Blackphone

The biggest problem in the world of smart devices is privacy. We feel that we are at the constant whim of larger corporations who control and operate wireless systems and applications. The point of Blackphone is to bring privacy and security back into the world of smart technology. The thing is, the Blackphone has been through its ups and downs since its introduction.

Is this the kind of technology that we will be able to trust and use within the next few years, or will it be another flop in the world of “black market privacy”? Let’s crack the code and find out.

When was the Blackphone First Introduced?

Phil Zimmermann, the creator of Silent Circle, a company that creates and provides secure communication applications, introduced the idea of the Blackphone back in 2013. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that Blackphone was unveiled to the public. 

The motivation behind its creation had a lot to do with the fact that the NSA was spying on Americans in their day-to-day lives. The team at Silent Circle had a goal of providing consumers with total security in their actions. This phone is not 100% NSA-proof, though it was the very beginning of a large consumer shift in the world of privacy and security. 

What is Blackphone?

Security Cameras on the Wall

Blackphone is a device that is meant to provide a bit more privacy for its users. It comes with secure messaging that utilizes the company’s privacy software. The main privacy feature is a custom version of Android’s software called PrivatOS. This version of Android OS will give users the ability to control all of the data that is on their phone. They’ll be able to toggle application permissions for everything that they download as well.

The first Blackphone came around in 2014, though the Blackphone 2 has just recently been put on the market. This Blackphone runs on Silent OS that gives privacy without compromising anything else. This phone also uses ZRTP, which is a cryptographic key-agreement that helps to destroy the contents of a call immediately after it is done.

Blackphone in Movies and Pop Culture

Because Blackphone is such a recent technology, we haven’t seen it any movies, nor any pop culture references. It can be noted that there have been a variety of movies about the NSA and their attempts to spy on Americans though, which is the reason that this technology was created in the first place. 

One of the most popular NSA films in the past decade is Snowden, the story of a political figure who stood up to expose illegal surveillance activities being carried out by the NSA. 

Links to Related Articles

To find out more about how Silent Circle’s Blackphone can help secure your private information, take a look at these articles: 

https://mashable.com/2014/02/24/what-is-blackphone/

https://www.techopedia.com/definition/30089/blackphone

Conclusion

As of now, a Blackphone retails for a higher price than most of the top smartphones on the market, which does not make it the most available device to consumers. With that said, it is creating an obvious shift in consumer wants and needs, as more and more people are now concerned with their own privacy. While this phone is not NSA-proof, nor is any phone, it represents an ideal that will be important as the future of technology and connection moves forward.

WiGig

Our network speeds are moving faster than they ever have before. It seems that today, we have the ability to hop on the internet and get the results that we’re looking for in a matter of seconds. For those that didn’t think it could get faster, we’ve got something for you. This is WiGig, a new wireless standard that is set to excel beyond the fast wireless speeds that we know now. 

You might think to yourself, well, I already have WiFi, so how would this apply to me?

Buckle your seatbelts, as we’re about to dive into to the fastest network speeds you’ve ever seen.

When was WiGig First Introduced?

WiGig came about in May of 2009, and was known as the Wireless Gigabit Alliance. The idea behind the company was to create and promote the IEEE 802.11ad protocol, which would take consumer wireless communications a step further to the millimeter wave band. 1.0 WiGig was completed in December of the same year.

In 2010, they opened up their WiGig Alliance Adopter Program to better cooperate with current technologies for multi-gigabit wireless networking. Over the years, the protocol has been better refined to catch up with manufacturers so that families can begin using it too.

What is WiGig?

Web Hosting Concept

WiGig is essentially a new wireless standard that is made to create higher wireless speeds. Similar to 801.11ac in terms of speed, this new wireless standard is set to work off of a different frequency. Your standard wireless internet utilizes either 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands, while WiGig is set to use 60GHz. 

So yes, the main point is that WiGig will create faster internet speeds for all users. In fact, WiGig is set to bring speeds up to a whopping 8GB per second, which is more than enough to download just about anything that you could think of in mere seconds. Of course, with 60GHz, WiGig could easily transfer at speeds of 50GB per second, though most consumer devices aren’t able to handle that kind of transfer speed.

As of now, WiGig is being used for high-resolution virtual reality, and could also be used for high-resolution wireless streaming content or massive data transfers.

WiGig in Movies and Pop Culture

So far, WiGig has not been seen in any movies, nor has it been used in any pop culture references. As time goes on, we can maybe expect to see this device become more commonplace, meaning it will end up showing up in more and more movies.

