6 Amazing Inventions of 2015

Some people have it so easy! When I wanted to invent Pickle on a Stick, people laughed and ridiculed me, but any other Joe Shmoe scientist can come up with… a particle accelerator per se, and he gets tons of money, free publicity and even a cool underground laboratory. I get mocked. Who cares what other things people have come up with this year? It will never compare to the societal good that will be seen by the mass distribution of the Pickle on a Stick. Unfortunately, big money and other Illuminati-related events have stopped me from helping the world with my Pickle on a Stick. Pft! Hadron Collider, my butt. Here are a few other inventions that the lizard-people elite were eager to fund.

1. Needleless vaccine patch

The first thing most people think of when you mention the word “doctor” is needles. Those needles are loathsome, pain-inducing splinters of sharp metal that are imbedded into your skin with a painful prick. Although the whole process is inconvenient, it can be life-threatening in areas that don’t have access to refrigeration (to store vials of vaccine), the ability to dispose of used needles, or the facilities to effectively sterilize the patient topically (field hospitals, rural hospitals, etc.)

Katarzyna “Kasia” Sawicka, a biomedical engineer, sought to change the way vaccinations are administered. The reason that it is necessary to pierce the skin to administer a vaccination is the large size of the particles that need to be absorbed into the bloodstream, which would normally be too big to pass through skin. But by using a material that is hydrophilic (as in it absorbs large amounts of water), it leeches moisture from the skin and when the skin is rehydrated it swells, allowing these large particles of the vaccine to pass through to the bloodstream. This will make vaccines not only more accessible but also potentially easier to ship because refrigeration is no longer necessary. If you’d like to read about this invention further, click here.

2. Hemopurifier

The usual course of action regarding the treatment of a virus or viral infection was with a course of antiviral medication or prevention via vaccination. Unfortunately, fighting viruses is very difficult due to their small size and ability to replicate inside their host cells. During the recent Ebola outbreak, many medical researchers dedicated all their resources to finding a cure to fight the virus. A company named Aethlon came up with a very nonconventional solution called the Hemopurifier.

The Hemopurifier is basically a blood dialysis filter which attracts and traps certain virused and the components which suppress the immune system of the infected individuals. Although it was released in 2014, it is currently in clinical trials, while it has been used in a hundred cases to date (as a treatment for patients with HIV and Hepatitis C) and was successful in helping a Ugandan doctor recover from organ failure that was a result of Ebola infection. The company is hoping to create Hemopurifiers for various types of cancers and other life-threatening viruses. Also, the company intends to make it compatible with current blood dialysis machines, assisting it being deployed rapidly. If you’d like to read more, click here.

3. Mangalyaan

The elusive Red Planet… Europe has tried to reach it and failed, the U.S. has attempted to reach it and failed, and even Russia has tried and failed. Sure, after their failed attempts, they managed to land on or orbit Mars, but never on the first try. Proving a competent adversary in the space race, India has managed to orbit Mars 800 times up to now with the satellite that cost less to make than the movie Gravity.

4. Prosthetics

The field of prosthetics has been heavily tied to the fields of robotics and neuroscience, and the two fields have finally come together to create prosthetic limbs that can be controlled directly by the mind. Although scientists have managed to create prosthetics that could be controlled by the patient through smaller movements of remaining muscle in recent years, this innovation will hopefully evolve into a much more natural and straightforward way for disabled people to interact with the world. As material engineering advances with polymers (plastics and rubbers) that can actually carry an electric current, maybe the prosthetics will be able to communicate back to the patient’s brain giving them tactile feedback like a real limb. Read the amazing story of a woman that picked up a cup for the first time in 15 years here.

5. Graphene light

If you’re unfamiliar with graphene, I’d like to introduce you to material engineering’s new wunderkind. It’s a material that’s stronger than steel, more conductive than copper, and can now emit light. Which, compared to its other two properties, seems laughable. What isn’t laughable though is the fact that scientists can finally make a computer that works with light instead of electricity, because not only does graphene create light, it does so at a relatively low temperature and is also microns-thick. If you’re still not excited, think about this: the speed of an electron is about 2,200 km/h, but that blazing fast speed is less than 1% the speed of light, and an electron is so fast it can travel around the world in just 18 seconds.

6. Using light to recall memories

A group of Japanese neuroscientists from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute managed to make mice recall “lost” memories. To be fair, they weren’t lost, they were just “locked” away because the scientists gave the mice medication that would do that to fearful memories. The thing is that blocking a memory doesn’t prove anything; being able to “unblock” a memory is much more significant and that’s exactly what these mad scientists managed to do. By stimulating the neurons that stored the “blocked” memory, the scientists managed to coax the memory back to recollection.

The process is called optogenetics and it is fascinating. The neurons in the mice’s brain which the scientists want to stimulate are injected with a virus which in turn makes the neurons produce a light-sensitive protein. This basically encodes the neurons with a light switch: when light is shone on them, they activate!

Would you like to add any other inventions or innovations to my list? Let me know in the comments section below!