Technology for Good in 2017: The Most Exciting Breakthroughs

Technology for Good in 2017: The Most Exciting Breakthroughs

2017 has seen some truly radical technological breakthroughs, from turning pollution into power to all kinds of healthcare revolutions, including advanced immunotherapies for cancer patients.

In all these breakthroughs, what once seemed impossible has started to become possibilities that might change the world. Imagine if pollution could be used for good. What if one of the most deadly diseases in the world—cancer—could be cured by the latest immunotherapy breakthrough? Throughout each day and all around the world, scientists, researchers, engineers, architects, and artists conjure big ideas, draw out plans, execute experiments, and look to the future. And every now and then, they hit the jackpot—and we all benefit from a breakthrough.


One of the latest breakthroughs truly sounds like magic. Scientifically-savvy inventors have found a way to reverse paralysis. Using technology—like small microchips—attached directly to the brain, researchers have created what has been named a “neural bypass,” so that the brain can once again connect to paralyzed limbs. The result of this brain-reading technology is that once-paralyzed limbs are suddenly mobile again. Someone who is paralyzed can suddenly send a thought through the neural bypass to their own limb, effectively reversing their paralysis.

The science hasn’t been perfected yet, and studies are ongoing. MIT Technology Review provides a thorough overview of the history of this particular technological journey, estimating that we’re only 10-15 years away from seeing this particular technology changing the landscape of how paralysis can be treated medically. What has long been considered a lifelong condition might, suddenly, be reversible through the use of technology that not only mimics the brain but restores lost function.

Devices designed to restore or provide sensory or mobility input for those who’ve lost their ability are called “neural prosthetics.” As a form of prosthesis, such devices work to fill in perceived gaps experienced by individuals who experience paralysis.

Back in 1998, there were similar medical breakthroughs that made neural prostheses feel more possible—but almost twenty years later, scientists are still grappling with how to make it happen. The benefits of such technology seem clear: restoring the ability to walk, to use paralyzed limbs, to move freely again. Despite the long road to success, scientists and researchers continue to press forward in the hopes of securing these possibilities for the future.

Healthcare and medical technology breakthroughs happen every day. Has your life changed because of a breakthrough? Tell us your story at or leave a comment below.

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