Links to Related Articles

To learn more about WiGig and how it can improve your internet speeds, check out the following:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-is-wigig/

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wi-fi-alliancer-and-wigigtm-alliance-to-cooperate-on-expansion-of-wi-fi-technologies-93250859.html

https://www.howtogeek.com/371328/what-is-wigig-and-how-is-it-different-from-wi-fi-6/

Conclusion

WiGig can currently be used as an addition to regular Wi-Fi, though you have to have a device that supports WiGig, as many do not. There are now a few companies on the market that are selling WiGig routers if you have a WiGig-enabled laptop. While the devices are still fairly new, we can expect to see it become common in the next few years or so. More and more devices that support the 802.11ay standard are set to come out in 2019, so make sure to keep your eye out!

Sproutling Baby Monitor: Baby Monitor That Tracks Vitals

No, these babies aren’t under house arrest. This little high-tech baby monitor is a bit like a Fitbit for babies, with the promise of monitoring a variety of different variables so that you can make sure your baby is healthy and happy every time that you put them down for their nap. 

Some may think that this new baby monitor is a bit on the extreme side of parenting, though Sproutling says that they created this device to help make things a bit simpler. The thought of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can scare a parent into constantly checking to see if their baby is okay. The question is, does Sproutling work as intended, and can it help to curb parental anxiety?

When were Sproutling Baby Monitors Introduced?

The idea of the Sproutling Baby Monitor came from new fathers Chris Bruce and Mathew Spolin, who found that they were experiencing constant anxiety, which caused them to stand at the door all the time to see if their babies were breathing. It motivated them to create the San Francisco startup, Sproutling.

The product was developed over the course of two years and was finally debuted in 2014. It can now be found for sale all around the internet.

What are Sproutling Baby Monitors?

Sproutling Baby Monitor

Sproutling Baby Monitors are small bands worn on the ankle that are made of high-quality, medical-grade silicone. They utilize an optical heart-rate sensor to monitor the baby’s pulse. It does so by shining a small light on the skin of the baby and measuring the wavelength of the light that comes back.

A sensor gauge reads the baby’s temperature, while an accelerometer tracks the position of the baby. If the baby is in motion and accidentally rolls over, the parents will be notified right away. The base even doubles as a wireless charger that allows the band to run for up to two days.

Sproutling helps to convert all of the data into little push notifications that parents can get on their smartphone. They don’t deal with graphs or data, meaning they are easy to read too. Sproutling also helps to make sure that the streams of data coming from the band are protected so that you can feel secure about that information.

Sproutling Baby Monitors in Movies and Pop Culture

So far, the Sproutling Baby Monitor has not been seen in any movies, nor has it been used in any pop culture references. As time goes on, we can maybe expect to see this device become more commonplace, meaning it will end up showing up in more and more movies.

Links to Related Articles

Take a look at what others are saying about the Sproutling Baby Monitor.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/tools-toys/review-the-sproutling-baby-monitor

https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/sproutling-baby-wearable-tracks-sleep/

https://time.com/3086806/sproutling-baby-monitor/

Conclusion

If first-time or veteran parents are feeling extremely anxious about the health of their newborn babies, the Sproutling Baby Monitor can help to provide a little bit of peace of mind. Having those alerts can be extremely helpful to give an idea of how your baby is doing at all times, which helps to reduce your stress, improve your sleep, and feel better about the status of your baby no matter what. 

The Bionic Arm Or Other Bionic Parts

Since the dawn of science fiction, we have seen countless bionic arms and other bionic parts in films and television shows. The idea behind these devices is that they can help replace lost limbs with ease, creating stronger and more durable human beings. For decades, scientists believed that the creation of the working bionic arm was right around the corner. The issue has always been the complexity of the human arm.

From playing the guitar to tying your shoe, your arm is one of the most nimble body parts. Fast forward to the present, and bionic parts are on the rise thanks to innovations in technology. Could these be the answer so many are looking for? 

When was the Bionic Arm First Introduced?

Jack E. Steele, a late American medical doctor and US Air Force colonel, was the man who coined the word “bionics”, as a mix of “biology” and “electronics”. Science fiction television series from the 1970s popularized the idea of bionics, such as the Six Million Dollar Man. It wasn’t until 1993 that the very first bionic arm was created. 

This arm, known as the “Edinburgh Modular Arm System”, was given to a man named Robert Campbell Aird, who was a muscular cancer amputee. The arm could rotate completely at the shoulder, as well as bend at the elbow, turn at the wrist, and grip objects.

