous investment is made in terms of money and human resource for the cause of innovation. These innovations provide mankind with the state-of-art products and make these available to masses; they discover the secrets of our birth, existence and survival. Here we present a list of top 10 scientific innovations by mankind in 2012.
1. Live Shell
The Live Shell is an add-on device to cameras. This device will allow one to stream live videos to the internet from ones camera without the help from a computer. It promises a video quality of 704 x 528 pixels at approximately 1.5 Mbps. While a computer isn’t required for Live Shell to connect to the internet, one will need a computer or Smartphone to control the broadcast.
2. The first automated motor vehicle over Mars
The ‘Curiosity Rover’ is a car sized robotic rover launched by the NASA in November 2011 and in August 2012 the spacecraft successfully landed. It has been sent for a 2.5 years mission, and will click pictures, send samples and collect data with regard to the red planet and about possibility of human colonizing it.
3. Electronic Cotton
Cotton cellulose already provide for a natural installation, which makes the fibre conductive. Scientists have added to it a thin layer of conductive polymer (PEDOT), thus, making it thousand times more conducive to ordinary cotton. This invention will help us understand how we move and interact with our environment. For example, the electric cotton could detect how fast we’re walking across carpet or how we’re affected by our environment (i.e. t-shirts that measure pollutants in the atmosphere). Their main goal is to create “a seamless interface between electronics and textiles.”
4. Artificial Pancreas for Diabetics
Type 1 diabetes is the situation where pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. The function of pancreas in human body is to deliver doses of insulin to control blood’s glucose level. However, when pancreas fail to function, the glucose level in blood gets dangerous, and causes diabetes. Thus, scientists have created software which through artificial intelligence monitors the level of blood glucose and administers insulin accordingly. Thus, it works like a normal functioning pancreas.
Huge wastage of food is caused because of the sticky surfaces. Hence Five MIT students and their professor Kripa Varanasi have come up with a way to make a surface that anything will slide off. It is an edible product which can be used on almost any materials like—glass, ceramic, metal or plastic, adding a microscopic slippery coating to them.
6. Discovery of XNA
Till now DNA and RNA were believed to be two information storing molecules. Now scientists in United Kingdom have discovered the third molecule which is capable of storing genetic information. But XNA can be carefully manipulated to be used as a tool for researchers for medical and industrial purposes.
7. HIV Home Testing Kits
To allow people to test for HIV virus in the privacy of their homes, a test kit has been designed which will deliver 92% correct results in 20 minutes. It will test saliva sample of the tester and is hence called OraQuick In-Home HIV test. However the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that a positive reading from the test does not necessarily correlate with a definitive HIV infection, indicating that the reading means the person needs additional testing, carried out by a healthcare professional. Similarly, a negative test result does not mean that an individual is definitely not infected with HIV, particularly when exposure may have been within the previous three months.
8. Lake Vostok discovered
Lake Vostok, 14-million-old Antarctic lake buried beneath the ice has been discovered by scientists after a decade of drilling by Russian scientists. However, a preliminary analysis of ice revealed no evidence of microbial life in the pristine sub glacial oasis, disappointing those who had been hoping for evidence of extremophiles living in icy darkness.
9. PKR (a stress molecule) boosts up memory
A molecule called PKR found in our brains serves two crucial functions. In everyday situations, it’s concerned with regulating how neurons interact in memory-related tasks. But when a virus invades, PRK activates a stress response that alerts the rest of the brain that something is very wrong. Alzheimer’s sufferers also experience PKR-releasing stress in the course of their disease. It’s meant as a radical treatment for Alzheimer’s patients.
10. In its absence, another immune molecule known as gamma interferon steps in, and that’s when something remarkable happens. It turns out this understudy molecule is actually way better at its job than PKR, increasing communication between neurons and just generally making the memory centres of the brain. Thus, if PKR molecule is blocked the inhibitor could confer that same memory-boosting benefit.