27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2012

December 31, 2012

1. Quadriplegic Uses Her Mind          to Control Her Robotic Arm

Quadriplegic Uses Her Mind to Control Her Robotic Arm
At the University of  Pittsburgh, the neurobiology department worked with 52-year-old Jan Scheuermann over the course of 13 weeks to  create a robotic arm controlled only by the power of       Scheuermannâs mind.
The team implanted her with two 96-channel intracortical microelectrodes. Placed in the          motor cortex, which controls all limb movement, the  integration process was faster than anyone expected. On the second day, Jan could use her new arm with a 3-D workspace. By  the end of the 13 weeks, she was capable of performing complex tasks with seven-dimensional movement, just like a biological  arm.
To date, there have been no  negative side effects.
Source: gizmodo.com

2. DARPA Robot Can Traverse an Obstacle Course

Once the robot figures out how to do that without all the            wires, humanity is doomed.

DARPA was also hard at work this year making robots to track              humans and run as fast as              a cheetah, which seems like a great combination with            no possibility of horrible side effects.
Source: jwherrman

3. Genetically              Modified Silk Is Stronger Than Steel

Genetically Modified Silk Is Stronger Than Steel
At the University of Wyoming, scientists modified a group            of silkworms to produce silk that is, weight for weight,            stronger than steel. Different groups hope to benefit from            the super-strength silk, including stronger sutures for the            medical community, a biodegradable alternative to plastics,            and even lightweight armor for military purposes.
Source: bbc.co.uk

4. DNA Was Photographed for the First Time

DNA Was Photographed for the First Time
Using an electron microscope, Enzo di Fabrizio and his            team at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa snapped            the first photos of the famous double helix.
Source: newscientist.com             /  via: davi296

5. Invisibility              Cloak Technology Took a Huge Leap Forward

Invisibility Cloak Technology Took a Huge Leap Forward
British Columbia company HyperStealth Biotechnology            showed a functioning prototype of its new fabric to the U.S.            and Canadian military this year. The material, called            Quantum Stealth, bends light waves around the wearer without            the use of batteries,            mirrors, or cameras. It blocks the subject from being seen            by visual means but also keeps them hidden from thermal            scans and infrared.
Source: toxel.com

6. Spray-On Skin

Spray-On Skin
ReCell by Avita Medical is a medical breakthrough for            severe-burn victims. The technology uses a postage            stampâsize piece of skin from the patient, leaving the            donor site with what looks like a rug burn. Then the sample            is mixed with an enzyme harvested from pigs and sprayed back            onto the burn site. Each tiny graft expands, covering a            space up to the size of a book page within a week. Since the            donor skin comes from the patient, the risk of rejection is            minimal.

7. James Cameron Reached the Deepest Known Point in the            Ocean

7. James Cameron Reached the Deepest Known Point in the            Ocean

James Cameron Reached the Deepest Known Point in the Ocean
Cameron was the first solo human to reach the bottom of            the Mariana Trench. At 6.8 miles deep, it is perhaps more a            more alien place to scientists than some foreign planets            are. The 2.5-story âvertical torpedoâ sub descended over            a period of two and a half hours before taking a variety of            samples.

8. Stem Cells Could Extend Human Life by Over 100 Years

Stem Cells Could Extend Human Life by Over 100 Years
When fast-aging elderly mice with a usual lifespan of 21            days were injected with stem cells from younger mice at the            Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburgh, the            results were staggering. Given the injection approximately            four days before they were expected to die, not only did the            elderly mice live â they lived threefold their normal            lifespan, sticking around for 71 days. In human terms, that            would be the equivalent of an 80-year-old living to be 200.

9. 3-D Printer Creates Full-Size Houses in One Session

3-D Printer Creates Full-Size Houses in One Session
The D-Shape printer,            created by Enrico Dini, is capable of printing a two-story            building, complete with rooms, stairs, pipes, and            partitions. Using nothing but sand and an inorganic binding            compound, the resulting material has the same durability as            reinforced concrete with the look of marble. The building            process takes approximately a fourth of the time as            traditional buildings, as long as it sticks to rounded            structures, and can be built without specialist knowledge or            skill sets.
Source: gizmag.com

10. Self-Driving Cars Are Legal in Nevada, Florida, and            California

Self-Driving Cars Are Legal in Nevada, Florida, and California
Google started testing its driverless cars in the            beginning of 2012, and by May, Nevada was the first state to            take the leap in letting them roam free on the roads. With            these cars logging over 300,000 autonomous hours so far, the only two accidents involving them            happened when they were being manually piloted.

11. Voyager I Leaves the Solar System

Voyager I Leaves the Solar System
Launched in 1977, Voyager I is the first manmade object            to fly beyond the confines of our solar system and out into            the blackness of deep space. It was originally designed to            send home images of Saturn and Jupiter, but NASA scientists            soon realized eventually the probe would float out into the            great unknown. To that end, a recording was placed on            Voyager I with sounds ranging from music to whale calls, and            greetings in 55 languages.
Source: space.com

12. Custom Jaw Transplant Created With 3-D Printer

Custom Jaw Transplant Created With 3-D Printer
A custom working jawbone was created for an 83-year-old            patient using titanium powder and bioceramic coating. The            first of its kind, the successful surgery opens the door for            individualized bone replacement and, perhaps one day, the            ability to print out new muscles and organs.

13. Rogue Planet Floating Through Space

Rogue Planet Floating Through Space
Until this year, scientists knew planets orbited a star.            Then, in came CFBDSIR2149. With four to seven times the mass            of Jupiter, it is the first free-floating object to be            officially defined as an exoplanet and not a brown dwarf.