Prosthetic and bionic limbs are now at the forefront of 3D printing, as they are much more inexpensive and efficient to produce that way.

What is the Bionic Arm?

Bionic parts

There are a few different bionic arms on the market now, one of the most popular being the Hero Arm. This bionic arm works by picking up small signals that come from the user’s muscles. A user can flex his or her muscles in the elbow and the arm will pick up those tiny, naturally-generated signals and convert them into signals that can be used by the bionic arm. 

This particular arm can perform different grips, flex at the wrist, and far more. The best part is, no surgery is required, and a patient will be able to use his or her arm in less than ten minutes thanks to the high-quality electromyographical technology. Other bionics companies, such as EskoBionics and SynCardia, are working to create different bionic parts, such as artificial hearts, exoskeletons, ankle replacements, and more!

The Bionic Arm in Movies and Pop Culture

One of the most popular instances of bionics in pop culture is Steve Austin from The Six Million Dollar Man. Gazelle, one of the antagonists from Kingsman: The Secret Service, uses her bionic legs, which gives her superhuman strength.

In real-life pop culture, we can see Robert Downey Jr., the lead in the hit Marvel series Iron Man, delivering a bionic arm to a young boy without one.

Links to Related Articles

For more details on bionic arms, take a look at these links.

https://science.howstuffworks.com/bionic-arm.htm

https://www.businessinsider.com/open-bionics-prosthetic-arms-2018-2

Conclusion

The future in bionic limbs and body parts is bright. With a variety of bionics companies out there attempting to create and refine bionic parts for those who have lost something, we can expect to see a future where loss victims can be reunited with their lost limbs.

Google X Project Wing: Drone Deliveries

Delivery has come quite a long way since the days of the Pony Express. Though services like FedEx seemed to be the most prominent delivery services just a few years ago, our technological advances have shifted us into a world where goods can be delivered ten times more efficiently. What are we talking about?

Google X Project Wing.

Current delivery systems aren’t the most efficient. Roads can be difficult to traverse in certain conditions or under certain circumstances, and the rise of internet buying has led to a massive increase in CO2 emissions. This delivery drone service aims to make access to our goods much easier, safer, and faster. But will it work?

When was Google X Project Wing First Introduced?

Google first announced Project Wing in 2014 when it was just finishing up producing this life-changing technology in its Google X laboratories. In 2018, it switched from Google X to an independent company known as Alphabet Inc. Since 2014, the company worked tirelessly to produce an aircraft that could deliver parcels to consumers while meeting compliance standards. 

In early January 2019, the first Wing went out, delivering food and beverages to the pilot team in Bonython, Australia. In April of 2019, the Wing became the very first delivery drone that was allowed to operate as a United States airline, thanks to an Air Operator’s Certificate from the FAA.

What is Google X Project Wing?

Drone flying in the air

Google X Project Wing is a project that is aiming to build autonomous delivery drones that can be used to transport a wide variety of things from food to medicine to supplies and beyond. The company manufacturing them, now named Alphabet, has testing spaces around the world in places like Australia and California. 

At first, the company envisioned their drones as a way to deliver defibrillator kits to victims of heart attacks. Now, that vision has grown, as the company currently sees them as the perfect vehicles to deliver supplies to disaster relief areas. 

These unmanned drones have been designed to pick up packages from businesses and deliver them to their chosen destinations using mapped-out routes and anti-collision sensors. The Unmanned Air System Traffic Management allocates these routes to help drones avoid hazardous routes. The beauty of these drones is that they don’t require a large staff to operate or any new infrastructure to run.

Google X Project Wing in Movies and Pop Culture

While Google X Project Wing has not been seen in any movies or pop culture references as of yet, there have been movies with similar delivery drones in them. One good example of a movie with a delivery drone is Seth Rogen’s The Interview, where a drone delivers a small strip of poison to the protagonists to kill Kim Jong Un with.

We can also see a delivery drone delivering pizza in Steven Spielberg’s hit fantasy movie, Ready Player One.

Links to Related Articles

These articles give some more information about Google X Project Wing. Check them out for information about the project so far and its projected expansion.

https://x.company/projects/wing/

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/project-wing-a-cheat-sheet/

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/28/alphabets-drone-company-wing-is-on-a-hiring-spree-ahead-of-expansion.html

Conclusion

While we’re not seeing these drones whizzing around our neighborhoods just yet, testing for them is ramping up. There have been a large number of new tests in Australia, working to deliver packages in places that are more densely populated. We can expect to see federal air regulations and road blocks dealt with in the next few years. You may never have to leave your house again!

