Technology Breakthroughs by MIT

Every year, the MIT Technology Review magazine selects 10 technological breakthroughs of 2016. Voice recognition, GMO, reusable rockets, DNA in the App Store, or the automatic pilot Tesla: these technologies have not been impressive last year, and are developed to be this year, according to MIT.

Immune Engineering

Availability: in 1-2 years

Immune cells – T lymhocytes – genetically modified through genetic editing tools such as Talens or CRISPR -Cases 9, could heal in one treatment, people with cancer, sclerosis or HIV. A pioneer in the industry, the US biopharmaceutical company Cellectis, created by AndrĂ© Choulika – is the first to effectively reach extract T cells from the blood of a patient to change its DNA, so that it then eliminates only the diseased cells . 300 patients were treated, including several completely healed. In addition, Cellectis has managed to modify T cells to make them universally applicable, regardless of the patient. All the major pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology are interested.

Genetic Manipulation of Plants

Availability: in 5 to 10 years.

If CRISPR-Cas 9 was called a scientific breakthrough in 2015 by Science magazine, it is not for nothing. Among other breaches of use, it is a genetic editing tool for creating genetically modified (GM) crops that have no foreign DNA, and pass, the USA’s regulations.

Speech Recognition

Availability: Now

The future of computers and mobile devices is voice control. Already available on Apple devices, Microsoft and Google, voice control technology – and more generally of artificial intelligence – continent to evolve rapidly. It is the Chinese made, Baidu, which is the leader in this field. It has a laboratory in Silicon Valley which was developed in 2014 Deep Speech technology.

Reusable Rockets

Availability: Now

Rocket SpaceX and Blue Origin have made a buzz in recent months. And for good reason: they intend to revolutionize the use of rockets by allowing them to re-land after their use, and therefore be reused. They have demonstrated that this was possible in December and January. Huge financial gains are the key, and the European Space Agency (ESA), can not ignore this new situation, it also works on the design of an Ariane 6 reusable.

Robots That Can Learn From Each Other

Availability: in 3 to 5 years

The idea? Enabling robot learning via a common core of learning on the Cloud. A robot may drop off any new skills learned or extract a skill thats available and “learn” it. Advances in robotics accelerate dramatically if indeed each type of machine does not need to be programmed separately. An already running system, ROS (Robot Operating System), was already used to test this idea.

The DNA on App Store

Availability: this year

Genome sequencing techniques have seen their cost substantially decreased in recent years, and their ease and speed of execution greatly improve. From simple saliva samples, California-based Helix – acquired by Illumina – announced that it will this year propose to perform DNA analysis on demand, establish a complete description of the genome, and make accessible online, or available on Android and iOS. All for just $100. The usefulness? Know your own susceptibility to disease, or the likelihood of transmission to your children. For this, Helix built the largest sequencing center in the world of the genome, but other companies like Veritas Genetics, are on the spot. Still, it must be approved by the FDA and the US Agency for Food and Drug.

The Giant Plant Solar City

Availability: next year

The factory built in Buffalo by Solar City will cost $ 750 million, but will produce 10,000 solar panels a day! Or in one year, enough panels to produce 1 GW of electricity. Which is a lot given that nuclear power plants have a capacity of 0.9 GW and 1.45 GW. This will simply be the largest plant in North America, but we need it to drive down production costs and compete with the Chinese, who dominate this market. Solar City do not intend to make low-quality panels and boasts produce panels with a yield of 22%!


Availability: Now

Slack allows people to exchange files, call, subscribe to channels, create bots, or easily attach a working correspondence, as well as from a phone from a computer. Established in 2013, three million people today use it daily. Overall, the service makes the connection less restrictive labor by grouping all communications. With Slack, Quip, HipChat and Microsoft are key players in this new way to communicate.

The Automatic Pilot Tesla

Availability: Now

In October 2015, Tesla launched a new operating system (7.0 Tesla) with an auto-pilot for its Model S electric cars and X. Until the Tesla cars are really self operating, Elon Musk is betting on two years before this happens. Tesla’s 70,000 vehicles in circulation have already covered over 160 million kilometers with the autopilot mode. For comparison, completely dominating, because Google have rolled “only” 2.5 million km. Besides Tesla and Google, all manufacturers are working of course on the autonomous car. The presence of automated cars on the road should drastically reduce the number of road accidents.

The Wireless Power

Availability: in 2 to 3 years

In the wake of the explosion of connected objects, technologies are being developed to exploit the Wi-Fi signals and other communication signals to allow objects to recharge and communicate in total or almost autonomy. This is the case of the system of “Wireless passive” developed by researchers at the University of Washnigton and consumes 10 000 times less energy than the current Wi-Fi, and 1000 times less than the Bluetooth Low Energy or Zigbee. Devices freed from the constraint of energy storage open new applications. Retro dispersion technique can allow a device to transmit information and to recharge using the reflected electromagnetic waves. The researchers also found a software solution to enable wireless modem to distribute the signal to another device for recharging.