Technologies Help us See a Better Tomorrow

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Bangalore-based Farheen tells us about brilliant innovations that has been made possible because of technologies making life easier. Read more in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.

Technologies make our lives easier. Successful technologies are the ones that play an important role in combating planet’s problems.

Some technologies improve lives, some others change the way we work and some others innovate and show us a new way of looking at things. The manual labour has been diminishing and automation is taking over all around the world. There are sectors, we see growth in people whereas some places technology is leading.

Some of the technologies listed below have proven that there is still hope left to see a better tomorrow.

Harvesting Clean Water from Air

This technique is existent and it requires high moisture levels and a lot of electricity. A team from MIT and University of California, Berkeley has successfully tested a process using porous crystals that convert the water using no energy at all. The second method is by a start-up called Zero Mass Water from Arizona can produce 2-5 liters of water a day based on an off-grid solar system.

Liquid Fuels from Sunshine

How can fuel be extracted from sunshine? Isn’t it interesting to learn?  Yes, it can be done by using sunlight-activated catalysts to split water molecules into water and hydrogen and then using the same hydrogen to convert CO2 into hydrocarbons. A closed system, wherein CO2 emitted by combustion is then transformed back into fuel instead of the atmosphere, it could prove to be a major breakthrough for the solar and wind industries.

Genomic Vaccines

Vaccines composed of DNA or RNA, instead of protein, could enable rapid development of preventives for infectious diseases.

“This is very promising,” leading cancer immunotherapy researcher Carl June, M.D., told Bioscience Technology. June, with the University of Pennsylvania, was not involved in the current study. “This is the first demonstration in cancer patients that neoantigens created by missense mutations can serve to generate high-frequency responses in cancer patients after therapeutic vaccination.”

The high-speed technology can prove to be priceless in confronting the growth of emerging infectious diseases.

Low-cost Catalysts for Green Vehicles

There was much happening around achieving zero-emission technology, the hydrogen-fed fuel cell. Success has been achieved in this field already. Progress to date has been stymied by the high price of catalysts which contain platinum. However, much progress has been made reducing the dependence on this expensive metal, and the latest developments involve catalysts that include no platinum, or in some cases no metal at all.

Liquid Biopsies

The Liquid biopsy is a minimally invasive technology for detecting molecular biomarkers in a cost-effective manner. It is a simple and non-invasive alternative to surgical biopsies which enables medical doctors to discover a plethora of information about a disease or a tumour via a simple blood sample. Circulating cancer cells or traces of cancer’s RNA or DNA in the blood can give clues treatments that would best help the patients. Circulating nucleic acids are protected by extracellular micro-vesicles, mainly exosomes.

New dedicated methods enable you to enrich and purify from this liquid biopsy:

  • Circulating free DNA (cfdna)
  • Circulating small-RNA
  • Circulating tumor cells (ctcs)
  • Extracellular micro-vesicles (including exosomes) containing small-RNA, mrna and DNA

How are Liquid biopsies possible? A test is done on a sample of blood to look for cancer cells from a tumor that are circulating in the blood or for pieces of DNA from tumor cells that are in the blood. A liquid biopsy is also used to help find cancer at stage one. It also helps in planning treatment or finding out whether or not the treatment is working on the patient. Because the blood samples at different times also help doctors understand what changes are witnessed in a tumour.

The sharpest brains work behind these technologies to ensure our lives can be smoother and to believe that there will be innovations with the help of existing technologies and the ones we have heard of them so far.

©Farheen Viquas

Photos from the Internet

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Farheen Viquas is a Senior Technical Editor/Writer working in Bangalore, India. She has worked as a Technical Writer/Editor, Mentor/Coach, Language Consultant, Information Tester, English Trainer, and Transcriber. When not at work, she loves to cook, read, write poetry and prose, listen to music, bake cakes, fish keeping, and embroider. She is also a stained-glass enthusiast.