Gene Therapy and Health

Up until recently, there were certain diseases out there that seemed impossible to cure. Then came gene therapy, a revolutionary new way to prevent and eliminate hereditary diseases, as well as other widespread diseases like cancer and AIDS. In the realm of medicine, it seems like a true miracle. 

Of course, like every medicine known to man, there are risks and side effects. Researchers are currently studying how to use gene therapy properly, though are the risks worth the outcomes? Let’s find out!

When was Gene Therapy and First Introduced?

The idea that genes could be safely taken out and transferred into living beings was introduced by Drs. W. French Anderson and Michael Blaese in 1985. The process was first performed on animals to show that it could be useful in disease treatment.

The introduction of gene therapy was on September 14th, 1990 at the NIH Clinical Center. A four-year old girl with adenosine deaminase deficiency, a genetic disease that leaves a person without defense against infections, was the first gene therapy patient. Her white blood cells were taken from her and injected with adenosine deaminase so that they could be put back into her body. The girl is currently living out a normal life with healthy adenosine deaminase levels.

What is Gene Therapy and How Does it Affect Your Health?

Gene therapy involves taking genes from inside your body and altering them to help treat a disease. Because genes contain the very DNA that helps your body to function properly, a gene that doesn’t work like it should will likely cause disease. Gene therapy helps by swapping out a broken gene for a new one and has promised the possibility of curing cancer, AIDS, hemophilia, heart disease, and a wide range of other diseases. 

Of course, there are risks to gene therapy as well. Your body may see a newly inserted gene as a virus and try to fight it off, which could have grossly negative implications. If a gene is inserted into the wrong DNA section, it could also cause tumors. This is why there are many different trials throughout the United States right now to help research this new type of therapy.

Gene Therapy in Movies and Pop Culture

Gattaca is by far one of the most popular science fiction films that deals with the risks and benefits of genetic modification. While the 1998 film brilliantly shows gene therapy’s advantages in treating things like premature baldness and myopia, it also shows that it could cause a shift and create a “gene class” in society.

Extraordinary Measures is a 2010 Harrison Ford film that tells the true story of a girl with Pompe’s Disease who was treated with gene therapy. 

Links to Related Articles

Here are some more resources to find out more about gene therapy:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/gene-therapy/about/pac-20384619

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-gene-therapy/

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/therapy/genetherapy

Conclusion

The video above details the mechanics of gene therapy. Gene therapy holds a lot of promise in the medical realm, as gene therapy clinical trials have continually shown success in treating immune deficiencies, hemophilia, leukemia, and more. Of course, there are many hurdles that come with making this type of therapy commonplace. 

We can only hope that this type of therapy becomes a realistic and effective way to treat the diseases of our world within the next generation.

Cloud Computing

Picture this: it’s 2005 and you’ve written the bulk of an essay that’s due tomorrow when your computer suddenly crashes. Your heart sinks into your stomach as you realize that you hadn’t saved the document. Cloud computing has eliminated the stress surrounding moments like these, so that losing data due to a hardware malfunction is almost a thing of the past. 

Head in The Sky

The idea of “the cloud” is now as ubiquitous as the Internet, but it wasn’t always a native concept. Now, digital laymen and pros alike understand that cloud computing means accessing files, data, and programs via the Internet rather than your computer’s hard drive, as was the way of the past. 

This allows you to essentially outsource your entire digital life (be it personal or professional)—your computer may crash, but the Internet won’t, so it’s a safety net protecting you from any unforeseen tragedies. The act of cloud computing means accessing your data and programs exclusively via the internet, rather than doing any local computing at all. 

A $2 Million Question

The first hint of cloud computing came in 1963, before personal computers were even a thought, when the Defense and Research Projects Agency gave MIT $2 million to find a way that multiple people could access a computer at once. The solution was a massive memory machine that looks nothing like the modern vision of cloud computing.

In the 1990s, the idea of virtual private networks began to take shape, leading to the infrastructure of today’s idea of cloud computing. Companies like Salesforce began using cloud computing as a means through which to provide clients with software as Y2K loomed on the horizon. 

Programs like Google Docs (and eventually Google Drive), iCloud, and Oracle Cloud all formed around the first decade of the 21st century, and the cloud became an integral part of a life wholly immersed in digital culture. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a business that doesn’t primarily utilize cloud computing, or a software system that doesn’t allow for some sort of cloud computing. 