14. Chimera Monkeys Created from Multiple Embryos

Chimera Monkeys Created from Multiple Embryos
While all the donor cells were from rhesus monkeys, the            researchers combined up to six distinct embryos into three            baby monkeys. According to Dr. Mitalipov, âThe cells never            fuse, but they stay together and work together to form            tissues and organs.â Chimera species are used in order to            understand the role specific genes play in embryonic            development and may lead to a better understanding of            genetic mutation in humans.
Source: bbc.co.uk

15. Artificial Leaves Generate Electricity

Artificial Leaves Generate Electricity
Using relatively inexpensive materials, Daniel G. Nocera            created the worldâs first practical artificial leaf. The            self-contained units mimic the process of photosynthesis,            but the end result is hydrogen instead of oxygen. The            hydrogen can then be captured into fuel cells and used for electricity,            even in the most remote locations            on Earth.

16. Google Goggles Bring the Internet Everywhere

Google Goggles Bring the Internet Everywhere
Almost everyone has seen the              video of Googleâs vision of the future. With their            Goggles, everyday life is overlaid with a HUD (Headâs Up            Display). Controlled by a combination of voice control and            where the user is looking, the Goggles show pertinent            information, surf the web, or call a loved one.

17. The Higgs-Boson Particle Was Discovered

The Higgs-Boson Particle Was Discovered
Over the summer, multinational research center CERN            confirmed it had discovered a particle that behaved enough            like a Higgs boson to be given the title. For scientists,            this meant there could be a Higgs field, similar to an            electromagnetic field. In turn, this could lead to the            scientistsâ ability to interact with mass the same way we            currently do with magnetic fields.
Source: forbes.com

18. Flexible, Inexpensive Solar Panels Challenge Fossil            Fuel

Flexible, Inexpensive Solar Panels Challenge Fossil Fuel
At half the price of todayâs cheapest solar cells, Twin Creeksâ            Hyperion uses an ion canon to bombard wafer-thin panels. The            result is a commercially viable, mass-produced solar panel that costs            around 40 cents per watt.

19. Diamond Planet Discovered

Diamond Planet Discovered
An exoplanet made entirely of diamonds was discovered            this year by an international research team. Approximately            five times the size of Earth, the small planet had mass            similar to that of Jupiter. Scientists believe the short            distance from its star coupled with the exoplanetâs mass            means the planet, remnants of another star, is mostly            crystalline carbon.
Source: io9.com

20. Eye Implants Give Sight to the Blind

Eye Implants Give Sight to the Blind
Two blind men in the U.K. were fitted with eye implants            during an eight-hour surgery with promising results. After            years of blindness, both had regained âusefulâ vision            within weeks, picking up the outlines of objects and            dreaming in color. Doctors expect continued improvement as            their brains rewire themselves for sight.

21. Wales Barcodes DNA of Every Flowering Plant Species in            the Country

Wales Barcodes DNA of Every Flowering Plant Species in the Country
Led by the National Botanic Gardenâs head of research            and conversation, a database of DNA for all 1,143 native            species of Wales has been created. With the use of over            5,700 barcodes, plants can now be identified by photos of            their seeds, roots, wood, or pollen. The goal is to help            researchers track things such as bee migration patterns or            how a plant species encroaches on a new area. The hope is to eventually            barcode both animal and plant species across the world.

22. First Unmanned Commercial Space Flight Docks with the            ISS

First Unmanned Commercial Space Flight Docks with the ISS
SpaceX docked its unmanned cargo craft, the Dragon, with            the International              Space Station. It marked the first time in history a            private company had sent a craft to the station. The robotic            arm of the ISS grabbed the capsule in the first of what will            be many resupply trips.
Source: nytimes.com

23. Ultra-Flexible âWillowâ Glass Will Allow for            Curved Electronic              Devices

Ultra-Flexible "Willow" Glass Will Allow for Curved Electronic<br / Devices" src="http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/enhanced/webdr03/2012/12/18/18/enhanced-buzz-16277-1355873326-4.jpg" width="625" height="625" /">
Created by New Yorkâbased developer Corning, the            flexible glass prototype was shown off at an industry trade            show in Boston. At only 0.05mm thick, itâs as thin as a            sheet of paper. Perhaps Sonyâs wearable              PC concept will actually be possible before 2020.
Source: bbc.co.uk

24. NASA Begins Using Robotic Exoskeletons

NASA Begins Using Robotic Exoskeletons
The X1 Robotic Exoskeleton weighs in at 57 lbs. and            contains four motorized joints along with six passive ones.            With two settings, it can either hinder movement, such as            when helping astronauts exercise in space, or aid movement,            assisting paraplegics with walking.

25. Human Brain Is Hacked

Human Brain Is Hacked
Usenix Security had a team of researchers use            off-the-shelf technology to show how vulnerable the human            brain really is. With an EEG (electroencephalograph) headset            attached to the scalp and software to figure out what the            neurons firing are trying to do, it watches for spikes in            brain activity when the user recognizes something like            oneâs ATM PIN number or a childâsface.

26. First Planet with FOUR Suns Discovered

First Planet with FOUR Suns Discovered
Discovered by amateur astronomers, the planet closely            orbits a pair of stars, which in turn orbit another set of            more distant stars. Itâs approximately the size of            Neptune, so scientists are still trying to work out how the            planet has avoided being pulled apart by the gravitational            force of that many stars.
Source: io9.com

27. Microsoft Patented the          âHolodeckâ

Microsoft Patented the "Holodeck"
The patent suggests Microsoft          wants to take gaming beyond a single screen and turn it into          an immersive experience â beaming images all over the room,          accounting for things like furniture, and bending the graphics          around them to create a seamless environment.

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