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As much as we all love new games and gadgetry, advancements in the health and safety tech industry may have the biggest impact on our future. Each year ushers in surprising progress that is changing the world by leaps and bounds. From saving lives and enhancing public safety to thwarting disasters and stopping criminals, here’s a look at five new technology advancements that can make a big difference in our future:
In today’s smartphone-enhanced world, distracted driving is a major public safety issue. Hundreds of thousands of accidents are caused each year by drivers fiddling with their phones instead of watching the road, whether they’re texting or talking. The advent of automatic braking systems is already saving lives, and this is one area it could help tremendously. Using a combination of sensors, radar and cameras to triangulate your speed and the distance of vehicles and objects in front of you, these safety systems engage the brakes in time to stop crashes. Many automotive companies have committed to making this a standard feature in their cars in years to come.
Computer software that can scan, read and identify people based on their facial features has been around for a while, but it continues to advance in some pretty incredible ways. Most commonly, it’s used to identify criminals using video surveillance, but more companies and organizations are putting facial recognitions technologies to good use, too. Caterpillar, for example, recently began installing facial recognition software and cameras in its larger vehicles to monitor the fatigue levels of heavy equipment operators to cut down on accidents and increase overall safety.
Now that we have machines that can fabricate just about anything imaginable, it’s amazing to see the different ways innovators are putting 3D printing technology to the test. We’ve been able to 3D print everything from edible food to model replicas of real-world objects, which is an epic feat of manufacturing. The latest brave new frontier, however, comes in the form of 3D printing organic matter. Yes, 3D printed human organs is a thing! Practical human applications are in testing phases, but scientists have been able to 3D print muscle, bone and tissue. They’ve even successfully transplanted 3D printed human tissue onto a rat.
Developed as a fast means to stop severe bleeding from gunshot wounds in a matter of seconds, injectable, high-tech medical sponges are being used to save lives on the battlefield. At present, this military-grade tech is mainly applied in conflict situations abroad, as it was funded by U.S. Army medical research programs. Still, it has potential for far broader applications, especially since it was recently approved by the FDA to be used for life threatening medical emergencies in the U.S.
This new technology is essentially a large syringe filled with small sponges that are injected into gunshots wounds and other injuries. Once inside the body, the sponges expand up to 10 times their size, putting pressure on the wound and stopping blood loss in approximately 20 seconds.
Getting invaluable medical supplies to people in remote areas is a significant challenge for aid organizations. Vaccines are often vital to survival in third-world countries, and finding new ways to get them where they need to go can make a big difference in the lives of many who are less fortunate. A handful of technology companies are getting closer to using unmanned drones to air-drop vaccines in Rawanda and other countries in need. This could save both money and lives alike, offering a faster way to ferry medicine to remote locations than traditional land-based transport.