The 21st Century Cloud

Today, cloud computing has virtually limitless applications, both in business and for individuals. These are generally broken down into four categories: software as a service, infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and functions as a service. The latter two are geared specifically toward developers to assist with workflow. 

Some of the most well-known cloud computing services are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Services, and IBM Cloud. 

Slow Rise to Dominance

Cloud computing wasn’t exactly a science fiction topic or pop culture phenomenon. Instead, it slowly crept into public consciousness, appearing on news broadcasts and entering conversations. 

The idea that all of the information once considered integral to a physical computer took some time to warm up to simply because it’s counterintuitive to the way that most laymen understood computers up until the 21st century, but it’s a concept that’s now been wholly adopted. 

Today, everyone uses the cloud, whether they realize it or not. Most phones are connected to a cloud service, and businesses regularly utilize cloud computing for their servers. Humans may have made it to the moon in the 1960s, but it appears that they have finally also reached an understanding of the cloud.

Labo by Nintendo

When you imagine the most cutting edge games currently on the market, do you picture cardboard? Probably not, but that’s exactly what Nintendo used to create their Labo system made available in 2018, a game setup that encourages kids to learn as they play. 

Building Your Own Games

The vast majority of children today play video games in some form or another, so Nintendo decided to make them a little more educational. Essentially, Nintendo Labo is a blanket term for a set of cardboard construction kits intended to encourage kids to develop early engineering chops (among other skills), even if they don’t realize that’s what they’re doing. The kits can be used to create a number of different “toy-cons,” each with specific related games.

Nintendo’s earlier gaming system, the Switch, can be equipped with Labo software. Once a child has built their toy-con of choice, they can use their Switch to play with it. For example, if a child creates a piano, they can use their creation to play actual keys via the switch. The software also allows gamers to develop their own toy-cons with the garage if they should so wish. 

The simplicity of cardboard may seem a return to a simpler time, but it was a calculated move on the part of Nintendo. Not only is cardboard inexpensive and easy to manipulate, it also gets kids working with their hands, something that many parents lament isn’t happening enough thanks to video game culture. 

Mixing Reality with Fantasy

Perhaps the reason that so many have become transfixed with Nintendo Labo is the seamless way it integrates reality into the fantastic settings that children today crave from their entertainment sources. In this way, Labo not only encourages STEM development, but also caters to especially imaginative minds. 

This encouragement of imagination through the use of Toy-Con Garage has led to some truly impressive Labo creations, like a cardboard roulette table and a singing cat. The high customizability of the software means that the sky is virtually the limit: if you can dream it, you can make it. 

The latest development to the Labo line of offerings is a virtual reality kit, which gives kids the option of building out a number of headset types. In this way, gamers step into role of developers, and get a better understanding of just how their favorite recreational activities work. 

A New Twist on an Old Trope 

Now-classic cartoons like Spongebob and Rugrats often featured the main characters using cardboard boxes as play destinations. In these pop culture references, the boxes were shown as blank slates in which the characters could use their imaginations to develop fun. 

Nintendo Labo has created a uniquely modern twist on this decades-old idea. Sure, technology plays a big role in this particular application, but kids have been playing with cardboard boxes for generations so it’s about time that this pastime caught up with modern tech. With a number of kits now available within the Labo sphere, it’s unclear where exactly the Nintendo developers gathered their inspiration for this idea. Whether it was born out of parents’ calls for something more mentally enriching, or just a back to basics line of thinking, Nintendo Labo may revolutionize the way that video games for children are created.

Real Time Language Translation

Language barriers are one of the biggest roadblocks to achieving a more inclusive global culture, and are the reason that those fluent in multiple languages are regarded as something akin to magicians. Simply put, storing extensive knowledge of a single language in your head is hard enough, let alone multiples, but real time language translation could mean that no one need venture outside of their native tongue. 

Nothing to Unpack

There’s nothing particularly confusing about the concept of real time language translation in that it means exactly what it sounds like. A technology that can listen to a person speaking, and translate for the listener as they go without a significant delay would eliminate the need for translators, and possibly help mitigate tensions in situations where communication is necessary. 

It’s an easy ideal to communicate, but it proves a much more complex thing to try and achieve. 

The idea of such a real time translator whispering in your ear was first introduced in the book series “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy,” where the author described a Babel Fish, a living, leech-like fish that could be placed in one’s ear and it would translate every language in real time. The name is likely a reference to the Tower of Babel, which was the site from which God dispersed man and gave them foreign tongues in The Bible. 

