1. Glow-in-the-dark ice cream. Repeat. Glow. In. The. Dark. Ice. Cream.
Using the luminescence protein found in jellyfish, ice cream maker Lick Me, I’m Delicious created a treat that lights up when you eat it. The only downside? At $226 a scoop, it’s not exactly going to be in your local freezer aisle any time soon.
2. Also available: genetically modified glow-in-the-dark sheep.
To help differentiate naturally born sheep from their clone counterparts, researchers in Uruguay added the jellyfish protein to the genetically modified sheep. Under UV lights, they are easily distinguishable in a crowd.
3. Motorola files a patent for smartphone tattoos.
While still only in the patent phase, Motorola hopes these electronic tattoos will be part of the future of mobile voice communication.
4. Program allows user to remotely move objects with their hands.
Remember those pin art toys from your childhood? Now add MIT technological know-how and you get the inFORM display surface. Using a Kinect sensor to track the user’s movements, the computer then moves the associated pins.
5. Scientists create Matrix-esque artificial womb.
Thanks to scientists in Japan, we are one step closer to being batteries for our robot overlords. The hope of the team is to one day be able to perform lifesaving fetal procedures without risk to the mother.
6. Print your own customized 3D tooth mold to brush your teeth.
Billed as being able to brush your teeth in six seconds, Blizzident requires a custom mouth mold from your dentist and access to a 3D printer.
7. Medical breakthrough allows pill-sized camera instead of invasive scopes.
With the advent of this endoscope pill, no more will patients have to endure medical scopes probing either end of their digestive tract. A small SD card and antenna worn in a vest wirelessly store the information sent by the tiny two mega-pixel camera.
8. This adorable segmented spy worm will find your secrets.
Created by the Carnegie Mellon University biorobotics lab, this undulating segmented robot has disaster recovery teams hopeful it will assist in traversing small gaps and dangerous to reach areas during search and rescue.
9. NASA takes a core sample…from Mars.
This year — for the first time — humans saw the true color of Mars when the Curiosity drilled down 64mm into the surface. The samples returned evidence that Mars may have once had a lush atmosphere, including water. In November, the Maven mission was unveiled, which will send a probe to the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet to try to determine what happened to its atmosphere.
10. Man defies illegal download PSA, creates downloadable car.
Dubbed the Urbee 2, the futuristic vehicle is created using a spray of molten polymer and weighs in at just under 1,200 pounds once the metal engine is added in. The creators hope to drive the prototype from San Francisco to New York on a single tank of gas.
11. The world’s first fully mind-controlled synthetic leg goes for a stroll.
Connected to leg of its owner by two nerves and computer sensors, this bionic leg works in exactly the same manner as a natural leg. With an error rate of just 1.8%, it’s as close to a flawless mind-controlled limb as science has gotten yet. Created by the Chicago Center for Bionic Medicine, the leg is just the latest in the line of future prosthetics.
12. Scientists invent real life “spider sense” suit.
Seven different ultrasonic sensors wired to detect nearby objects exert pressure on tiny robotic arms sewn into the “spider sense” suit made by Victor Mateevitsi. When the sensors detect movement, they apply pressure to the skin, allowing the average person to feel oncoming attacks with a 95% success rate.
13. Medical pioneers replace part of a patient’s skull with a 3D implant.
Back in March, a technology known as OsteoFab was used for the first time in the United States. Using a blueprint of the patient’s bone structure, a 3D printer creates an exact match of the new plastic implant. While titanium implants have been available for some time, the new polymer allows for X-rays and MRI scans without interference.
14. Two rats have their brains telepathically linked.
At Duke University, neuroscientists have connected the brains of two rats. Using electrodes and extensive training, the result was that when one rat — the encoder — moved to press a lever, the other rat — the decoder — did so also. The research has promise for the future of biological computer interfaces.
15. And laboratory mice are successfully implanted with false memories.
Researchers used a technique to study how memories form at the cellular level. By activating neurons, they were able to train mice to remember an experience in a context that never happened. Some hope this process can one day help trauma victims purge painful memories to allow them to heal.
16. A robotics hobbyist created a giant robot in his backyard.
The six-legged robot is controlled from the cockpit by driver-operated joysticks. Made for fun as an entertainment vehicle, animatronics expert Matt Denton has been approached by both marine and mining organizations interested in turning his hobby into a career.
17. A baby born with HIV is essentially cured for the first time.
Two and a half years after a baby born with HIV was immediately given strong antiretroviral drugs, there is still no sign of the life-threatening virus in her body. While scientists are hesitant to throw around the word “cure,” it looks promising. Later in the year, two HIV-positive adult men were given stem cell transplants that seem to have wiped out their infections.
18. A research team creates a paper-thin robot skin that responds to touch.
One of the latest developments in humanoid robotics is electronic skin developed by engineers at UC Berkeley. The flexible plastic is designed with light sensors that send out colors corresponding with how hard the surface is pressed.
19. The first human-made object exits the solar system.
After 36 years of hurtling through space, the Voyager 1 spacecraft has left our solar system, having traveled approximately 12 billion miles from our sun.
20. In Hamburg, a new apartment complex is powered by algae.
In our ongoing efforts to harness alternative energy, an apartment complex in Germany hired a firm to build 129 algae tanks, which were then attached to the outside walls of the building. Welded to scaffolding that can be turned to keep the algae facing the sun at all times, the algae in return shade the building in the summer and can be processed into gas for heat in the winter.
21. Portable device allows users to see through walls.
At MIT, engineers are working on a device that allows the user to gather data on what is moving on the other side. Called Wi-Vi, the prototype translates movement in much the same way sonar detection does. So less human-shaped outlines and more like visualized sound-vibration charts.