Fact Meets Fiction

For decades, this “Babel Fish” was considered a figment of science fiction, but that perception is slowly melting away as artificial intelligence steps in to make futuristic strides. Of course, computers have long been able to translate language via text, but making immediate translations through audio is something else entirely. 

A number of tech companies are pursuing real time language translation, but none have quite achieved the immediacy or accuracy that science fiction promised. One of the most well-known versions of this budding technology comes from Google. The tech giant first incorporated a basic version of real-time translation in their Pixel 2 earbuds in 2017, and they have since been working to perfect the technology. 

As it stands, real time language translation maxes out at about 40 of the world’s most commonly spoken languages.  The technology isn’t all that efficient, and it requires both speakers to direct their voices at a device, which then takes a moment to process the audio and spit out a translation. It’s most useful for quick interactions as opposed to thoughtful conversations, since a lot can still get lost in translation. 

In a Perfect World

While the Babel Fish is probably the most well-known iteration of real time language translation in pop fiction, the technology was also incorporated into one of America’s most beloved TV sci-fi shows: Star Trek. On the show, the crew use something called a Universal Translator, which scans brain waves to provide real-time language translations. 

The problem with translation expectations created by pop culture references like these is that they work internally, whereas the current technology has to rely upon gathering the audio once it’s already been spoken, which adds a delay to the translation process. 

Although technology hasn’t totally solved the language barrier just yet, it’s getting closer than anyone would have imagined possible just 50 years ago, and the 21st century may yet see the creation of a real-life Babel Fish gadget.

Genetic Engineering

Everyone knows that DNA is the building block of life—by virtue of being alive, every living creature has their own individual DNA sequence. This is where genes come from, and they have long been considered an immobile factor of traits like blue eyes, height, or even predisposition to certain diseases, but that’s all changing as genetic engineering inches closer to reality. 

Manipulating Nature

Simply put, genetic engineering refers to the act of manipulating, modifying, or recombining DNA in order to influence the traits of an organism. Often when people hear the term genetic engineering, they jump to imagining two 5 foot tall parents opting to have a 6 foot tall child just out of preference, but that’s not where the technology is currently being applied, or even where it’s likely leading. 

Genetic engineering can be used for all sorts of applications, from modifying crop plants to correct pervasive diseases to creating a bacteria capable of synthesizing human insulin. This technology isn’t exactly new, but it’s being honed in exciting ways that could prove a major asset to the human race. 

Before Tech, Silicon Valley Loved DNA

After DNA was discovered to have its characteristic double shape and subsequently synthesized in a lab in the 1950s, interest in genetic engineering exploded in the ‘60s, and Silicon Valley was the epicenter. It makes sense, given the region’s reputation for innovation and technology that its early days would have been defined by an interest in biological innovation, a technology of a different sort. 

By the 1970s, scientists had achieved the first instance of recombinant DNA (a branch of genetic engineering where genes are spliced and put back together in new ways). However, potential ethical questions put a stop to further genetic engineering advancements in the ‘70s. 

Later, genetic engineering became an important component of creating new vaccines, as well as insulin shots which were previously made from organic animal material. The ‘90s also saw the rise of GMOs in food, and the famous cloning of Dolly The Sheep, marking a major milestone in genetic engineering. 

Modern Developments

In 2012, CRISPR was engineered; it is a mechanism that can make incredibly precise cuts in DNA, and therefore be involved in an increasingly wide range of applications. By attacking certain sequences, CRISPR is able to fight things like cancer and obesity, which are two of the most deadly issues in the world. 

This technology has also ushered in something called Gene Drives, which allow people to “cheat evolution” by biasing which genes are transmitted to offspring. In 2015, a scientist in Asia edited a human embryo’s cells to prevent a blood disease, but the experiment was considered unethical due to the fact that CRISPR hadn’t been approved for human testing.

In 2017, a genetic engineering treatment was approved as an alternative to chemo for certain types of cancer, and in 2018 CRISPR testing for humans was approved. There’s a great deal of work left to be done in the field of genome editing before it’s commonplace. 

Popular Fixation

Genetic engineering has long been a pop culture interest in one form or another. From designer babies in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” to mutant-gene superheroes in X-Men, the idea of genetic engineering is nothing new in the public psyche. 

As technology grows, genetic engineering may prove one of the most important developments to the world of healthcare in human history.